Commissioners end State of Emergency; community response praised

BATAVIA, OH – The Board of County Commissioners today voted to end a State of Emergency that had been declared on March 18, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The action was taken in concert with State of Ohio, which ended its State of Emergency on June 18.

The emergency declaration, along with a previous resolution delegating disaster functions in event of an absence of a quorum of the board, spelled out succession of leadership and the authority of the county administrator in an emergency. It also exempted from the competitive bidding process purchases related to the emergency that were greater than $50,000 but less than $100,000, so long as no fewer than three informal estimates were obtained. The declaration also allowed the county to obtain state and federal funds.

Pam Haverkos, director of the Clermont County Emergency Management Agency, thanked the commissioners for their support throughout the pandemic.

“Clermont County has definitely proved that we are a really resilient community – and that’s a result of the relationships we have built, the collaborations amongst our public safety partners, public health department, healthcare providers, local government agencies, social service agencies, schools, non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations and residents,” Haverkos said.

“Response and recovery to a pandemic truly requires the ingenuity of the whole community,” she added.

Haverkos thanked Health Commissioner Julianne Nesbit and Clermont County Public Health for their tireless work, often done behind the scenes.

“They are the backbone of our response and recovery operations,” Haverkos said.

Clermont County held its first preparedness meeting on Jan. 31, 2020. The county officially opened its emergency operations center on March 16, 2020. Initially, the emergency operations team met daily and it gradually transitioned into weekly COVID Defense Team meetings.

In January, an emergency hotline number (732-8500) was activated to facilitate access to vaccines. The number has received almost 17,000 calls. It remains in service.

Public Health has administered 36,632 vaccinations. Combined with vaccinations from other providers, about 45 percent of the county’s residents have received at least one dose and 41 have completed their vaccines.

Vaccinations continue for those ages 12 and older.

“We can’t thank your staff enough and the whole health department for coordination from the very beginning all of the way through – daily updates and keeping everyone posted, most of all taking care of the citizens of Clermont County,” said Claire Corcoran, President, Board of County Commissioners. “What a tremendous, tremendous job all of you did.”

“Every communication meeting there for a while seemed like there was always new information, a new change of direction,” Commissioner David Painter said. “It really was a changing environment where you had to adapt. We realize how stressful that was.”

Commissioner Bonnie Batchler added: “You and your staff are always there in every emergency in Clermont County. From my heart, I thank you for what you have always done.”