LA GRANDE — The Union County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution stating concern for the foreseeable future regarding an insufficient amount of qualified local staff to continue to provide basic public health and safety services to the citizens of Union County.

The vote took place during the commissioners’ regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday, Sept. 15, at the Joseph Annex Building, La Grande.

The resolution states the anticipated shortage of staffing is due to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement placed on all health care providers and many emergency responders by Gov. Kate Brown. The commissioners believe that the looming Oct. 18 vaccination deadline imposed by Brown in August will result in many becoming unemployed.

The vaccine mandates are laid out in an executive order affecting state employees, and in Oregon Health Authority rules applying to K-12 school employees and health care workers. All three requirements allow documented medical and religious exceptions.

The commissioners are requesting the state withdraw the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in order to prevent further loss of vital public health and safety workforce.

As an alternative, the commissioner are requesting Union County be exempted from the COVID-19 vaccine mandates, returning authority of the matter to Union County as the local public health authority.

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