At our September 8 meeting the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a resolution declaring the current end of Placer County’s local health emergency, and re-stating the ability for the County to quickly declare an emergency if conditions change and “emergency” status is again warranted. The County’s decision to remove the Emergency Health Order is based on the knowledge and preparedness we have gained over the last six months. We also considered Placer County’s current case rate, the availability of personal protective gear for health care and businesses, testing availability, and medical equipment and capacity at our hospitals. The Resolution also emphasized that the State’s orders remain in place for businesses and individuals, and that the Board of Supervisor’s actions do not change those limitations on businesses and activities. It also again reemphasized that personal responsibility is critical to dealing with this dangerous virus.
The intent of the board’s action is to convey concerns that the state’s framework for measuring COVID-19 mischaracterizes the current state of the disease, specifically in Placer County, and harms the community’s economic, health, mental and social well-being. The State’s own statistics demonstrated that other counties had higher rates than Placer but were allowed to advance to the next stage of reopening ahead of us. This inconsistency and the changing metrics being used, continues to create concerns for those trying to plan for their livelihoods and families.
Since the beginning of the pandemic I have shared my concerns that we all need to consider the additional effects of COVID-19. It is critical that we find a balance between addressing COVID-19 and all the other significant public health impacts created when people can’t provide for themselves and their loved ones. Mental health issues, homelessness, and crisis calls are all critically important overall and must be considered.
If we assess the situation in Placer County based on facts, it is clear we do not currently have a health emergency. I do not agree with a lot of the politicization of this issue – during the meeting I successfully pushed for changes in the resolution to decrease unnecessary rhetoric and to add language giving the board the ability to reinstate an emergency order if our case rate escalates – but I stand behind my decision to vote for this resolution. I will continue to work to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities, taking into consideration all the public health issues that this virus has inflicted on our residents.
Let me assure you, just because we aren’t in an emergency situation today doesn’t mean that Placer County residents can go back to the way things were pre-COVID-19. This virus continues to create a crisis for us all - it is extremely dangerous, and we must be vigilant. As a Placer County Supervisor I remain dedicated to making sure we continue to follow guidelines, monitor cases, increase testing, protect our vulnerable residents, and be prepared to take further actions as required.
Additionally, as you may have heard, Dr. Aimee Sisson resigned from her position as Public Health Officer earlier this week. I want to share my deep appreciation for Dr. Sisson’s hard work during this pandemic. Much of the progress Placer County made through the state’s various requirements for safely re-opening is a result of the efforts of Dr. Sisson and her team. I wish her the very best in her future endeavors.
Finally, we are also very happy to welcome back Dr. Robert Oldham, who will be taking the helm as our Director of Health and Human Services (see news release below for more information). Dr. Oldham served as Placer County’s Public Health Officer from 2014 to 2019 and we are grateful that he will temporarily serve as our Public Health Officer as we search for Dr. Sisson’s replacement. His previous experience in this position will help to ensure a smooth transition, which is so important during this time.
Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or need any assistance with County issues or concerns.