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Local

Kane County declares COVID-19 a public health emergency

Special meeting held Tuesday via teleconference

The Kane County Health Department in Aurora.
The Kane County Health Department in Aurora.

GENEVA – In a special meeting Tuesday afternoon, the Kane County Board approved a resolution declaring a public health emergency for COVID-19 response.

The meeting was held by web conference and teleconference based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Kane County Department of Public Health.

The resolution activated the Kane County Health Department and Office of Emergency Management’s emergency operations plans, according to the board packet for the meeting.

The resolution authorized directors of both departments “to take all steps necessary to apply for emergency funding grants made available in connection with the COVID-19 public health emergency and disaster.”

The declaration also authorized those departments to enter into contracts, take measures to protect the public’s health and safety, their property and to provide emergency assistance, according to the resolution in the board packet.

This included hiring temporary workers, renting equipment, buying supplies and materials as well as appropriating public funds and property, according to the resolution.

The resolution acknowledged the Governor, World Health Organization, President, the and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency declaring the coronavirus outbreak a national emergency.

However, listening to the meeting, provided via a public call-in number, was an exercise in listening to an underwater echo chamber.

In a few instances of audio clarity, the board voted to approve minutes, an amendment to the resolution, then it approved the resolution.

Just before the special meeting, the board held a required public hearing for input on the county’s proposal to sell $13.550 million in bonds to pay for construction of a new multi-use facility.

Chairman Chris Lauzen could be heard reading that the facility will accommodate the following uses: Coroner’s office and morgue; Building Management’s office and workshop; Sheriff’s fleet management, repair and fueling; Sheriff’s Emergency Management’s vehicle storage; County storage and expansion space; new salt dome; and Sheriff’s impound lot.

Lauzen could be heard saying there were no members of the public on the teleconference phone waiting to give comment or ask questions

The Kane County Board already approved seeking $13.55 million in general obligation bonds March 10 to pay for the construction of a multi-use facility to include a new coroner’s office and morgue. The public hearing was part of the bond sale authorization.

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