UMATILLA COUNTY – The Umatilla County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously in a special meeting today (Wednesday) to reinstate its COVID-19 emergency declaration for at least the next 60 days. The board did not issue any restrictions due to the uptick in COVID-19 cases. As previously stated to Elkhorn Media Group, the board primarily wants the declaration in effect to allow for it to make expenditures and staffing decisions due to the pandemic.
The declaration states that the board is authorized to “establish procedures to prepare for and carry out any activity to prevent, minimize, respond to, or recover from an emergency.” During the meeting, the commissioners agreed that the steps they take will take county businesses into consideration.
The board cited the conditions that prompted the move. They are the increase in the number of positive cases, the large number of unvaccinated citizens, emergency orders from the governor re-implementing mask requirements, and the limited local capacity for hospitalization in the county.
The emergency order expresses concern about the new variants of COVID-19 that are more contagious with shorter incubation periods, stating that county resources will be needed to respond to the threat. It also clears the way for the county to ask the state for financial aid and to coordinate with the state and federal government for emergency assistance.
“Any steps taken should take into consideration economic impacts on businesses in Umatilla County,” the declaration states.
The emergency declaration will last for 60 days from today, Aug. 11 unless the commissioners vote to either extend or terminate it. When the commissioners met by phone, Dan Dorran and George Murdock were in Hermiston at the Umatilla County Fair and John Shafer was in Pendleton at the county courthouse.