Commissioner McKinney Votes To Drop County Mask Mandate
At yesterday's Yakima County Health Board meeting, board member and County Commissioner Amanda McKinney voted to drop the Yakima County mask mandate. Unfortunately for county anti-masker residents, Yakima's other two County Commissioners, LaDon Linde and Ron Anderson voted against that and the measure failed 4 to 3.
McKinney called the KIT Morning News radio show to update us on the meeting and she said that to be clear, her vote wasn't an attempt to override the state mask mandate but to allow greater flexibility in all situations where the state mandate doesn't apply.
McKinney acknowledges the state's supremacy in the pandemic to require masks in public places and businesses.
Later in the meeting Commissioner Linde reframed the request as reading that the Board of Health urged Interim Health Officer, Dr. Larry Jecha to make the decision to remove the mandate. That motion passed 5 to 1 but to what affect, since Dr. Jecha is already on record as supporting mask use.
I wasn't there and I didn't see the meeting but published reports say there was a lot of debate and conversation as well as questions about legality, liability and authority in making such a decision.
Philosophically, how do you think such decisions should be made? A sense of medical responsibility is different from the responsibility placed on elected leaders. That being acknowledged, I side with Commissioner McKinney who says the decision making responsibility belongs with elected officials. The electeds job is to first gather all available data and then be advised by science and medical authorities and then, after weighing all input, make the call.
What happens next? Will Dr. Jecha change his position? Time will tell but in the meantime, the Associated Press has just released this story about the Centers For Disease Control latest decision on masks.
AP - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is easing indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and inside in most places. The new guidance is a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life. It still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters but will help ease restrictions for reopening workplaces and schools. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, says, “We have all longed for this moment -- when we can get back to some sense of normalcy."
Here's what Commissioner McKinney had to say about the Health Board Meeting on KIT.