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Douglas County commissioners announced in a statement the afternoon of Oct. 22 that they would accept a recent draft proposal from the Tri-County Health Department and may stay with the agency through at least 2022.

Commissioners met in an executive session earlier Oct. 22 to discuss the proposal, which has not yet been approved by the Tri-County board of health. 

“If the Tri-County Health Department Board of Health adopts the policy granting each county increased control over local public health decisions, Douglas County is willing to remain in the current three-county district relationship at a minimum through at least the end of 2022 while we collectively continue to examine our partnership,” according to the statement, released through the county’s spokesperson.

That proposal, which has not been made public, would “increase the role of individual counties regarding public health orders, as they are being developed and before they are issued,” according to the statement.

A spokesperson for Tri-County did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It has not been announced when Tri-County’s board will review the draft proposal.

Douglas County was set to break up with the health department in July 2021 after commissioners voted to send a formal letter of departure to the agency over the summer, citing a desire for more local control in public health decisions.

“I’m very pleased with what has been brought before us,” Commissioner Lora Thomas said in the public portion of the Oct. 22 meeting. “Because what it does is it gives elected officials a very important role in public health orders that considers not only public health, but also livelihoods and local economies.”

The board of commissioners have not yet taken a formal vote on the matter.