Clarion commissioners extend county’s COVID disaster declaration again

Clarion County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously extended the county’s COVID-19 disaster declaration through the end of the year.

The county first adopted the declaration in March 2020 and has renewed it periodically since that time.

The state Department of Health says Clarion County has reported 52 new cases of the virus since Friday.

The previous declaration stated emergency management measures are required to be proactive to reduce the potential severity of this disaster and to “protect the health, safety, and welfare of the affected residents of Clarion County.”

The original declaration suspends certain “time-consuming procedures and formalities prescribed by law” pertaining to public works, entering into contracts, incurring obligations, hiring of temporary workers, the rental of equipment, the purchase of supplies and materials, the levying of taxes, and the appropriation and expenditure of public funds.

The commissioners also authorized commissioner Ted Tharan to locate and negotiate for a vaccine booster clinic site. The county previously rented the former Peebles store at the Clarion Mall as a vaccination center.

“The hospital does not have the facilities to get people through quickly,” said Tharan. “We would rather be proactive than reactive. You know it’s coming. We just want to be ready. The numbers are increasing.”

“They (the Clarion Hospital) are awaiting guidance from the Centers for Disease Control,” said commissioner Wayne Brosius.

Tharan said the county would not be implementing a mandatory vaccination policy or a volunteer mask mandate at this time.

“The county will follow whatever rules are established by the government,” county administrator Jillian Fisher said.