Ellis County declares state of disaster in order to request state COVID-19 supplies

BY JUSTIN SABATA 

Ellis County has not had a confirmed case of COVID-19 for over 30 days. However, as the state progresses through the COVID-19 pandemic, the county will now be required to declare a state of disaster in order to continue requesting resources. This is according to Interim County Administrator Darin Myers.

“Basically, in the future, certain things could happen where once the federal government gets involved, different requirements could get brought down that says that the local county needs to have a signed disaster to be eligible for funding,” Myers said.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the county has received around $200,000 in personal protective equipment. According to Myers, there are currently no requests for PPE in Ellis County. First District Commissioner Butch Schlyer asked Myers whether he forecasts any requests for equipment the county does not have. 

“It’s unknown,” Myers said. 

The commission then needed to determine if declaring a state of disaster would be the proper course of action. Jason Kennedy, Ellis County director of health services, was called up to answer if he sees Ellis County needing resources in the future. 

“I will say from the public health side, I do foresee us requesting more supplies from the State of Kansas as we go through this,” Kennedy said. “Especially if we look at vaccinations.”

It was unsure how often the commission would need to renew the state of disaster, but the commission agreed to go forward regardless.

“I guess we’re just going to have to bite it and do it,” Myers said. “Because we don’t know if that antibody is going to come out tomorrow or Jason (Kennedy) may need to request (equipment) next week.”

This declaration also assures that Ellis County is up-to-date with equipment without any shortages in supplies.

“We’ve been ahead thanks to Jason (Kennedy) and Darin (Myers),” Dean Haselhorst, third district commissioner, said. “We’ve been ahead on this and I don’t think we want to fall behind now.”

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