Board of Supervisors approves emergency disaster declaration

The Muscatine County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve an emergency disaster declaration related to COVID-19 on March 23.

MUSCATINE, Iowa-At the advice of Muscatine County Emergency Management Director Brian Wright, the Muscatine County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to approve an emergency disaster declaration related to COVID-19 on March 23. The disaster declaration came after the Iowa Department of Public Health confirmed the first two cases of COVID-19 in Muscatine County.

According to Board Chair Jeff Sorensen, the declaration allows every town in Muscatine County the opportunity to apply for emergency funding if the state or federal government makes it available. “We have included in our declaration all the incorporated townships in the county so they can present it to their councils and take action to sign those and approve them,” he said. “This is just in the case there would be emergency funds available, so that if a township or any community resource needed resources, we would be able, through homeland security state or federal resources, to apply for emergency funding,” he added. As city councils meet across the county, Wright will make sure each receives the declaration and considers signing it.

Right now, the declaration simply introduces the possibility that cities in Muscatine County can apply for emergency funding if needed. At the time the Board met, no cities had requested aid: “It just opens up the potential. We’ve had a meeting; we haven’t had seen high needs addressed yet,” explained Sorensen.”

In his update to the Board, Wright explained how his department collaborates with area first responders, public health, and homeland security to monitor COVID-19 and to put plans in place to keep the county safe. The Board expressed satisfaction with these efforts and thanked county employees for their work in this difficult situation. “I feel good that everybody is keeping an eye out and that area first responders are all communicating, and the hospital and Christy at public health is doing a good job keeping everybody in the loop,” stated Sorensen.