Officials Address State Of Emergency Declaration-Brevard NC
Last updated 3/23/2020 at 2:28pm
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As well as making the declaration (see below), Hawkins addressed county residents in a letter, where he said a State of Emergency “is a tool which gives government some flexibility in responding to unusual circumstances.”
“I believe this is merited in our current COVID-19 response execution, due to the complexity of the response planning, which is taking place,” he said. “In declaring a State of Emergency, Transylvania County joins 67 other North Carolina counties, along with the federal and state governments. All those entities decided this action was a prudent part of their COVID-19 response planning.”
“There is no reason for additional concern on behalf of our citizens,” he said. “This is a case of adding an additional tool in our toolbox, should it be needed. “On behalf of the Transylvania County Board of Commissioners and the dedicated staff of Transylvania County government, thank you for your response to this challenge. The outpouring of initiatives from the government, business, nonprofit and faith communities has been inspirational. We have no doubt the bonds we are building will remain long after COVID-19 disappears. Thank you for all that you do.”
When reached for further comment, Hawkins reiterated the declaration gives county government “more flexibility” in planning for allocating financial and personnel resources.
“It would also give us the flexibility to react to local conditions, which might be different than conditions in other areas of the state,” he said. “No actions are taking place now or even being contemplated now, but I decided it was wise to go ahead and have the structure already set up.”
Hawkins also highlighted guidance from the UNC School of Government.
“A local state of emergency declaration serves several important purposes,” according to information on the UNC School of Government website. “First, it triggers emergency powers and authorities vested under a local emergency ordinance. Second, it activates local emergency operations plans and mutual assistance compacts and authorizes providing mutual aid assistance. Third, it is the vehicle by which local emergency measures, such as evacuations and curfews, are legally imposed (GS 166A-19.31).
“Finally, it is usually a requirement for receiving state and federal reimbursement for emergency-related expenses. A gubernatorial declaration, while important for other reasons, serves none of these purposes at the local level. In major emergency situations where there has been or is likely to be significant impact, it is always advisable to issue a local declaration even if a gubernatorial declaration is already in place.”
Hawkins said the reimbursement matter was “key” for him in making the declaration.
“The reimbursement matter is key to me,” he said. “Though there is no .indication yet that a local declaration will be required, it could be required. And it’s best for the county to be covered just in case.”
As of this morning, one COVID-19 case has been reported in Transylvania.
“Transylvania County staff are continuing to communicate with state and federal officials through emergency management and public health to stay current on information about COVID-19, ways to minimize spread and considerations for mitigating community impacts,” County Manager Jaime Laughter said. “We remain dedicated to serving our citizens and navigating this crisis. We also appreciate the collaboration of our nonprofits, faith community and community organizations in continuing to identify needs and work to make resources available for those in need. Together we will adapt and remain strong through this pandemic.”
Editor’s note: The following is the official Declaration of a State of Emergency for Transylvania County:
Whereas, on March 10, 2020, Governor Cooper declared a State of Emergency over COVID-19, and whereas President Trump declared a National Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Transylvania County expects to receive impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can lead to serious illness or death. Impacts from COVID-19 could be inclusive of, but not limited to, high volumes of “Suspected Coronavirus” patients, great demands placed on the overall Emergency Services through the continued need for Personal Protective Equip-ment, Decontamination Solutions, workforce exposure to “Suspected Coronavirus” patients, and great demands placed on all medical providers within the county, which could result in extended work hours for all staff. These medical providers are inclusive of Communicable Disease Nurses and other personnel employed by the Transylvania County Division of Public Health, Transylvania County Emergency Services and Law Enforcement Agencies having any jurisdiction within the boundaries of Transylvania County.
These overall impacts will be countywide.
Whereas, as a result of the above-described emergency, I have determined that there is a threat of widespread or severe illness, and in extreme cases, the loss of life.Whereas, declaring a State of Emergency and imposing the control measures ordered herein is necessary to maintain order and to protect public health, safety and welfare.
Now, Therefore, pursuant to the authority granted to North Carolina counties under the North Carolina Emergency Management Act (Article 1 of Chapter 166A of the North Carolina General Statutes), and also pursuant to the authority granted by Chapter 6 of the local Transylvania County Ordinances, the following proclamation is hereby made:
1. A State of Emergency is hereby declared within the geographical area of Transylvania County.
3. The Emergency Operations Plan adopted by Transylvania County and all applicable mutual aid compacts and agreements are to be placed in full force and effect and shall remain in effect until this Emergency Declaration is rescinded.
4. Control Measures could be placed in effect immediately to implement plans for the prevention of, preparation for, response to, and recovery from any and all emergency situations that may result from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. These Control Measures will be coordinated with federal, state and local agencies for the orderly protection, treatment and rehabilitation of affected persons.
5. Restricted Access: In addition to enforcement of the Governor’s State of Emergency and Executive Orders related to COVID-19, the Transylvania County Public Health Director may recommend to the County Manager of areas which travel should be restricted except by those in search of medical assistance, food or other commodity or services necessary to sustain the well-being of themselves or family members.
6. The Transylvania County Public Health Director may recommend to the County Manager any other activities or conditions the control of which to be reasonably necessary to protect lives.
This includes measures limiting or altering access to public meetings to protect public officials and citizens from the spread of COVID-19.
7. I hereby order all Emergency Services Personnel, Department of Social Services Personnel, Department of Public Health Personnel, any agency contracted to provide services, and any other applicable Transylvania County Employees subject to our control to cooperate in the enforcement and implementation of the provisions of this Declaration, all applicable federal, state and local laws/ordinances and the Transylvania County Emergency Operations Plan.
8. I herby request all Transylvania County Law Enforcement Officers to cooperate in the enforcement and implementation of the provisions of this Declaration, all applicable federal, state and local laws/ordinances and the Transylvania County Emergency Operations Plan.
9. I herby request the City of Brevard and town of Rosman to cooperate in the enforcement and implementation of the provisions of this Declaration, all applicable federal, state and local laws/ordinances and the Transylvania County Emergency Operations Plan.
10. I hereby order this declaration: to be distributed to the news media and other organizations calculated to bring its contents to the attention of the general public; to be filled with the clerk to the Transylvania County Board of Commissioners; and to be distributed to others as necessary to ensure proper implementation of this declaration.
11. This declaration shall take effect on March 20, 2020, at 1 p.m. and shall remain in effect until modified or rescinded.