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Pierce County declares health emergency

By Staff | Mar 20, 2020

In response to coronavirus, Pierce County commissioners passed a health emergency declaration during a special meeting Wednesday at the Pierce County Courthouse.

The declaration stated Pierce County “continues to monitor COVID-19 activity”; that county departments are “undergoing efforts to mitigate activity through employee education, reviewing continuity of services, and purchasing supplies for increased cleaning efforts and virus protection;” and that due to the unknown duration of COVID-19 the mitigation efforts “may have a serious financial effect in excess of Pierce County resources”.

In a related motion, county commissioners also approved limiting access to county facilities, including the courthouse, until further notice. Patrons are to conduct business by appointment, and will be screened prior to entry. Once entry has been allowed, patrons are to immediately wash their hands.

According to a press release, Pierce County Emergency Services, county commissioners, Lake Region District Health Unit-Pierce County Public Health, the Heart of America Medical Center, Rugby Public Schools and the City of Rugby have been collaborating, and as of Tuesday a COVID-19 Incident Response Team is in place. The team’s mission is to “prepare the community for and support the efforts to slow the spread of the virus.”

According to the release, the team encourages promoting cleanliness and hygienic practices, including hand washing for 20 seconds; cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces; and persons are encouraged to avoid touching their eyes, noses and mouths with unwashed hands.

The team also encourages social distancing practices, including staying home if sick; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; keeping six feet of personal space; and limiting social gatherings to under 10 people.

According to the release, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath and body and muscle aches. Risk factors include traveling out of state or abroad in the past two weeks.

According to the North Dakota Department of Health’s Coronavirus webpage, the total number of persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state of North Dakota was 15-three in Morton County, one in Cass County, nine in Burleigh County and two in Ward County-as of Thursday morning.

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