Dr. Munday and Angulo

Imperial County Health Officer Dr. Stephen Munday and Public Health Director Janette Angulo address the The Imperial County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Sept. 28, regarding mask updates.

EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Board of Supervisors heard from Public Health Director Janette Angulo and Health Officer Dr. Stephen Munday Tuesday, Sept. 28, for the regular weekly COVID update and to review the County’s current masking requirements.

The Board voted to continue with the universal masking order with an evaluation on a week-to-week basis. If trends decrease for three consecutive weeks, the County will consider easing restrictions slowly so as not to create a “vacuum,” according to Dr. Munday.

“We were asked to discuss how we might make decisions about how to reverse the indoor masking requirement, and I will say that we, of course, were already thinking about this even when we implemented it in the first place. But we wanted to come up with some specific parameters of when the local health officer order would then essentially just mirror what the state health officer order does,” said Dr. Munday.

Some of the parameters to be considered are case positivity rate, number of cases, hospitalizations, and what’s going on in schools and workplaces.

The current Imperial County health order gives an additional restriction to the state’s health order — masking is required indoors regardless of vaccination status. The state highly recommends masking indoors regardless of vaccination status but does not require it. Current masking orders can be viewed here.

If trends allow, it is possible Dr. Munday will revise the health order to match the state’s. Regardless of trends, Imperial County schools and health facilities are still subject to the state’s requirement of universal masking.

Dr. Munday referred to masking and vaccination efforts as components of the “Swiss cheese strategy,” which layers together different preventative methods to help reduce the spread of COVID. He explained it’s still very important to reduce spread to ensure hospitals are not getting overwhelmed similarly to previous surges when state and federal aid had to handle patient overflow at the temporary alternate care site at Imperial Valley College’s gymnasium.

Angulo shared the newest COVID data with the Board — Imperial County currently has a 7 percent positivity rate and about 364 delta cases.

“Everything is delta, and the only reason we don’t have more delta cases here in Imperial County is because we don’t sequence every case. We can’t … we do the samples, so we are aware of what’s around us, but it really is delta everywhere,” said Dr. Munday.

Despite the County’s vote to consider easing the mask restrictions going forward, there were several comments from community members regarding the desire to have the choice to mask and the choice to vax.

Community member Julie Reeves asked why the vaccine is still being mandated for healthcare workers when it is directly leading to their quitting and adding to the healthcare worker shortage.

Dr. Munday explained that the state is requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated, not the county. He also said the shortage has been ongoing since long before the vaccine mandate and he cannot speak to why that might be.

Autumn Plourd, who has attended several meetings and spoken out against the mask mandate, addressed the Board, community, and Dr. Munday.

“I don’t think anyone here has any issues with someone wearing a mask. Our issue is with being told we have to and being told that we don’t have the discretions to determine when we can wear them,” she said.

Community members made several other comments regarding masking, vaccination, and Ivermectin and other medications for COVID treatment. Dr. Munday addressed the questions and encouraged others to submit questions to the County Public Health Department.

Editor

Office Manager, Assignment/Copy Editor, DKN Managing Editor, Reporter, and The Millennial Meltdown Columnist

(1) comment

Jabberwocky

"Community member Julie Reeves asked why the vaccine is still being mandated for healthcare workers when it is directly leading to their quitting and adding to the healthcare worker shortage."

It was nice to see this false rumor politely shot down by the medical professionals. For example, in Montrose, Colorado, approx six to ten staffers refuse to receive the vaccine, out of a staff of approx. 750.

It's barely an issue. In addition, these same staffers receive the flu vaccine every year, per their job requirements. They seems to be cherry picking their argument here.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.