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Protests Over Mask Mandates Mark 3rd Imperial County Meeting

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: In Unrelated News, County Counsel Announces Resignation; No Replacement Revealed

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For a third week in a row, there was a group at the Imperial County Board of Supervisors meeting to protest mask mandates and vaccine requirements, real or otherwise.

Though the county board had already voted on masking requirements at last week’s meeting, a crowd came to discuss the issue again with the Imperial County Public Health Department and board on Tuesday, Oct. 5. The county, though, is not in charge of any vaccine mandates. 

The only decisions related to COVID-19 that were made at the Oct. 5 meeting was to allow the board to continue to hold virtual meetings, basically allowing people to call in should they not feel comfortable coming to the board meetings in person. 

However, close to a dozen people spoke and asked questions during the weekly COVID-19 presentation, referencing Dr. George Fareed and Dr. Brian Tyson’s work to combat COVID-19. 

“We are so blessed. … People don’t need to die,” Imperial Valley resident Deby Ellet said. “People just need to go to Valley Urgent Care, get your test and get your prescription.”

Ellet was referencing the Tyson-owned clinic out of which Fareed also works on occasion, and she was referencing the prescriptions they write for treatments not currently under U.S. Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization for the treatment of COVID-19, which has put the two doctors at odds with the medical establishment but have gained them acclaim locally, nationally, and abroad.

Also, Tyler Sutter of Brawley, who attended the previous county board meetings, asked why the county doesn’t include other deaths, like those caused by cancer or heart disease, on its local COVID dashboard, so that people can see the full picture. These deaths are small compared to the big picture, he said. 

“These mandates have overreaching effects on our community,” he told the board. “When you go to bed at night, ask yourself, ‘Am I doing the right thing for my community? Don’t tell yourself. Ask yourself. ‘Are these mandates the right way of going about things?’”

In COVID data shared by county Public Health, as of data on Oct. 5, there have been 757 deaths in Imperial County and 20 people hospitalized per the 14-day average. 

The case rate and positivity percentage are 23.9 residents infected per 100,000 people and 8.5 percent positivity of those tested, said Public Health Director Janette Angulo. The local data does not include prison data.

Angulo also explained what the latest information from the state means.

“Students will be required to be vaccinated for in-person learning starting the term after full FDA approval of the vaccine for their grade span,” she said. “It will be managed in two phases, first it will be the seventh through 12th grades and then the K through sixth grades. … This will be accomplished through regulation and will be required at private and public schools.

“Students who are not vaccinated may remain enrolled in independent study but may not attend in-person instruction,” she said. “Requirements established by regulation, not legislation, must be subject to exemption for medical reasons and personal beliefs.”

More information is to come, she said. The earliest this could happen is January 2022 but as late as July 2022.

County Counsel Adam Crook Announces Resignation

Imperial County’s head attorney is resigning … again.

Imperial County Counsel Adam Cook

Lead County Counsel Adam Crook announced he had accepted a position with the state of California during the meeting. He will continue to serve as county counsel until Oct. 28.

Crook was appointed county counsel on Feb. 14, 2020. The position is a four-year term. Crook replaced Sarah Sauer when she announced her resignation last year after serving as lead counsel for only four months at that point.

Crook joined the county counsel’s office in 2014 as deputy county counsel I in which he provided legal representation to the county board, county departments and special districts. He continued to work his way through the county counsel department ranks and was appointed assistant county counsel on Oct. 8, 2019.

An announcement on who will succeed Crook has not been made. When it is, that will have been four county counsel’s sitting beside the county board in a little over two years.