SUNBURY — As coronavirus tightens its grip on Pennsylvania, the Northumberland County Board of Commissioners on Thursday signed a Declaration of Disaster Emergency.
As of noon Thursday, there were no known cases of coronavirus in the county.
Commissioner Sam Schiccatano said by declaring the disaster the county would be eligible for any federal or state “funding that might come down the road because of this emergency.”
The declaration directs the county’s emergency management coordinator to “coordinate the activities of the emergency response, to take all appropriate action needed to alleviate the effects of the disaster, to aid in the restoration of essential public services, and to take any other emergency response action deemed necessary.”
The document also calls for the creation of the Northumberland County Task Force to advise the county on the coronavirus. The task force is to be comprised of the commissioners, Emergency Management Agency, Human Services Department, Sheriff’s Office, coroner and county solicitor.
“This COVID-19 Task Force shall meet as needed in response to the coronavirus without the need to formally advertise times and meetings” due to divergent circumstances in the county, the declaration states.
After releasing the declaration, the commissioners issued a news release hlighting the status of various county buildings and agencies, which will remain in effect until April 14.
“County employees will be working their normally scheduled hours,” the release stated.
Although employees are working, the county announced the following building closures:
• The courthouse is not open, but will be accepting business in containers that will be on site.
• The administration building will be closed to the public, with business items able to be dropped off with the security officer in the lobby.
• The Northumberland County Career and Arts Center in Shamokin is closed.
• The human services complex is closed to the public, with security available to address necessary business.
“Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we strive to reduce the detrimental effects of COVID-19 on the residents of the county,” the release stated.
The Declaration of Disaster Emergency was signed a day after President Judge Charles Saylor signed a Judicial Emergency.
That emergency stated that only civil and criminal proceedings which directly impact the health, safety, security, welfare or incarceration of individuals shall be held.
The following items were noted as to be held as normal: Protection from Abuse (PFA) hearings, bail postings, preliminary arguments, bench warrant hearings, civil injunction proceedings, mental health proceedings and guardianships.
The judicial document notes that all jury trials are postponed, pending further court order.
It directed the following filings to be postponed or rescheduled: Civil arbitration hearings, summary appeal hearings, driver’s license appeal hearings, tax appeal hearings, motor vehicle title proceedings, quite title proceedings, adoption proceedings and specialty court proceedings.