Beadle County declares state of emergency

Photo courtesy Beadle County

HURON — In an emergency meeting held Monday afternoon at the Beadle County courthouse, county commissioners officially submitted the following declaration:
“Per directive of the governor’s office, Beadle County declares a state of emergency due to the emergence and threat of the COVID-19 virus. The risk is still low, however this allows for the allocation of resources in the case of future need.”
Commissioners met with county department heads along with Huron Regional Medical Center Vice President of Quality and Support Services Jake Redden and Huron Fire Chief Ron Hines. They discussed various policies to protect the public and to protect county employees at this time.
The commissioners voted 4-1 to end tax receipt at the treasurer’s office at the courthouse after March 27. County residents are encouraged to mail in their taxes. Residents are also strongly directed to utilize online options to renew vehicle registration and other activities that would normally be carried out at the treasurer’s office window. This will aid in decreasing overall foot traffic in the building, increasing the safety for both the general public and for county employees.
Sheriff Doug Solem reported on multiple actions that the jail has put in place already, including no outside fingerprinting, alternating schedules for UA testing, and closing the jail completely to visitors at this time. He discussed with commissioners options to assist with increasing safety for jailers working with those on the 24/7 program, some of which could require purchase of body temperature scanners or protective equipment for use by jailers.
Chief Hines reported on the options for a mobile testing unit within the county. Currently, a group is exploring potential spots for this and how to staff the unit to collect specimen to be tested.
Beadle County Emergency Management Director Taylor Jans could be called into active National Guard service, and in preparation for that, the commission did approve the temporary designation of Tom Moeding into the role if Jans were to be called into active service. Moeding will be paid at a commensurate FEMA rate to his position during the time he is filling Jans’ role.
For any county residents who are interested in more information on the actions within the county to address COVID-19, please check out the “Beadle County COVID-19” page on Facebook.

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