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News 4 JAX reports that Commissioner Paul Waldron of St. John’s County in Florida is hospitalized and in critical condition due to COVID-19 complications a week after voting down an ordinance that would require county employees to wear masks while working in public.

  • Action News JAX explains that in a special meeting held June 30, the St. Johns County Board of Commissioners took up the matter of masking ordinances. The board seats five commissioners, including Waldron.
  • Commissioner Henry Dean moved to call for a countywide mask ordinance, qualifying that there could be exceptions for those who might not be medically able to wear a mask.
  • Commissioner Jeremiah Blocker then moved to call for the St. John’s county administrator to require county employees to wear masks at county-controlled sites, such as recreation centers and libraries. The same motion called for masks to be available at such sites and provided to patrons upon entry.
  • The motion failed on a 3-2 vote. Commissioners Dean and Blocker voted for the motion; Commissioners Jeb Smith, James Johns, and Paul Waldron voted against the motion.
  • News 4 Jax reports that on July 9, Waldron’s daughter, Ashley Waldron Zapata, announced on Facebook that the commissioner had been hospitalized due to complications with COVID-19. Waldron had gone into septic shock and many of his organs were struggling.
  • News 4 Jax added that Waldron “said he was not necessarily opposed to the [mask] requirement. He wanted the county administrators to answer questions about what kinds of masks are best and if the county had enough for all employees and citizens who come into government buildings.”