Commission extends emergency declaration indefinitely

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

The Leavenworth County Commission has indefinitely extended a county public health emergency declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioners extended the declaration when they met Wednesday.

commissioners initially approved a resolution in March declaring a public health emergency for a 60-day period.

This was extended in May for an additional 60 days.

Chuck Magaha, director of Leavenworth County Emergency Management, said Wednesday that the declaration was set to expire Monday.

He recommended extending the declaration for an unspecified amount of time.

“We can rescind it any time,” Magaha said.

The resolution approved Wednesday states the emergency declaration will remain in effect until rescinded.

“We don’t see an end to this anytime soon until they come out with a vaccine,” Magaha said.

Magaha said the county government needs to have an emergency declaration in place as it seeks state and federal support.

Also Wednesday, commissioners approved another resolution to declare their intent to accept funding available as a result of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

According to County Administrator Mark Loughry, the county can receive $19.2 million in C.A.R.E.S. Act from the state.

The state received the money from the federal government as part of the C.A.R.E.S. Act and the funding is now being distributed to county governments.

The money can be used to pay for expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Loughry said commissioners needed to approve the resolution and submit it to the state so the county can receive the money. It is anticipated the money will be released to the county next week.

County officials plan to distribute much of the funding to other entities within the county including cities and school districts.

By Aug. 15, county officials are required to submit a plan to the state regarding how the funds will be distributed and spent.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR