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Thursday, August 26, 2021

Geauga County Board of Health Fires Commissioner Over Covid Comments

Posted By on Thu, Aug 26, 2021 at 2:57 PM

click to enlarge The board members at last night's meeting - GEAUGA COUNTY MAPLE LEAF/FB
  • Geauga County Maple Leaf/FB
  • The board members at last night's meeting

The Geauga County board of public health last night voted unaminously to terminate the employment of health commissioner Tom Quade over comments he posted to his personal Facebook page regarding unvaccinated individuals.

Quade, who removed the posts last week and said they were meant to be sarcastic, according to the Chagrin Valley Times, had posted messages such as, "Here's an incentive idea for encouraging vaccination: If you get vaccinated, and get Covid, you pay nothing for your medical treatment costs. If you're not vaccinated (or don't have a medical contraindication for getting vaccinated), your insurance pays NOTHING for your medical treatment. It's a natural consequence of your decisions." He also shared his views on the importance of safety protocols like masking.

Video of the end of the meeting, which doesn't include the public comment period, is below.

Some Geauga residents, like those who descended on a West Geauga school board meeting recently to yell and scream about the district's mask mandate (video below) while calling board members communists and fascists, created a Facebook page to call for Quade's firing.

The group has gleefully taken credit today for pushing the board to terminate Quade.

The public health department didn't respond to a request for comment from Scene.

In a brief press release late Thursday afternoon, the board said:

"The Geauga County Health Board holds all of our employees to the highest standards. Last night, following an executive session, the board decided to go in another direction regarding the future leadership of the health district. We would like to thank Tom Quade for his service. Geauga Public Health remains dedicated to serving our residents' needs with the utmost professionalism."

Quade earned his MPH from Yale University and served in the Peace Corps in Nepal. He's also worked for the World Health Organization as a public health specialist in Kosovo. When he returned to Ohio, he was an epidemiologist with the Akron Health Department, eventually being promoted to Deputy Health Director before transitioning to deputy health commissioner of Summit County, health commissioner of Marion County, and most recently health commissioner of Geauga.

Richard Piraino, a realtor with Howard Hanna, is currently president of the board of health.

Ohio, like other states, is experiencing a surge in infections thanks to the delta variant, with more than 3,000 new daily cases on average. There are more than 2,100 Ohioans hospitalized with Covid right now, a number not seen since February.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and others have called the current surge a pandemic of the unvaccinated, since they now account for nearly 99% of Covid hospitalizations and deaths.

The Geauga County public health department, for what it's worth, requires all visitors to wear masks.

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