Two Warren County commissioners oppose coronavirus emergency declaration

Warren County hospital deals with COVID-19 case.

The Warren County commissioners voted 2-1 this morning not to declare an emergency in anticipation of possible problems related to the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, into the community.

Commissioners Dave Young and Tom Grossmann voted no, while insisting they were ready to provide more funding to fire and emergency management workers needing equipment when dealing with potential cases.

Commissioner Shannon Jones said the vote on a resolution sought by local emergency management and health officials was advisable and unlikely to create additional panic in the county.

During a 90-minute work session, the commissioners heard appeals from a handful of emergency management officials to declare the emergency to support a change in standard of care to eliminate the transport of residents to be tested for COVID-19 with no other medical problem.

RELATED: Montgomery County to declare emergency: What it means

The officials also said the emergency declaration would also put the county emergency response agencies in line to get more masks and other equipment needed to respond to calls.

“No one is saying this isn’t serious,” Young said. “When we declare a state of emergency, that means something.”

Young and Grossmann emphasized they want to support needed changes, once the legal support has been provided.

During the meeting, Franklin Fire Chief Jonathan Westendorf said Atrium Medical Center in Warren County dealt with a COVID-19 case last week.

“Atrium Medical Center and other Premier Health hospitals currently have no admitted patients with confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Late last week, a person came to Atrium Medical Center to be tested for COVID-19. This person returned home and went into self-quarantine. We have learned that this person did test positive for the virus. The patient is recovering at home. Staff took appropriate precautions as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention when testing this person, and therefore CDC guidelines do not recommend that the staff be isolated or quarantined,” according to a statement issued by Jennifer Burcham, site manager, PR and Community Relations, at Atrium.

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