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Posted on: March 19, 2020

Walworth County Declares a State of Emergency as a Result of the COVID-19 Virus

On the morning of March 19, 2020, the Walworth County Board adopted, by unanimous consent, Resolution No. 102-03/20, “Declaring a State of Emergency in Walworth County as a Result of the COVID-19 Virus.”  The action occurred at a special County Board meeting called for this purpose.  The resolution “declares that an emergency exists within the County by reason of an imminent threat of disaster impairing medical care, health, and other critical systems of the County due to the spread of COVID-19.” 

The resolution, which runs for 90 days as initially approved, is in accordance with the State statutory authority extended to Counties to address such emergencies.  A primary focus of the action is to enable the County to efficiently and flexibly address issues related to the provision of County services and the management of County facilities and staff.  The County, as a large employer providing a wide range of services, must carefully manage its staff and resources to help ensure that facilities remain open and services remain available.

The resolution also approved a COVID-19 Operations Response Plan, which “extends additional authority to the County Administrator with the acknowledgement and intent that such authorizations may expand upon or conflict with existing ordinances and policies.”  County Administrator Mark Luberda explained to the County Board that providing the added authority gives management the flexibility to use multiple strategies to hold off the potential impacts of COVID-19 on the County’s staff and operations.  Tools such as telecommuting, adjusting work schedules, staff reassignments, and greater flexibility with time off can help to better manage staff and operations. 

The resolution also ensures that state and federal funding to support the County’s COVID-19 response can be more readily appropriated and accessed.  In addition, it makes up to $312,500 of existing fund balance available for immediate access should specific needs arise.  The action noted that the County is waiting to get clear information on how recent federal legislation on COVID-19 relief will further affect the County. 

The Operations Response Plan also references important internal actions that have become well known with COVID-19 response:  social distancing, limiting travel and in-person meetings, enhanced personal hygiene, and clean work environments.  For broader public concerns, it points out that the County’s public information on COVID-19 is available at https://www.co.walworth.wi.us/856/COVID-19.  That website provides the most up-to-date information specific to Walworth County and provides links to other valuable sources, including the most up-to-date state and national information.

Read a complete copy of the Resolution and COVID-19 Operations Response Plan (PDF). For more information, please contact the Walworth County Administrator’s Office at (262) 741-4357.