Mar 01, 2021 2:53 PM

Weishaar: One year in, county still needs emergency declaration for COVID-19

Posted Mar 01, 2021 2:53 PM

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Reno County Emergency Management Director Adam Weishaar notes that March 1 is the anniversary of the real start of COVID-19 response from his office.

"We didn't declare a public health emergency in the county until the 19th, but this would be the one year mark," Weishaar said. "At the start of this, it was one of those things that we didn't know it was really going to turn into this. We started our conversations all the way back in the early part of February, February 3 to be exact and we said hey, this could be a real thing. This could be something that's brought into Kansas, something that we see in our community and started having those discussions."

Once the virus got close in mid-March, it was clear it wasn't going away soon.

"We said then that we're looking at maybe an 18-month response," Weishaar said. "People thought we were crazy and here we are a year later."

Weishaar thinks that timeline is still close to where we'll end up.

"I believe 18 months is still probably pretty accurate," Weishaar said. "Our disaster declaration and the state's declaration is set to expire on the 31st of March. I would like to see them stay in place, just for the simple fact of it keeps the flow going. It keeps the availability of resources, the availability of getting personal protective equipment or sharps containers or testing supplies, whatever we happen to need."

Weishaar's office is responsible for finding those commonly needed resources through state and federal government channels when they are not available privately.

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