Bob Kopitzke, Chair of the Stevens County Board of Commissioners said the only way to beat COVID-19 is to follow the CDC guidelines. (Photo: Marshall Hoffman)

While a subcommittee of the Stevens County Board of Commissioners passed an emergency declaration for Stevens County last Friday, the full board met this morning to make it official. Board Chair Bob Kopitzke explained why the declaration was necessary.

“This declaration activates the local emergency operation plan and authorizes aid and assistance to incur obligations necessary to combat the emergency by protecting the health and safety of our community,” Kopitzke said. “Now therefore, be it resolved that I, Bob Kopitzke, Chairperson of the Stevens County Board of Commissioners, hereby declare a local State of Emergency in the County of Stevens, Minnesota, as of March 20, 2020 due to the ongoing and expected responses to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic with the full Board vote to occur Monday, March 23, 2020, which is today.”

The Board also voted to meet on a weekly basis starting with next Tuesday’s meeting, March 31.

Members of the emergency management team also spoke in a media briefing after the formal business was concluded. Horizon Public Health Administrator Ann Stehn said that it’s important to continue the disease mitigation strategies.

“While we can’t prove it, we believe that the virus is absolutely circulating in communities across our state,” said Stehn. “And so what we’re trying to do is to flatten the curve. We’re trying to slow the spread and we’re trying to help our medical facilities and a variety of other responders. It gives us some time and allows us, our systems, to hopefully be able to handle what’s coming better and then our systems are able to not be overwhelmed during those times.[\]]”

Stehn said it was important for the public to stay calm and informed and if you experience any respiratory problems to stay home and isolate yourself.

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