(Posted April 15, 2020)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Joining most of the other counties in Ohio, the Madison County commissioners have declared a state of emergency in the county in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We’re not trying to cause panic. We’re not saying the county is infested with COVID,” said Commissioner Tony Xenikis. “This is just a tool for the county to use in the future if we need it.”
The Madison County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), which falls under the umbrella of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, made the recommendation to the commissioners to declare a state of emergency. Sheriff John Swaney said the declaration could make it easier for the county to receive federal funding to address the pandemic, if such funding becomes available and is needed.
“It doesn’t change anything for us right now but just prepares us for if things get worse,” Swaney said. “I hope we don’t need it, but if something happens and we need a lot of support and equipment and have to pay for it, it paves that avenue a little easier for the county.”
When the commissioners signed the declaration on April 7, 71 of Ohio’s 88 counties had already signed similar declarations, according to Deb Sims, Madison County EMA director.
“It’s not going to hurt anything to follow what other counties are doing,” Sims said.
Swaney agreed, adding that besides opening possible funding avenues, the declaration is a show of support on many levels. It means that all county agencies are on the same page when it comes to abiding by local and state emergency laws, regulations and directives in an effort to keep citizens safe.
“It also shows solidarity with others around the state,” Swaney said.
“It’s about a united front,” Sims said.
The commissioners unanimously passed the declaration.