Routt County’s COVID-19 disaster declaration is almost two years old
Routt County’s COVID-19 disaster declaration is almost two years old

Routt County’s COVID-19 disaster declaration is almost two years old

In what has become a routine move, the Routt County Board of Commissioners approved on the 24th continuation of the local disaster declaration associated with COVID-19 on Tuesday, February 15th.

The extension means that the declaration – which was first introduced on 13 March 2020 – will extend into its second year with little indication of when it may end. Although it is likely to be extended again, the current declaration expires on March 28.

“I think probably when the state comes out of their state, we will be out of ours,” Routt County Manager Jay Harrington said. “The only reason the county still does that is in the event that there is additional funding that comes under that umbrella.”

The order goes back to when COVID-19 was known as the new coronavirus and when governments at all levels responded to a rapidly evolving situation.

When the first statement was approved, Routt County had only seen two cases of COVID-19. Since then, 6,064 more have come.

The initial order followed similar orders introduced by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and then-President Donald Trump, and it made the county eligible for reimbursement from federal and state governments for resources spent on the pandemic.

The police office did not give an indication of when these statements may end at the state level on Tuesday.

“The police administration has supported local governments doing what works for them to respond to the pandemic,” Melissa Dworkin, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, said in a statement. “We expect Colorado to remain in the recovery phase for COVID to have access to federal funds.”

This compensation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency can be a lengthy process, said Commissioner Beth Melton, which is why these disaster declarations are sometimes left in place for extended periods of time.

“I keep thinking about talking to Boulder County commissioners who say they still have standing declarations of disaster from the floods that happened,” Melton said, referring to the 2013 floods that caused more than $ 4 billion in damage. across the Front Range.

There are still 18 disaster declarations from the 2013 floods waiting to be fully reimbursed by the federal government, according to a database of disasters set up by FEMA.

Out of 208 disasters declared in Colorado since 2013, 114 of them are still waiting to be completely shut down.

The only statement active in Routt County is the one the commissioners extended Tuesday.

“As long as (the state of Colorado) continues with their statement, we will follow that trail unless there are obvious differences between what is happening in Routt County, versus the state,” said County Attorney Erick Knaus.

Knaus said the statement is important to keep in place because there may be money available in the end that one does not know about now or does not exist yet.

“It’s not likely, I would say, and others will say it’s never going to happen,” Knaus said of getting further help. “But as long as there is any possibility that the county can benefit from this recovery and all the resources the county has put out during the pandemic, why not do so?”

Knaus said he was actually a little surprised that the state has maintained its statement for so long, as some counties have chosen to end their local orders.

Eagle County settled with its measure last month with a commissioner tells Vail Daily, “It’s personally difficult to live in a constant state of emergency.”

Commissioner Tim Redmond had a similar reflection on Tuesday. While he believes Routt County should keep the door open for potential funding because of COVID, Redmond said he is also reaching the point where “it should all go away.”

“I do not like the message it sends: continued disaster,” Redmond said. “I do not know if I feel we are in a lasting catastrophe anymore. I think we are in our modern world – the new normal.”

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