Wicomico Extends Emergency Declaration By Two Weeks

SALISBURY – Officials in Wicomico County this week agreed to extend an emergency declaration by two weeks.

On Monday, the Wicomico County Council held a special meeting by teleconference to extend a declaration of emergency in Wicomico County until April 8.

Last week, County Executive Bob Culver issued a declaration of emergency for Wicomico County amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration provides additional powers and resources to county departments to deal with the outbreak.

The emergency declaration took effect on March 17, and remained in effect through March 24.

The day before the declaration was set to expire, however, the county council voted 6-0, with Councilman Bill McCain absent, to extend the declaration of emergency.

The council’s resolution to extend the emergency declaration until May 6 was amended to April 8.

“In light of what is being done at the national level and at the state level, there is usually a two-week window,” Councilman John Cannon said. “It would be more prudent on our part to amend this to April 8, so we can reevaluate it at our next meeting, which is on April 7.”

The council’s resolution also outlines the county executive’s efforts to consult frequently with the emergency services director and the Wicomico County health officer and to advise the county council of the public health emergency status.

“Follow the instructions you are hearing,” Councilman Joe Holloway said. “Keep to yourself as much as you can.”

As part of the declaration of emergency, all county employees – except those deemed essential – will remain on administrative leave.

Other changes to county government operations have been made to protect the public and employees and to reduce the threat of further spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The Wicomico County Health Department is the lead agency in this emergency and is supported by all county departments under the coordination of the Department of Emergency Services.

Director of Administration Wayne Strausburg said county officials continue to hold daily conference calls regarding COVID-19 and its impacts on the community.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.