It was “housekeeping,” but a welcome sort of housekeeping, Montrose County Commissioner Sue Hansen said Monday, when the board of commissioners formally rescinded a county-level public health order pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The order, last updated in July of 2020, does not address issues such as mask-use and gathering sizes, or the state’s risk dial, which earlier this month went on hiatus.
Instead, the local public health order authorized county management staff to adjust schedules and closures for county business, without separate approval form commissioners, Deputy County Manager Jon Waschbusch said, after Hansen asked whether rescinding the order would mean “it’s essentially over” in the county.
“At this time, COVID metrics in the county are good, low and stable and the state has actually moved past the dial public health order,” Waschbusch said.
“ … Even before the dial was superseded, Montrose had achieved the least restrictive, green, status on the dial. Given changes to the state orders and the quality state of local conditions, the health director (Jim Austin, Montrose County) was comfortable recommending that the public health order last amended in July 2020 be rescinded in full.”
According to county numbers available as of Friday, there have been 26 new COVID-19 cases since April 16 and a two-week positivity percentage rate of 1.7. County data still show 57 deaths. The data also showed 32 active cases; 3,346 confirmed cases overall and 43,141 tests conducted, with 39,523 reported as negative.
“It’s just an order we don’t need anymore,” Waschbusch said Monday, of the public health document.
“Great. An order we don’t need anymore — I like that. … It’s good to see the word ‘rescind,’ finally,” Hansen said.
A few minutes earlier, Commissioner Keith Caddy praised county public health staff, county communications staff, Waschbusch and Dr. Joe Adragna, pandemic specialist for their work over the past year.
“It’s been tough on all of us. I would like to thank public health and all involved in this project, and it was a big project,” he said.
He and Hansen then formally approved rescinding the public health order. Commissioner Roger Rash was absent for family reasons.
Also on Monday, commissioners issued a proclamation honoring Montrose Rotary Club’s 100th anniversary.
“To say that the Rotary Club makes and impact in our community is an understatement,” Hansen said, identifying herself and Caddy as Rotarians.
Hansen and Caddy also proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month after hearing from Corinne Cavender of Tri-County Health Network.
“Mental health is just as important as physical health and yet, they’re not treated the same. It is important to take action to make sure both are treated equally,” she said, asking for the proclamation to help normalize talking about mental health needs.
Tri-County Health Network will be hosting events throughout May to promote awareness, as well as a resource fair planned for May 24.
Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.