Describing the metro area’s stay-at-home order as “outlandish and outrageous,” leading to a “gestapo-like mentality,” Colorado’s Republican House leader vowed Wednesday to fight it, ignore it, and continue doing his job.
“It’s completely insane,” said Colorado House Republican leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock this morning on KNUS’ Peter Boyles show, referring to the stay-at-home order, as first reported on 9News. “I think we have — what? — something like 40 people, maybe it’s 80 people, somewhere in that range, who have actually been hospitalized [due to coronavirus]. I mean, look, there is a real shortage on things like [protection equipment], the masks and stuff like that for hospital workers, because global supply chains have been disrupted, a real shortage on ventilators and things like that. Those are kind of the real issues we need to be facing.”
The Tri-County Health Department explained its reasoning in the stay-at-home order:
“Although a large portion of the individuals who contract COVID-19 do not become seriously ill, persons with mild symptoms and asymptomatic persons with COVID-19 may place other vulnerable members of the public at significant risk,” states the order. “A large surge in the number of persons with serious infections can compromise the ability of the healthcare system to deliver consistent and necessary healthcare to the public. Colorado is experiencing a rapid increase COVID-19 transmission, and it is threatening the health of residents and threatening to overwhelm the healthcare system in Colorado, including within TCHD’s district [which includes Neville’s district].”
Neville did not return a call seeking to find out if he disagrees with the order’s assessment of COVID-19 in Colorado and, if so, on what basis he disagrees.
Neville said he and other state lawmakers representing Douglas County would be leaning on county commissioners to terminate the county’s agreement with the Tri-County Health Department, which issued the stay-at-home order for Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties.
This morning, Neville and other Republican lawmakers, one of whom is quarantined after testing positive for the virus, sent a letter to Douglas County commissioners urging them to cut ties with TCHD, as first reported by Denver’s 7.
The letter calls the stay-at-home order “heavy-handed.”
“We’ll push back,” said Neville on air. “I mean, at least I think all of us in the Douglas County delegation, we’re going to be looking to our commissioners to terminate the contract with Tri-County. I don’t think un-elected bureaucrats [at the Tri-County Health Department] should be making this decision. I think Castle Rock probably has the authority through home rule, which is constitutional authority rather than a statutory authority, to push back on this as well. So, that’s what I’m working on, because people just lost their minds. This order is outlandish and outrageous. It’s going to cause even more harm, because now it’s going to cause a run on all the stores.”
Neville pointed to one alleged member of the Tri-County Health Department board as an example of why the board was ill-equipped to make the stay-home decision.
“I mean, to give an example, I think one of them is a maintenance worker for some building and doesn’t even know what a mill levy or bond is,” said Neville. “So, he’s not, like, a super professional doctor or anything.”
It was not clear whom Neville was referring to, as the board’s members are health professionals.