The Douglas County Board of Commissioners Monday voted to ratify a state of emergency for the county.
Monday’s decision followed a Saturday emergency declaration. The commissioners found that “conditions of extreme peril to the health and safety of the citizens and visitors of Douglas County, have arisen within the county, caused by the COVID-19,” according to a press release issued Monday afternoon.
The emergency declaration gives the county increased flexibility in how services are managed to promote safety and ensure resources reach county residents. The county can now waive normal bid contracts, which will allow the county to act more quickly and expedite funds to assist in the disease’s containment.
“We have been working diligently with local and state health officials to meet the ongoing threat of the coronavirus. We will continue to provide assistance and support to our local health partners who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the health and safety of our citizens,” Commissioner Chris Boice said.
County officials are urging people to avoid clinics and hospitals if they are feeling reasonably well so providers can focus on patients needing the most care. People who are very ill or having trouble breathing should call their healthcare providers, and call 911 only in case of an actual emergency.
The county is also recommending residents maintain a social distance of 6 feet from each other, wash hands frequently and stay home if they are sick.
The elderly are most at risk and should take extra precautions.
Douglas County Emergency Management is collecting information from small businesses in Douglas County that are being impacted financially by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The information will be provided to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, because Oregon Gov. Kate Brown might request assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
That program can provide low-interest working capital loans to small businesses, agricultural cooperatives and private nonprofits. Governments and tribes are not eligible for the loans.