(WSYM) — Livingston County may refuse a million and a half dollars in COVID assistance funding.
Opponents worry it could lead to a school mask mandate, but supporters say the money will save lives.
The county currently has outbreaks in 3 different schools.
For hours, community members and parents spoke out about accepting state funding to deal with COVID. Ultimately, the board voting on 1.5 million dollars for the health department.
"This sounds like a health concentration camp, and it's reminiscent of Communist Russia or Nazi Germany," one person said.
"Is there an Emergency in Livingston County? No. Then why are you thinking of buying shots that have emergency use authorization only?" said another.
“Contact tracing, case investigations, and monitoring by the government is not wanted or needed and needs to stop," said a third.
Facing the Livingston County Board of Commissioners, outspoken citizens blasted what they call too much power by government and measures other communities have taken in the name of combatting the spread of COVID-19.
Along with that, some openly shared a belief that accepting state funding would mean the certainty of a strict mask mandate being imposed in schools and possibly elsewhere.
Yet, after an initial vote to accept funding for the county health department failed to pass, there are also those expressing the opposite view that masks will only continue saving lives, and receiving the funding is far more important than politics.
"Knowing that funding to fight against COVID-19 could be rejected causes me great concern for the residents of this community of mine. For those who think COVID is over, it simply is not," said one supporter.
"Three of you, Zajac, Gross, and Hallsman voted in favor of this funding at the previous committee meeting, so I know you understand there is a need for this funding here in this county," said another.
The heated comments come at a time when the CDC continues to warn about the spread of the more dangerous and contagious delta variant and other variants.
And as counties like Oakland and Wayne have now required masks in schools, it seems to have only fueled further divide among parents here who see this issue very differently.
"I believe freedom is more important than following a mandate. My children have medical issues and can't wear a mask," said an opponent.
“Viruses don't know politics or anything. All they do is pass from one person to another, with no concern for the carnage they leave in their wake," said a supporter.
We reached out to the Livingston County board for separate comment and are still waiting to hear back.