Douglas County formally splits from Tri-County Health, naming candidates for new health board

Douglas County executives officially parted ways with the Tri-County Health Department on Tuesday, after months of conflict between the Conservative county and Colorado’s largest public health agency over COVID-19 health directives and restrictions.

The county commissioners’ vote on the decision was unanimous and expected given their clear intention last week to cut ties with Tri-County after 55 years. The National Board of Health, which serves 1.5 million people across Arapahoe, Adams and Douglas counties, voted last month to end member states’ ability to opt out of their health orders.

“Today it is about local control of public health orders,” said Commissioner Abe Laydon.

Earlier in the day, commissioners named potential members of a future Douglas County health council, a move scheduled for September 14. These five members are also two of the three commissioners – Lora Thomas and George Teal – whom Dr. Linda Fielding, Kim Muramoto and Doug Benevento.

Fielding and Muramoto currently serve as boards of health members for Tri-County, both of which represent Douglas County. Benevento was head of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment from 2002 to 2010 and was deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Trump.

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