FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – There was a clash between Fresno health and government officials during the Fresno Board of Supervisors meeting as the board put an end to the local state of emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fresno is the largest county in California to get rid of its emergency order. The county is still bound by the rules of California’s State of Emergency, so some view the move as symbolic. However, health experts said it could be dangerous.
Chair Steve Brandau said that this sends a message that the county is ready to move on from the pandemic.
“I think it sends a message,” said Brandau. “I hope it sends a message and I know it sends a message.”
The move comes 13 months after Fresno County implemented the order.
“We believe it is time to move forward, okay?” said Brandau. “Also, for me personally, and I cannot speak for my colleagues on this, but for me, I believe it is bad government to declare a state of emergency that never ends.”
Health Director Dave Pomaville and Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra sent a letter to the board warning that lifting the order will “generate complacency and undo a lot of hard work”.
“We just shared forthrightly that our work is not finished and that we have work to do,” said Vohra. “We are going to plug away at the tasks that we need to do. Getting them vaccinated and keeping them safe and hopefully tracking these variants.”
Supervisor Sal Quintero was the only no vote.