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Clatsop County Commission responds to state mask mandate

Yesterday, Governor Kate Brown reinstated the mask mandate in Oregon, citing escalating hospitalizations and a lack of local control from county commissions.

What about local control in Clatsop County?

Clatsop County Commission Chair Mark Kujala said in an email yesterday that the commission as of yesterday had not yet discussed a mask mandate. In a call last Friday with the governor and county commissioners, Kujala said he asked for additional resources to conduct contact tracing and case investigations to help the commission in its decision making.

The commission had planned to have a public health update at its Wednesday night meeting. Kujala said that if the county health director had recommended an indoor mask mandate, the commission would have taken it seriously.

Kujala said at this point he feels the mask mandate is warranted, and said vaccines are the key to getting through the pandemic. He said the unvaccinated population is putting a strain on our healthcare system and putting health care workers in harm’s way.

It’s unclear what the commission’s stance would have been on the issue. The only other commissioner to comment publicly on vaccinations is Commissioner Courtney Bangs who represents District 4, which includes Knappa.

In a Facebook post this week, she came out against the governor’s vaccination requirement for state employees. Bangs, who wrote that she is herself vaccinated, stopped short of endorsing masks, and wrote, in response to critical comments from constituents:

Wash your hands, exercise, rest, take your vitamins, eat healthy, drink water, make good choices, stretch, meditate, try to reduce your stress, stop smoking, stop drinking, stop recreational drug use etc… Or don’t. At least for now, you can choose.”

Yesterday there were 40 new COVID cases reported in Clatsop County.

Washington state will require health care workers statewide to be vaccinated by October 4th.