Clarion County issues emergency declaration

CLARION — The Clarion County commissioners opted for a proactive approach on Tuesday by issuing a declaration of disaster emergency, effective immediately, in response to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

The declaration noted the coronavirus has the “potential” to endanger or threaten the health, safety and welfare of a substantial number of people in Clarion County and threatens to create problems greater in scope than the county could resolve.

There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 in either Clarion County or neighboring Jefferson County, which issued its own declaration of emergency disaster earlier this week.

Clarion County's declaration suspends certain “time-consuming procedures and formalities prescribed by law” pertaining to public works, entering into contracts, incurring obligations, hiring of temporary workers, the rental of equipment, the purchase of supplies and materials, the levying of taxes and the appropriation and expenditure of public funds.

The declaration states emergency management measures are required to be proactive to reduce the potential severity of this disaster and to “protect the health, safety and welfare of the affected residents of Clarion County.”

The commissioners directed the Clarion County Department of Public Safety emergency management coordinator to coordinate the activities of the emergency response, work with state and federal authorities to take all “appropriate actions” to alleviate the potential effects of the disaster, aid in the restoration of essential public services and implement “other emergency response action” necessary to respond to the emergency.

The county has formed a leadership committee that includes various department heads, the county sheriff and judge. The co-chairs of the committee are the county solicitor and the director of public safety.

The committee will meet as needed.

The declaration will remain in force until it is terminated in writing.