A Letter to Our Community: Clarifying the role of the Board of Public Health
Dear Citizens of Moffat County:
As you well know, the Coronavirus known as “COVID-19” has wreaked havoc on people’s lives all over the world, both with regard to life and health, but also with regard to being able to make a living and buy needed supplies. The Moffat County Board of Health, which is the same as the Board of County Commissioners of Moffat County, has an essential role to play in protecting public health in Moffat County because that is a task given to them pursuant to laws of the State of Colorado.
In order to provide background information, the Moffat County Board of Health will ask and answer key questions. If you would like additional information, please feel free to contact a member of the Board.
What is Public Health?
“Public health” (defined in section 25-1-502(5) of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.)) means the prevention of injury, disease, and premature mortality; the promotion of health in the community; and the response to public and environmental health needs and emergencies and is accomplished through the provision of public health services.
Practically, public health includes things such as tobacco education, immunizations, encouraging exercise and a healthy diet, and preventing the transmission of contagious diseases through public health orders.
Who provides public health?
By state law, each county has to establish or be part of a local public health agency organized under a local board of health with a public health director and other staff necessary (including a physician) to provide public health services. In Colorado, public health is a shared responsibility among state and local public health agencies. (Section 25-1-501, C.R.S.)
On April 7, 2009, the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners adopted Moffat County Resolution 2009-35, establishing the Moffat County Public Health Agency and designating members of the Board of County Commissioners as the Board of Health, which is permitted in a county with a population of less than one hundred thousand people as of 2008. The terms of the members of the county board of health coincides with their terms as commissioners, and they assume all the duties of appointed county boards.
The State of Colorado gives grants to the local public health agencies, including the Moffat County Public Health Agency, to provide support for public health services as established by the State Board of Health. Their efforts include assessing, maintaining, and improving local capacity to provide services as established by the State Board of Health.
Pursuant to C.R.S. §§§ 25-1-506, 25-1-508, 25-1-509, and other applicable authorities, the Moffat County Board of Health and the Moffat County Public Health Director have powers and duties to develop and promote the public policies needed to secure the conditions necessary for a healthy community. In the event of a public health emergency, the Moffat County Public Health Agency issues orders and adopts rules consistent with the laws and rules of the State of Colorado.
The Moffat County Public Health Agency has the duty to investigate and control the causes of epidemic or communicable diseases and conditions affecting public health and to establish, maintain, and enforce isolation and quarantine, and in pursuance thereof, and for this purpose only, to exercise physical control over property and over the persons of the people within the jurisdiction of the agency as the agency may find necessary for the protection of the public health.
The Moffat County Public Health Agency obtained a variance from portions of Executive Directive D20 044 and Public Health Order 20-28 on May 14, 2020, so that Retail, Gyms, Movie Theaters, and Places of Worship are permitted to operate in Moffat County, provided they comply with certain conditions. On May 14, 2020, the Moffat County Public Health Agency submitted another request for a variance so that restaurants in Moffat County can be re-opened as well.
It is important for folks to understand that the Moffat County Public Health Agency is required to follow Colorado Statutes, and it is not a health care provider.
You can access more information about the Moffat County Board of Health, including meeting times, minutes, and a link to the Board of Public Health Mitigation Plan Dropbox at: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/moffatcounty/board-public-health.
Your County Commissioners,
Ray Beck, Don Cook, and Donald Broom
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