Otsego County Board calls on state to cut health ministry funding
GAYLORD – The Otsego County Council of Commissioners passed a resolution last week urging the state to withdraw funding from the Northwest Michigan Department of Health.
Meanwhile, they also changed a measure they passed earlier this month that was originally intended to keep funding for the health department in receivership, “until the health department be considered “, by the county council as according to the laws of the state and the regulations of the department. Rather, the revised wording calls for a suspension of state funding for the Ministry of Health.
Ultimately, both resolutions call for a clause in a September budget bill, Public Law 87, which calls on health services to lose funds if they impose orders for masks in schools. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed off on the bill, including the mask clause, but said his administration would not enforce it, due to its questionable legal merit.
Otsego County Board resolutions challenge her on this, though Commissioner Doug Johnson warned the move was largely symbolic.
âThe only reason I’m mentioning this is that I don’t want to see people hoping,â he said.
Commissioner Julie Powers, who sits on the health council and brought forward the previous funding resolution, said she agreed but felt something needed to be done to get Lisa’s attention Peacock, head of health at the Department of Health.
Peacock has been the butt of much of the wrath of the Anti-Mask Mandate contingent.
Some commissioners have expressed concern about the possible repercussions – including the threat of losing other important parts of the Department of Health.
âWe’re playing with fire on this one,â said Commissioner Jason Caverson. âWe were playing with fire with the last one. It is not about masking. I don’t see how that will benefit anyone. School will be out before anything takes effect. The long term effect on the health department is going to be with us. We were elected to serve the people, but we must serve the majority of the people.
Caverson was the only commissioner to oppose both resolutions, although Johnson also opposed the second resolution.
âI want to commend the Board of Directors for stepping up their effortsâ¦ What you’re doing is taking a stand,â said citizen Stephanie Jacobsen. âYou let people know that everyone knows that you are aware of what is going on and that you are not just going to put your head in the sand. I think I can speak for everyone when I say, we appreciate that. We are not here because of the masks and the vax, but we are here because we want you to continue to defend us. “
The meeting was well attended, both in person and online, including a handful of high school students who opposed the mask mandates. Many said they were involved in walkout protests on the issue at the start of this school year.
The term of the Health Department’s school masks was announced in late August, days before the start of the school year, and has been a point of contention in Otsego County and others over the following months.
Compiled Michigan law grants health departments the power to take action to protect public health in an emergency.
Speculation and misconceptions were rife among citizens providing public comment. On several occasions, the virus or the vaccination has been labeled as a “biological weapon”. Scientists and US intelligence agencies have repeatedly concluded that the genetic mutations found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus that allowed its transmissibility to humans were not genetically modified. A report from the US office of the director of national intelligence confirmed this again last month.
Many have wondered why the pest control drug ivermectin was not being used to treat COVID, with one speaker saying she had to introduce the drug at the hospital for a family member. There is currently no scientific basis for the suggestion that ivermectin is an effective treatment for COVID-19. The main study that was used to support such treatment was a preprint – meaning it had not been peer reviewed – that came from an Egyptian university. It has since been removed for plagiarism and data manipulation.
Some Health Department supporters who spoke at the meeting claimed Whitmer had vetoed the mask clause in Public Law 87 – only striking down that provision, but leaving the rest of the budget bill in square. This is not the case.
Prior to the signing of the bill, the Whitmer administration strongly indicated that it would use its veto powers, but ultimately kept this section intact. Simultaneously, her office issued a letter saying it was inapplicable under applicable state laws.
Janelle Hendrian, Chief Medical Officer at Munson Healthcare, was one of the few, if not the only, qualified medical experts to speak out. She painted a picture of a healthcare system severely overwhelmed by the increase in COVID-19 cases among the unvaccinated.
âA lot of people I see online are commenting that people don’t think the hospital is overwhelmed, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,â she said. “It has nothing to do with people leaving because of vaccination warrantsâ¦ this number is exceptionally low and has no impact on our operations at all.”
She said the hospital is seeing a record number of hospital patients. About 20 percent of these new cases are school-aged children. The second most important category is the age group which would include parents of school-aged children. She said the hospital is at pandemic red level and is routinely in coded triage.
“We really believe that it is essential to fight this pandemic and any other health crisis with science – and it is good science, not the science of social media that is ubiquitous – and the best epidemiological processes that exist” , she said.