Clockwise from top left: First District Supervisor Rex Bohn, Second District Supervisor Michelle Bushnell, Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass, Third District Supervisor Mike Wilson, COVID-19 and Fifth District Supervisor Steve Madrone.

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The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting Friday morning to reconsider its recent decision to resume meeting in person.

Given the latest local developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, this should come as no surprise. In the 16 days since the Board of Supervisors last met, the highly contagious delta variant has taken full advantage of the fact that barely half the county population is fully vaccinated. (Vaccinated people can contract and spread it, too, though vaccines dramatically reduce both the likelihood of contracting the virus and the prevalence of severe symptoms if you do happen to catch it.)

Since the board last met, on July 20, 576 new cases have been confirmed among county residents, 21 more people have been hospitalized and an unvaccinated man in his 30s died with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. On Wednesday, Public Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman announced that he would sign an order reinstating a countywide indoor masking mandate, effective Saturday.

The staff report for tomorrow morning’s meeting recommends the board resume meeting virtually via Zoom, noting that local hospitals are nearing capacity as case counts continue to climb.

Reached by email, Board Chair Virginia Bass said, “I’m thinking we will probably not do [next week’s] meeting in the chambers as we had planned but won’t know for sure until after that Friday meeting.”

Fifth District Supervisor Steve Madrone cast the lone dissenting vote on June 20, saying he wanted to be sure that county staff was ready for the move back indoors. The board has been meeting virtually since April 14, 2020.

Tomorrow’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. It can be live-streamed via the link that will appear on this website shortly before start time.