Health officials say public statement by elected body gives county ability to recoup funds used to respond to coronavirus.

Early on Monday, March 2, Clackamas County Board of Commissioners declared a precautionary state of emergency in response to the coronavirus in order to be as prepared as possible.

However, they cautioned that this is not a public health emergency, but a statement allowing the county to seek additional resources from the state. It authorizes the county to streamline resources and staffing and create emergency policies and protocols, as well as gives the county the ability to recoup financial costs associated with the emergency response.

"We are monitoring this situation very closely, and we're taking all precautions under the circumstances," said Nancy Bush, the county's disaster management director.

The declaration gives county officials the power to commit to mutual aid agreements, redirect funds for emergency use, and order other measures that are found to be instantly necessary to protect life and property.

The county is working with public health officials from Oregon, including Washington County, to address recent cases of the coronavirus for an elementary school teacher and a potential case of the teacher's neighbor. At this time (March 2) there are three known cases of the virus in Oregon and four confirmed deaths in Washington state.

This declaration has been taken in accordance with the county's code. It is set to expire in two weeks on Monday, March 16.

Carol Rosen
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