This morning, County Commissioners Larry Wilson, Don Hodge, and Judge Dan Joyce signed a Declaration of Emergency for Malheur County in response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We need to be as prepared as possible to help keep our community safe,” said Judge Dan Joyce. “This emergency declaration will help us to best serve our residents. We appreciate the public working with us to protect public health and minimize the spread of COVID-19.”
The declaration specifically authorizes the County to:
- Seek state and federal assistance and potential reimbursement for local funds spent on COVID-19 response;
- Use streamlined processes for purchasing goods and services as allowed under Oregon law during emergency situations; and
- Follow emergency plans and procedures as may be needed to protect the public health.
In addition, the County’s emergency operations center (EOC) has been partially activated to assist the Health Department with multi-agency coordination, public information and community outreach. The activation also provides a venue for mobilizing resources and developing plans across multiple Malheur County departments.
“The Emergency Declaration and EOC will help us support County staff, first responders, and healthcare partners so we can quickly respond and utilize all available resources to best protect the health of our community,” said Malheur County Emergency Manager Rich Harriman.
Malheur County employees will remain on the job and working to fulfill the obligations of the County. All departments are implementing recommendations from the Oregon Health Authority, such as increased cleaning, social distancing, and teleconferencing where possible. Sick employees have been asked to stay home.
Members of the public who need to access County offices are encouraged to conduct as much business as possible online, by phone, or by mail. Appointments can be made for necessary and time-sensitive business that cannot be handled over the phone, internet or through the mail. Members of the public are asked to please call the respective office first so that staff can provide assistance over the phone and online and to request an appointment if necessary. Measures will be taken to enhance social distancing and minimize the number of visitors in our offices at one time. Public appointments and screening procedures are subject to change due to the rapidly-changing nature of the COVID-19 outbreak. Updated information particular to each office can be found on the County website at malheurco.org.
“The Malheur County Court is committed to making every effort to stop and prevent the spread of the virus to our citizens,” said Commissioner Don Hodge. “We encourage everyone to limit their contacts in the community in the days ahead and conduct as much business as possible online, by phone, or through the mail.”
There are 0 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Malheur County at this time. The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has a visual dashboard for the COVID-19 situation across the state HERE.
The Malheur County Health Department is working closely with the Oregon Health Authority, local emergency management, Malheur County Jail, Environmental Health, and medical providers to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak. You can find up to date numbers on cases of COVID-19 in Oregon by calling 211 or visiting healthoregon.org/coronavirus.