Calderwood Stays as Health Officer Until Replacement Hired
Dr. Carol Calderwood will continue in her position as Ravalli County Health Officer until a replacement is found. Calderwood told the Board of Health Tuesday afternoon that she would be willing to stay, especially during the continuing COVID-19 response in the county. She had earlier given an end of July deadline for her resignation, but said in the interest of a smooth transition to a new Health Officer she would stay. The Board decided to hold off on accepting her resignation until that selection is made. In a subsequent meeting Tuesday afternoon between the Health Board and the Ravalli County Commissioners, the commissioners voted to advertise the Public Health Officer position at a salary of $2,000 a month for 40 hours of work, with additional hours at $60 per hour, depending on the new officer's experience. The job description (contingent on legal review) will be advertised on Ravalli County government websites and elsewhere. It was also announced at that meeting that Tiffany Weber would serve as interim Public Health Nurse, replacing Karyn Johnston, who resigned last week.
The Board of Health meeting lasted all afternoon, with lengthy public comment that centered around the recent statewide facemask requirement. Many in the room opposed the restriction and also doubted much of the general COVID-19 responses by many public officials and health professionals. Others supported the wearing of facemasks to help prevent the coronavirus from spreading to more vulnerable people in the community. Many in the room wanted Dr. Calderwood to leave her position, while others supported her. The Board of Health and the Ravalli County Commission also showed support. Commissioner Jeff Burrows said, "She did take us through some very unprecedented times that we haven't seen in my lifetime....I just want to go on the record saying I think she's done a really good job for Ravalli County. We've been well-served by Dr. Calderwood."
Tuesday, the July 28th afternoon update from Ravalli County Public Health showed two new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total of active cases in the county to 13. Public Information Officer Joseph Hopkins said both new cases were men in their 60s. Of the infected people, two are hospitalized. The infected people are in isolation and their close contacts are in quarantine. Officials again urge the public to wash your hands, maintain the 6-foot social distance and wear masks in public.