Tuesday, March 17 | Warren, Pa.— The Commissioners of Warren County have declared a state of disaster emergency, invoking section 7501 of the emergency management services code as a part of our overall efforts to prevent the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19. The United States of America and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and over a dozen Pennsylvania counties, have already declared an emergency disaster in an effort to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, COVID-19. This declaration has been delayed in Warren County, as there have not been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Warren County.
Nevertheless, the Commissioners want the constituents of Warren County to know that we are taking the threat of coronavirus seriously and have taken and are taking appropriate precautions. We are not aware of Warren County ever invoking a full state of emergency, but in this case it is appropriate. It is a cautious and deliberate move that the Emergency Management Agency advises us to do. We believe if we act now, it gives us more time, tools and personnel to reduce the impact of the virus and promote the health, safety and welfare of all residents of Warren County, which is a central purpose of our local government.
A state of emergency is not a state of panic. We are prepared. The County has developed plans, updated those plans, and we train for situations just like this. This declaration is largely being done for administrative reasons, to vest more authority in our Director of Public Safety to draw down state and federal resources and staff the Emergency Operations Center. It also allows us to acquire equipment and personnel quickly, without going through bidding processes, as it relates to COVID-19. This is a measured, proactive response, guided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control. We are coordinating with these agencies to engage the public.
The Director of Public Safety will be opening the Warren County Emergency Operations Center, which will be the single, county-wide resources to coordinate our response, having representatives from law enforcement, transportation, emergency medical services, the hospital, business & industry, and many more. Finally, the EOC will have a Public Information Officer as the single-point-of-contact for the incident.
Please monitor Warren County’s website for up-to-date information. Questions and concerns can be directed to the COVID-19 hotline at 814-563-3598. For more information about COVID-19 and how to personally combat the virus, please visit the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health websites.
We, the Commissioners of Warren County, want to take a moment to thank those on the front lines of this pandemic, and further ask that you lift up your local government leaders, emergency responders, medical staff and elderly in prayer.