Thurston County Commissioners Declare COVID-19 a Local Emergency

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The Thurston County Board of Commissioners Thursday passed a resolution declaring the outbreak of COVID-19 — the illness caused by the novel coronavirus — a local emergency. 

Thurston County has one confirmed case of the illness, identified Thursday as a state Department of health employee. 

“The declaration of a local emergency allows the county, by state law, to undertake emergency purchases and activates the Thurston County Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan,” according to a news release from the county. “The declaration authorizes county departments and offices to enter into contracts and incur obligations necessary to combat the emergency and protect the health and safety of persons, property, and the environment, and provide emergency assistance to the victims of the emergency.”

The Thurston County Board of Health also signed a resolution limiting events of 250 or more people. Gov. Jay Inslee ordered a similar restriction earlier in the week for events in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. The order excludes schools. 

The county’s declaration of an emergency also means the Board of Health and County Commissioners are not required to meet requirements of the Open Public Meetings Act during the emergency. 

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