Time to end state of emergency in county

Citrus County Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith, District 3

State of Emergencies are for emergencies, not convenience.

Recently President Trump made a passing statement about the possibility of using disinfectants and his comments sounded like he suggested that we ingest them.

Many people made fun of the statement and even claiming the president was suggesting that people poison themselves to get rid of the virus.

As someone who is always thinking creatively and suggesting things, it caught my attention.

Who would suggest that we put disinfectants in our body?

The answer is, the people who wanted to see infant mortality drop, or see the end to cholera and other water borne diseases.

We have been ingesting disinfectants for decades, you swim in it and quite often swallow some as you do.

The disinfectant if you haven’t guessed it yet: chlorine.

That’s right, a toxic chemical is ingested by many who swim and with the addition of it to our drinking water helped stop the spread of cholera, saving thousands of lives.

Sometime radical thinkers will say stuff and the first thing people want to do is make snide comments or think the suggestion is stupid.

It’s often those who don’t have a questioning attitude that prevent us from moving forward.

Recently I strongly supported opening parks, first with just the large open air parks, but at one point there was the opportunity to support some of my peers and have us open all the parks.

Why would I go against the group of five’s suggestion to open some open air parks, especially after I was the one who first asked for exactly what they offered?

Simple, the knowledge that was out there to make a decision by.

At that time we had two people in one hospital and two people in the other hospital, total.

The rate of deaths was not increasing, but decreasing.

Vitamin D builds the immune system as does exercise and fresh air.

More parks being open means that people can spread out and are less likely to congregate (remember social distancing).

So if we only opened some, we would have the same number of individuals, in less parks and that could absolutely push them closer in their interaction. Would change have before closer to either push or force.

Another area that has drawn much criticism is my stance on ending the state of emergency.

What is the state of emergency for?

It does allow us to implement rules above what the governor suggested in his safer at home executive order, but we didn’t choose to do that.

What we have used it for is simply to allow staff to bypass the delay of going through the commission and purchase things without the formerly required bid process.

We all agreed to this, myself included, because we wanted staff to quickly purchase whatever is needed to insure we deal with the pandemic quickly.

We have seen that accomplished and now staff simply wants to keep it just in case.

In case they have to get a hotel room to quarantine someone is currently what is being would delete the words what is being suggested as the reason to keep it, would end sentence with period and then say This is unnecessary because such low cost potential expenses could easily be authorized from current funding. this is an extremely low cost that we can authorize the staff to use current funding if needed.

Keeping the county in a state of emergency should  only be because we need to handle emergency issues.

But it’s now just an effort to ask for reimbursement for expenses from FEMA, like the cost of a hotel room, as a matter of convenience rather than emergency.

As part of the effort to oppose my position to end the state of emergency, the administrator quickly gathered information from the health department.

It’s information that brings to light the spikes in cases like the days where we had reports of eight individuals tested positive in one day as reported on two separate occasions.

Yes Citrus County had the state health department report on two different days where eight people showed positive for covid and yet that information is completely out of context.

So let me help put it into context.

During that time, tests took a bit of time to get results from the state labs and this led to spikes, not in cases, but in information provided.

Where we would see people tested on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then see them reported on Thursday afternoon.

So you will see on our graph for the county positive cases, there are days when no one tested positive, but the facts from the health department is that it took two to three days for results and those results would often be reported all on one day.

But that’s not part of the information that was shared with my peers by the administrator, the tactic of not providing all information as a way to control knowledge and guide decisions is a poor tactic.

But all the information, such as how many positive cases add: when diagnosed, the rate of hospitalizations, the rate of deaths, the number of individuals in the hospital on average and daily, is needed to ensure proper response to the emergency.

Not that it would be useful to have, but the county should not use a “just in case” state of emergency.

If that is the thinking we are going to use, then shouldn’t we keep the state of emergency as we enter hurricane season?

Why ever end it?

The reason to end it is, free people shouldn’t live under a state of emergency.

I believe we should use information to make decisions and never out of a sense of it’s nice to have just in case.

What can you take away from this conversation?

There are certain disinfectants we have been ingesting for decades, people less constrained by space are healthier and the ending of a government in a state of emergency is based on facts.

As always there will be people who disagree, those who want to discuss the finer points and those who agree.

Either way, please feel free to comment, at least the state of emergency hasn’t restricted that.

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