Supervisors continue local emergency for COVID-19, one voices concern

The Lassen County Board of Supervisors approved the continuation of the COVID-19 local emergency Tuesday, but one board member expressed concern about the message being sent by its extension.

During the Tuesday, Oct. 27 meeting, the board — in a 4-1 vote — opted to continue the resolutions ratifying the Local Emergency and the Local Health Emergency regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19); however, supervisor Jeff Hemphill, who voted against continuing the resolutions, voiced his concern.

“I just don’t think we need to keep this going on. It’s kind of like endorsing (Governor Gavin) Newsom and his actions,” said Hemphill. “I just refuse to keep this up. We are doing a disservice to our county …”

Supervisor Tom Hammond asked county staff is there was a financial benefit to continuing the emergency.

“It’s really hard to say,” answered County Administrative Officer Richard Egan. “You can’t predict what the rules are going to be in Sacramento. I think the recommendation to continue the emergency is based on the fact that we don’t know what the rules are going to be and the continuation of the emergency may very well keep us in a position to take advantage of fiscal benefits provided by the state.”

The two resolutions were originally approved during the March 24 board meeting, and the board needs to review the need for continuing the local emergency at least once every 60 days, however, the board can opt to remove the emergency declaration during any regular board meeting.

According to Lassen Cares, the county’s hub for Novel Coronavirus information, as of Tuesday morning, there were 10 active COVID-19 community cases, 113 recovered and there has been one death. One patient was hospitalized in early October.