County extends COVID emergency through Dec. 31

Staff writer
The Clarion County Board of Commissioners on Sept. 14 unanimously extended the COVID-19 disaster declaration through the end of the year.

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

The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported Clarion County has reported 52 new cases of the virus since Friday, Sept. 10.

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 board also authorized Commissioner Ted Tharan to locate and negotiate for a COVID-19 vaccine booster clinic site.

During the COVIC-19 outbreak in 2020 the county had rented the former Pebbles 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.”

Commissioner Wayne Brosius added, “They (Clarion Hospital officials are) awaiting guidance from the Center for Disease Control.”

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

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