Yakima board of health discusses expansion of the board, mask wearing and omicron

YAKIMA, WA - Yakima Health Department's board of health meeting had a full list for their agenda discussing expansion of the board, mask wearing and the new omicron variant.

The meeting went on for over 3 hours discussing topics concerning the community of Yakima.

In the beginning there was a lengthy discussion talking about their need to expand and add 3 more people to the board Including a tribal representative.

"It identifies that if there is a federally recognized Indian tribe holding a reservation, then it continues, the board of health must include a tribal representative" said James Elliott an attorney partner at Halverson Northwest Law Group.

They also discussed having a full time staff member to the courthouse to helping with building permits.

The board also agreed that they are going to write a letter to the Washington board of health to prevent any future requirements of vaccines for children to attend school.

"Simply affirming our belief as the Yakima County Health District that we wish the process to not continue until we have full use authorization and approval by the FDA of any covid vaccine for children in Washington State" said Amanda Mckinney, Yakima County Commissioner.

With the omicron variant being so infectious, they discussed how it is not only affecting our health but the economy too.

"Even though this omicron is not as serve its having major impacts on the economy and every even besides just a person's individual health" said Melissa Sixberry, Director of Disease Control for Yakima County.

Some board members demanded masks to be taken away in schools, citing children's mental health.

"Covering these children's faces and their teachers faces, the negative impacts it is now I believe the association of pediatrics, correct me if I'm wrong... have considered this a mental health crisis" said Mckinney. 

The board did not get to all of their topics in their meeting agenda but agreed to discuss it at their next meeting on January 26th.