Patrick among localities to declare state of emergency

Patrick County has joined a list of growing localities to declare a local state of emergency to allow for a faster response to concerns related to COVID-19.
The action will aid in supplemental resources to the locality and empower the locality to perform actions or impose policies that it would normally not be permitted to undertake, according to a release from Geri Hazelwood, the interim county administrator. “Such declarations alert citizens to change normal behavior and orders government agencies to implement emergency plans,” she added.
The Patrick County Administration offices will remain open during normal business hours, and Board of Supervisors meetings will go on as scheduled for March 23 and March 25. These meetings will be live-streamed on Facebook and the recordings of the meetings will be available on the county’s website, according to the release.
“As information evolves, we encourage employees and visitors to government facilities to stay home if they have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, as these are symptoms of the Coronavirus,” the release stated.
According to Patrick County Emergency Management Coordinator Steve Allen, and as of March 18, there are 77 cases of the virus in Virginia, including 14 in cases Central, 19 in Western, 39 in Northern, 5 in Northwest and no cases in Southwest Virginia, Hazelwood said in the release.
“I myself have been fighting the flu since last Thursday and am just getting back to work so as not to infect others. My office has been extremely short-staffed due to illness,” Hazelwood said.
“We prefer citizens to conduct business over the phone or online instead of in-person when possible. We are practicing ‘social distancing’ from other individuals in the building as well as practicing proper handwashing and using hand sanitizing products. We have implemented additional sanitizing practices in the county administration building as well,” she said.
The county “is working diligently to provide necessary services to our citizens while protecting our employees and citizens. Thank you to the citizens of Patrick County for your understanding and support during this time of uncertainty,” Hazelwood added.

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