Sep 15, 2021 1:10 PM

Emergency declaration extended for 60 days

Posted Sep 15, 2021 1:10 PM

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Reno County Emergency Management Director Adam Weishaar asked for a longer extension of the county's emergency declaration on Tuesday than the agenda originally called for.

"What I'm actually going to request this morning is an extension for 60 days," Weishaar said. "All the way back on March 19, 2020, Reno County declared a public health emergency and that was extended several times, to end up expiring on June 31, 2021. June 31, 2021, we had nine active cases in the county. We weren't requesting resources from the state. Things were pretty calm. Now, our case count has picked up significantly and we are now requesting resources from the state."

As Weishaar has explained before, it's those resource requests that are the reason the county needs an emergency declaration in place.

"Some of those resources that we've requested recently include ventilators for the hospital, ventilator arms, testing supplies for our jail, testing supplies for our schools," Weishaar said. "Usually, the county is not allowed to request resources from the state, unless we have a local disaster declaration in place."

The state had been flexible about that previously, but Weishaar doesn't want to take any chances if resources continue to tighten.

"What's going to happen when the flu and COVID get here, what are our numbers going to do?" Weishaar said. "We don't know. I'd rather have the disaster declaration in place to clear the supply lines and clear the help from the state and federal government and leave it in place as long as we need it, but if our case count goes down and we're not requesting resources from the state, by all means, that can expire sooner."

The commission passed the proposal unanimously.