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County leaders call for grass roots effort on virus fight

Okanogan County commissioners issued a “desperate appeal” last week to the community to follow health measures recommended by county health authorities on the Covid-19 epidemic in the county, which has the highest incidence rate in the state.

An official proclamation was passed on Wednesday, Aug. 5 in a meeting called for that purpose after Okanogan Public Health Administrator Lauri Jones leaned hard on commissioners at a public meeting to send a unifying message.

The commissioners’ proclamation said they feared that “the economy and the health and well being of the people of Okanogan County are severely compromised by our lack of urgency in controlling the virus,” which has surged in recent weeks. They said a commitment by the people of the county to combat the virus will be most effective in the effort.

Declaring, “We are Okanogan Strong!” the commissioners said they are grateful to the businesses, public health care organizations, county departments, and agencies for the efforts and sacrifices made to date and that the commissioners themselves pledged to follow their health officials guidelines, which includes wearing masks in public.

Chairman Jim DeTro said, “I don’t like being mandated by government; however, I do take precautionary measures, and if you are mask compromised, use curbside services.”

“This is my first pandemic, but I know that it is as real as the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918,” noted Commissioner Chris Branch, “and my most reliable decision-making information comes from state and local health officials whose careers are all about limiting the spread and impacts of disease.”

“The effort to control the virus is clearly not a political issue,” stated Commissioner Andy Hover. “It is critical to the health and safety of our families, our friends, our neighbors, and the economic health of our entire region.”

With a little Okanogan County humor thrown in, the proclamation declares it will remain in effect “until a photograph of the all three commissioners together with their smiling faces, without masks, is released to the press.”


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