Price County board members on Tuesday morning will consider resolutions declaring a public health emergency and providing county administration “administrative flexibility” in response to the new coronavirus pandemic.
The public health declaration appeared on the agenda for the regular meeting of the board of supervisors late Monday afternoon. Such a declaration would allow the county to allocate additional resources to its pandemic response.
The measure is in step with what some other Wisconsin counties have already done. Dane and Outagamie counties declared emergencies on Monday. Dane county has 10 confirmed COVID-19 infections, while Outagamie county has one.
Price County does not have any confirmed cases of the virus as of Tuesday morning, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
County offices remained open Monday, but all non-essential work-related travel outside the county has been suspended as of Tuesday. Employees are being encouraged to make use of technology to limit the number of meetings and events attended in person, and employees have been advised to conduct as much business via email or phone as possible.
The weekly senior dining locations are now closed for communal dining, although individuals may continue to pick up meals at the front door of the sites in Phillips, Brantwood, Ogema, and Kennan. Meals delivered directly to seniors’ homes will not be affected by the change.
With the Families First Coronavirus Response Act currently before the Senate, the county will be waiving certain employee policies until the act is signed into law.
Employees with children affected by the school closings will be allowed to use their sick leave or vacation leave, and the six-month waiting period to request sick leave for new employees will be waived. For employees who do not have vacation or sick leave currently available, they may borrow up to 80 hours which will be paid back later.
As of early Tuesday morning, no changes had been made to the BART bus service in Price County, although manager Patrick Daoust reported the situation would continue to be monitored very closely. Should changes to the public transportation be required, Daoust said plans are in place.