DOUGALS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — Douglas County is withdrawing from the Tri-County Health Department — and will opt out of the mandatory mask order the health department is planning issue.
Douglas County officials announced the decision Thursday evening.
“My fellow commissioners and I have directed staff to leave and develop a public health dept to meet the needs of our residents,” County Commissioner Lora Thomas tweeted.
Now, Douglas County is working to implement a new public health department within a year.
“Regarding the mask mandate opt-out, our remarkably favorable public health data, paired with the community’s current 75% mask-wearing voluntary compliance observed by TCHD, and based on Dr. Douglas’ recommendation that a mask mandate was not necessary for Douglas County, led us to this conclusion,” Commissioner Abe Laydon stated.
Looking at the data in the Tri-County area, Adams County has more than 4,500 confirmed cases and 156 deaths. Arapahoe County has more than 5,500 confirmed cases and 350 deaths, and Douglas County has just over 1,000 cases and 52 deaths.
Those lower numbers are a big reason why Douglas County Commissioners are trying to part ways with Tri-County Health.
They also questioned the enforceability of the mask mandate.
Public response has been mixed.
“I’m a resident of Douglas County and will now be working as hard as possible to vote you out,” one Twitter user wrote. “Please revert this decision immediately.”
“Thank you for looking at the information in a logical level-headed manner and not submitting to what everyone else is doing,” another tweeted.
The Tri-County Health Department voted Wednesday to require wearing masks in public. The mandate hasn’t been officially issued yet and was intended to cover Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties — but any city or county can apply to opt out. Once issued, it will be in place for 90 days.
All Adams County Board members: Rosanna Reyes, Julie Mullica and Richard Delaney, voted in favor of passing the mandate. Paulette Joswick of Douglas County and Jan Brainard of Arapahoe County also voted for the Tri-County Mask mandate.
Kaia Gallagher and Thomas Fawell of Arapahoe County voted against the mandate, along with Marsha Jaroch and Zachary Nannestad of Douglas County.