Letter to the Editor: Commissioners’ Decision on Fair Disappointing

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I watched the joint emergency meeting held Monday by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and the Board of Health. The BOCC was provided information that should have compelled them to act to protect constituents and the community from attending the super spreader event that is likely to be the Southwest Washington Fair.

Not surprisingly, the BOCC ultimately voted to proceed in spite of the compelling information backing the recommendations to consider its cancelation or the implementation of meaningful measures to prevent infection. I heard the pleas made to you to consider the state of the current situation with regard to the lack of beds at local hospitals. I am disheartened to know that your priorities are not the health and well being of this community.

As a constituent, I am deeply disappointed in the disregard that this board displayed toward the recommendations made by Dr. Kevin Caserta from Providence, county health officers and emergency response leadership. Elected officials are looked to for leadership.

One of the commissioners said that "if this conversation were had a week ago, it might be a different story." Well, the numbers have spiked since last week. The emergent nature of the situation called for a commensurate response and more weight should have been given to the health experts compelling testimony. Mr. Sean Swope presented a refutation based on gossip from nurses who work at the hospital as factual because that supports his narrative. I was, frankly, embarrassed on his behalf.

You were adamant to know how many people have died of COVID-19 in the last two weeks? Will fair revenue offset the loss of the life of one constituent? How about five? Ten? How many lives will offset that loss of revenue? What is an acceptable number to the BOCC? We may, unfortunately, get the opportunity to find out.

Elsie Rodriguez, Centralia