MAKING DECISIONS • County commissioners had to make some tough decisions last week after they held two meetings to discuss COVID-19. They have declared a local emergency in order to get funds and resources to help combat the pandemic.
By Myrna Trauntvein
A resolution and one declaration were passed by county commissioners at an emergency meeting held Wednesday.
Commissioners called a meeting of county department heads in order to complete the business and to discuss the closure of the county building during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We need to amend the resolution we made on Monday,” said Clinton Painter, commission chairman. “At a meeting we held Monday evening, one of our health officers pointed out that the requirement we had of 14 days after symptoms were gone before employees could return was incorrect.”
Anyone missing work because of the coronavirus needs to be symptom free for 72 hours.
“We need to correct that,” he said.
Commissioners passed the following resolution which Richard Hansen, commissioner, read into the meeting minutes:
“Resolution amending Resolution 03162020, Resolving to Adhere to Governor Herbert’s Recommendation to Slow the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus and COVID-19.
“Whereas, the Juab County Commission has consulted with the Central Utah Department of Health and has determined the appropriate wait time for those employees and volunteers that have had symptoms to return to work,
“It is Hereby Resolved that the following paragraph in resolution 03162020 is amended as follows:
“Regarding Juab County employees and volunteers, all symptomatic employees and volunteers are ordered to not report to work or service during the time symptoms are present and for [striking 14 days afterward and replacing it with] 72 hours after symptoms have completely ceased. ‘Symptomatic’ means experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath and flu-like symptoms in general. Symptomatic employees will be required to take sick leave or paid time off (“PTO”) for leave. In the event an employee exhausts his or her sick leave or PTO, the County hereby orders sick leave or PTO to continue to be paid to those employees.”
The declaration, next on the agenda, was also approved by the commission after being read into the record by Byron Woodland, commissioner.
“The declaration comes as a recommendation from the state,” said Travis Kenison, Juab County Emergency Manager Juab County Sheriff’s Office. “It opens the door for federal funding and for help for small businesses.”
“Juab County Declaration of State of Emergency Due to Infectious Disease COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus.
“Whereas, On January 21, 2020, the Utah Department of Health activated its Department Operations Center in response to the evolving COVID-19 global outbreak and the Utah Department of Health recognizes COVID-19 as an imminent threat to the health and safety of the residents of Utah; and
“Whereas, on March 16, 2020, Juab County Emergency Operations Center activated to Level 2- Partially Activated; and in March 2020, the State Emergency Operations Center raised its activation from Level 3 to Level 2- Partially Activated and the Utah Division of Emergency Management and the Utah Department of Health activated a Joint Information System for public information; and
“Whereas, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 both globally and in the United States as ‘high’ and has advised that person-to-person spread of COVID-19 will continue to occur globally, including within the United States; and
“Whereas, due to the identification of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Utah, and identification of suspected cases in Juab County, COVID-19 has created conditions that are or are likely to be beyond the control of local resources and require the combined forces of other political subdivisions to combat; and
“Whereas, the Juab County Commission has determined that there is an imminent and proximate threat to the public health from the introduction of COVID-19 into Juab County, and has concurrently declared a Local Health Emergency; and
“Whereas, the mobilization of local resources, ability to coordinate and Interagency response, accelerate procurement of vital supplies, and use mutual aid will be critical to successful responding to COVID-19; and
“Whereas, these conditions to create a ‘State of Emergency’ within the intent of the Disaster Response and Recovery Act found in Title 53, Chapter 2a of the Utah Code Annotated 1953, as amended; and necessitate that the Juab County Commission proclaims the existence of a local emergency.
“Now, therefore, it is Hereby Proclaimed and Ordered by the Juab County Commission that a local emergency exists in Juab County and shall remain in effect for no longer than 30 days unless ratified by the Juab County Commission and continued for up to an additional 30 days.”
The emergency declaration was signed by all three commissioners and was attested by Travis Kenison, Juab County Emergency Manager.