Judge Joel Hale signed a disaster declaration for Rusk County Wednesday morning after a confirmed case of the first COVID-19 case in the county.

Judge Hale said, “We delayed the process so as not to create panic.”

According to the declaration this is an economic tool that opens the door for additional state and federal aid in the future.

A declaration usually lasts for sever days and also allows the county to request more aid for small business and local responders.

“Even though it’s not on our agenda Thursday we will probably meet next week to discuss this further,” said Judge Hale.

The County’s declaration contains much of the same as other counties such as the information from the World Health Organization. It describes the symptoms such as mild to severe illness and even death, how it spreads that is an imminent threat of widespread illness that requires emergency action for the protection of people.

The people of Rusk County need to stay calm and practice social distancing as recommended by the authorities. We will get through it Judge Hale emphasized.

According to the declaration the Small Business Association (SBA) has designated COVID-19 as a qualifying event for the provision of Economic Injury Disaster Loans for businesses and private non-profits in affected communities.

This plan also activates the Rusk Count Emergency Management Plan.

The County’s plan does not currently have a gathering statement stating how many people can gather in the county or county owned properties.

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