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Butte County Public Health Will Discuss Indoor Masking Mandate With New Health Officer

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Dr. David Canton was appointed to serve as Butte County’s health officer on an interim basis by the Butte County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Canton’s term will begin Oct. 1 and run through March of next year at a price not to exceed $25,000.

Canton will have the authority to issue an indoor masking mandate. The issue came before the board Tuesday, but the board did not vote on any recommendations for the health department.

Lisa Almaguer, communications manager for Butte County Public Health, told NSPR the health department doesn’t expect to make any announcements on a masking mandate until it discusses the matter with Dr. Canton.

Butte County is currently experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Enloe Medical Center in Chico said Wednesday that it was caring for 81 patients with COVID-19. The hospital reported that 19 of those patients were in intensive care and a vast majority – 81% – were not fully vaccinated.

Canton is taking over the health officer role from Dr. Phuong Luu, who serves as the health officer for Yuba and Sutter counties. Luu is temporarily serving as Butte County’s health officer following the retirement earlier this month of Dr. Bob Bernstein. Bernstein had filled the position left vacant by Dr. Andy Miller.

A graduate of California State University, Chico, Andre Byik is an award-winning journalist who has reported in Northern California since 2012. He joined North State Public Radio in 2020, following roles at the Chico Enterprise-Record and Chico News & Review.