The Boone County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution declaring a state of emergency July 20 in response to an uptick in county COVID-19 cases.
The resolution allows Donnie Lawson, the president of the Boone County Board of Commissioners and the counties chief executive officer, the ability to organize a county response to the pandemic more quickly than without the declaration, Boone County Commissioner Jeff Wolfe said. The commissioners had allowed a previous resolution declaring a state of emergency to expire June 22.
“My recommendation is that we get back into a unified command so that we have a unified front at least for communication because we are going to be making hard decisions, and everyone needs to be on the same page,” BCHD Emergency Services Director Tom Ryan said.
Re-issuing the Boone County State of Emergency Declaration will allow the Boone County Commissioners to again designate the Witham Pavilion at the Boone County 4-H Fairgrounds as a COVID-19 treatment facility if needed. It would also allow for the streamlining of communications and operations between Boone County Incident Command partners. The declaration went into effect July 20 and may expire or renewed every seven days.
In the past four weeks, Boone County has experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases, county officials said. As of July 20, Boone County had approximately 589 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 50 COVID-19 deaths.
New daily cases have increased from an average between three and five per day during the months of May and June to an average of nine per day during July, according to the Boone County Health Dept.
During the last week of June, the department reported 19 new COVID-19 cases. The following week, the first week of July, cases increased again to 22. After the Fourth of July holiday, cases again increased, adding 46 new cases in the second week of July. The next week, the latest completed, 48 new cases were reported.
The weekend of July 18-19, 20 new cases were reported in the county. None of the new cases reported were attributed to long-term care facilities, which were once the primary locations of the new coronavirus’ spread, but county health officials now say the virus has spread in the community, outside of facilities and family homes.
“This is especially concerning due to Boone County schools beginning the new academic year in a matter of weeks,” the BCHD stated in a press release, noting it expects the number of known and unknown COVID-19 cases will continue to increase.
Ryan said county hospitalizations and positive cases among those younger than 19 are also increasing.
The Boone County commissioners and other county officials will meet every Monday to determine if a continued declaration is warranted, according to the BCHD.