In a unanimous vote, the Katy City Council postponed a vote on the hiring of a physician to act as the city’s local health authority during a special Thursday meeting. Currently, without its …
In a unanimous vote, the Katy City Council postponed a vote on the hiring of a physician to act as the city’s local health authority during a special Thursday meeting. Currently, without its own health authority, the city must rely on Harris County’s Dr. Umair Shah as its de facto health authority for the COVID-19 pandemic, city officials said.
The vote to hire a health authority will be on the agenda for this coming Monday's regular Katy City Council meeting.
Relying on Shah as the health authority means that the city is unable to enact its own plans to reflect its custom needs, Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris said. This means that plans to provide hotel rooms for EMTs and other frontline city employees to quarantine in if they should become infected – just one of the options the city is considering – is not possible because the city must default to actions authorized by the county.
Having a health authority in place also helps the city obtain funding from the federal government for any relief associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current candidate is Dr. Joe A. Anzaldua who also serves as the health director for the cities of Sugar Land, Stafford and Missouri City has more than a decade of experience in public medicine. He also serves on the Texas Crisis Standards of Care panel under the authority of the Texas Department of State Health Services’ authority. The panel was asked by the department to address the resource management by emergency medical service personnel, hospitals, alternate care systems and other public health and emergency responders during crises.
The vote was postponed in order to allow the city’s law firm, Olson and Olson, LLP. to review and prepare contracts prior to hiring a physician to serve as the city’s health authority. A health authority’s general responsibilities are listed below.
Responsibilities as Local Health Authority