County Declares State of Emergency Due to COVID-19

Posted On: March 17, 2020

The board of commissioners met March 17 and proactively took measures to address the spread of COVID 19. The commissioners passed a resolution declaring a state of emergency in Otter Tail County. Otter Tail County is among ten other counties in the state to do so thus far.

Jody Lien, Public Health Director, addressed the commissioners Tuesday morning. Lien said the public health department was meeting daily in preparation and planning strategies under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Lien strongly encourages the public to continue to follow MDH guidelines. Currently, MDH reports no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Otter Tail County.

Otter Tail County passed a resolution declaring a state of emergency to address the spread of COVID-19, putting the county’s emergency operations plan into effect authorizing the County Administrator “to coordinate such actions and request such further assistance as may be needed to protect lives and public and private property in Otter Tail County and the recovery of the County from the impacts of this situation to the extent practical and as permitted by law and ordinance.”

“We have declared an emergency because this virus is already impacting lives in Otter Tail County,” said Lee Rogness, County Board Chair, “We need to be proactive in our preparations and future considerations for the people of this county.”

Nicole Hansen, County Administrator, noted the county will continue to offer services and has made plans to adjust public meetings to ensure there is proper social distancing. Technological adaptations will be made for future public meetings and hearings. “We are not closing county offices to the public at this time, but please limit visits unless your needs are time sensitive,” stated Hansen.  “Please protect your health and the health of others by postponing nonessential visits to county offices. Many services have mail-in and online options. If you have questions, please message us.”

Nick Leonard, Deputy Administrator and Economic Development Director also asked the commissioners to pass a resolution to provide business support due to coronavirus. The resolution was unanimously passed, and plans are underway to provide support for local businesses.

Otter Tail County Public Health asks that residents continue to follow the guidelines from the CDC, MDH and the county and to continue to prepare and stay informed. Visit the CDC, MDH or county sites for resources as we all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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