The Chelan-Douglas Health Board voted to rescind their COVID-19 Emergency Order, going into effect on May 11.

On Feb. 29 of 2020, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statewide Emergency Proclamation in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. That order was lifted back in November of 2022.

Rescinding the order would remove Chelan-Douglas Health District’s (CDHD) legal authority to enforce public policy decisions related to the pandemic. 

Board member and Douglas County Commissioner Dan Sutton suggested ending the order immediately, rather than to wait for the deadline. 

CDHD Health Administrator Luke Davies said that rescinding the emergency order before May 11th could put staff reimbursement funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at risk.

“If something does come up with the review of it and we ended early, then we are potentially not going to be able to recoup those costs,” Davies said.

Chair of the board and Douglas County Commissioner Marc Straub said that he didn’t want to cause a potential “financial downside.”

Board member Bill Sullivan claims that Inslee’s proclamation was unconstitutional.

“This alone chills constitutionally protected activities right, it's vague, it's an arbitrary exercise of government power,” Sullivan said. “What’s a group gathering, me and my wife walking?”

Sullivan said that he will be submitting a draft motion that would require a health administrator to seek board approval before making public policy decisions during a pandemic.

CDHD is currently looking for a contractor to conduct their After Action Plan, evaluating how they handled the pandemic for the past three years.

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