Saline County Commission Re-Declares Local Public Health Emergency

Saline County Commission Re-Declares Local Public Health Emergency
Photos from Michelle Barkley, Saline County Emergency Management Director

The County Commissioners heard from Emergency Management Director, Michelle Barkley, at this week's County Commission meeting, to discuss a possible re-declaration of the local public health emergency, due to COVID-19 and the reprocussions from the pandemic.

"I am here to declare an extension for the declaration that we have in place for the local public health emergency for COVID-19," Barkley began. "We have currently, since my last time to extend this declaration, I have sheltered 3 individuals that have needed to isolate. This declaration does provide us with tort liability. There is general tort liability that offered through a state declaration, but since the state got rid of theirs, by having ours in place provides us that."

"Also, resources like the shelter and testing supplies does become available to us. I'm sure you're all aware of the supply chain struggle nationally for testing supplies, and we had spoke briefly with some of our community partners yesterday, and some stat cares and other testing sites in Saline County are seeing record high in number of people getting tested."

Barkley went on to say that she is asking for a 90-day extension, rather than a 60-day extension. By declaring so would put Saline County's declaration expiring at the beginning of April. She also noted that the reason for an update every two to three months is to inform both the County Commission, as well as the community, as to what her department is doing to combat COVID-19 and the protective measures that they are putting in place.

"This declaration will not, and never will, have anything to do with isolation, quarantine, or protective measures," Barkley noted. "That is up to the discretion of the health officer and always will be."

The resolution to pass the re-declaration of a local public health emergency for Saline County passed 5-0.

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