Lisa Gardner, City Council Communications Director, 509.625.6226
Monday, November 2, 2020 at 10:43 a.m.
City Council President Breean Beggs has issued the following updated statement in response to the Spokane Regional Health District statement released on Saturday:
“I am grateful that the Spokane Regional Health District issued a statement on Saturday correcting the inaccurate information from its Friday media release and press conference. Despite several requests, the District has still not clarified who is currently acting as Spokane’s Local Health Officer.
(1) Any local health officer or administrative officer appointed under RCW 70.05.040, if any, who shall refuse or neglect to obey or enforce the provisions of chapters 70.05, 70.24, and 70.46 RCW or the rules, regulations or orders of the state board of health or who shall refuse or neglect to make prompt and accurate reports to the state board of health, may be removed as local health officer or administrative officer by the state board of health and shall not again be reappointed except with the consent of the state board of health. Any person may complain to the state board of health concerning the failure of the local health officer or administrative officer to carry out the laws or the rules and regulations concerning public health, and the state board of health shall, if a preliminary investigation so warrants, call a hearing to determine whether the local health officer or administrative officer is guilty of the alleged acts. Such hearings shall be held pursuant to the provisions of chapter 34.05 RCW, and the rules and regulations of the state board of health adopted thereunder.
(2) Any member of a local board of health who shall violate any of the provisions of chapters 70.05, 70.24, and 70.46 RCW or refuse or neglect to obey or enforce any of the rules, regulations or orders of the state board of health made for the prevention, suppression or control of any dangerous contagious or infectious disease or for the protection of the health of the people of this state, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined not less than ten dollars nor more than two hundred dollars.
(3) Any physician who shall refuse or neglect to report to the proper health officer or administrative officer within twelve hours after first attending any case of contagious or infectious disease or any diseases required by the state board of health to be reported or any case suspicious of being one of such diseases, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined not less than ten dollars nor more than two hundred dollars for each case that is not reported.
(4) Any person violating any of the provisions of chapters 70.05, 70.24, and 70.46 RCW or violating or refusing or neglecting to obey any of the rules, regulations or orders made for the prevention, suppression and control of dangerous contagious and infectious diseases by the local board of health or local health officer or administrative officer or state board of health, or who shall leave any isolation hospital or quarantined house or place without the consent of the proper health officer or who evades or breaks quarantine or conceals a case of contagious or infectious disease or assists in evading or breaking any quarantine or concealing any case of contagious or infectious disease, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be subject to a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than one hundred dollars or to imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed ninety days or to both fine and imprisonment.
Original Release 10/30/2020
City Council President Breen Beggs has issued the following statement in his personal capacity as a response to the announcement from Spokane Regional Health District:
“Yesterday evening I received the unexpected news that the Spokane County Public Health Officer had been terminated from his position at the Spokane County Health District.
The Spokane County Health District By-Laws provide at Article IV, Section 3 that: “The Board of Health shall approve the appointment and termination of a District Health Officer.” (emphasis added.) To my knowledge, the Spokane County Health District Board has not taken any action to approve the termination of Dr. Lutz. In order to do so, the Board would have to vote at a meeting that was properly noticed and open to the public, subject to the Governor’s orders on open public meetings.
Much of what I know about this situation was derived from an executive session meeting of the Board yesterday, and by law, I am not authorized to reveal that information absent a waiver of confidentiality. I look forward to the required public board meeting when I can address the merits of the situation as I see it from my perspective and on behalf of the City of Spokane which I represent on the Health Board.
I have greatly appreciated the leadership and the work of the entire staff of the Health District, including Dr. Lutz, in supporting Spokane through this pandemic. We would be in a much worse situation without their work, and I understand the deep community concern at this turn of events. I join those requesting prompt answers to how the District will fill the duties of those unique tasks granted only to an authorized local public health officer.
My request to the public is that they presume the same good intentions I do of all those working at the Health District. I commit to following our by-laws and the Open Public Meetings Act and working hard to restore confidence in the organization.”