First District Humboldt County Supervisor Rex Bohn on Tuesday will ask his fellow board members to consider a resolution asking for freedom from California’s COVID-19 regulations.
The declaration, called the Healthy Communities Resolution, includes a list of principles, one of which states, “our county is best served by an ability to respond locally to the COVID-19 virus.” Another declares, “school districts in our jurisdiction are urged to safely open all schools as soon as possible and provide in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible without further delay.”
The resolution, which amounts to a statement of opposition to the state’s color-coded and tier-based Blueprint for a Safer Economy, emerged from a conference of Republican state representatives held in Red Bluff late last year. One of the authors, Assemblymember Kevin Kiley, issued a cri de cœur via Twitter in November: “California’s experiment with autocracy and lockdowns has failed.” (He’s also active in the effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.)
A number of counties, including Placer, Orange, Siskiyou, San Luis Obispo, Lassen and El Dorado, have passed a version of the resolution. Humboldt County currently has the lowest number of cumulative COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population (1,471.6) of any county in the state, according to the L.A. Times.
Meanwhile, Lassen, one of the six counties to adopt the Healthy Communities Resolution, has the state’s highest per-100,000 case count (15,863.4). However, the Northern California region in general is faring better than the rest of the state.
In a phone interview with the Outpost Friday, Bohn said the proposal is intended to give the county more flexibility down the road, after more people have been vaccinated. “It’s just an idea to give us a little bit more mobility for our health officer, and to let folks know down south that we are a bit different,” he said.
Though Humboldt has had “some breakouts” of COVID-19 recently, Bohn said, “we’re doing a pretty good job on masking and distancing.” He said the recent surge in cases has not led to overcrowding of local ICUs, and he argued that Humboldt County’s rural setting should be considered. “We have what, 35 people per square mile?” he said.
The Healthy Communities Resolution objects to California’s current practice of assigning tier-based restrictions to entire counties. Instead, it says, “the State should enable our COVID-19 response to be tailored to geographically separate areas, such as different zip codes, as circumstances and case levels warrant.”
But Bohn said his motive is mostly tied to youth education.
”It’s mainly [about] getting our kids back to school … ,” he said. “The one size doesn’t fit all.”
See also: Current Humboldt County Statistics