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Valley declares state of emergency

VALLEY — The threat posed by COVID-19 is rapidly filtering down to local communities. First, President Donald Trump declared a National State of Emergency due to the spread of the highly contagious virus, Gov. Kay Ivey followed suit for the state of Alabama, and now it’s up to the individual counties and towns.

On Monday, the Valley City Council unanimously approved a state of emergency in the city.

The action took place at the Monday evening meeting of the city council. Members of the council were spread out several feet apart in keeping with social distancing.

The approved resolution noted that city officials and personnel have been working with regional partners in addressing the COVID-19 threat since March 13. The council took action Monday to declare a state of emergency on the advice of emergency management personnel. With the state of emergency declaration, the city is making it clear that it will be taking action on a continual basis to address the possible impacts of COVID-19 to protect the lives of city residents and visitors to the city.

“COVID-19 poses a serious public health risk to our city stemming from it being novel respiratory disease impacting our city services, impacting utility services, impacting our schools, impacting our businesses and our industrial corridor,” the state of emergency reads. “The extent and level of COVID-19 cannot be determined at present, and City of Valley departments need the authority and funding to react promptly and without delay at this critical time.”

The action authorizes the mayor and city departments, with the guidance of the purchasing and human resources departments, to expend city funds and to use the personnel hours necessary to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on the city.

The declaration directs the mayor, police chief and city departments to coordinate work that needs to be done with the Chambers County Emergency Management Agency and other appropriate agencies. Such action “is required in order to be proactive in continuing the previous work of our officials and personnel in the future,” the declaration reads.

“The mayor and city departments are requested and authorized to record the additional expenses incurred in the past and (those that will be in the) future as the result of COVID-19 impacts, and seek reimbursement to the extent provided and authorized by state and federal laws.”

Mayor Leonard Riley said that local small businesses should be able to receive disaster assistance loans from the federal Small Business Administration (SBA). He added that this will soon be addressed in a conference call once a state of emergency is declared for Chambers County.

The mayor added that testing for COVID-19 is being done at EAMC-Lanier Hospital but that anyone who would like to be tested must have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, dry cough, shortness of breath). Anyone in the local area with such symptom

s is asked to call (334) 528-SICK. If the person talked to believes testing needs to be done, they will tell you when to report to a drive-through testing site.