The Berrien County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday to extend the local state of emergency until the end of the month.
The Berrien County Board of Commissioners Chairman, Mac Elliott, signed an order extending the Local State of Emergency in Berrien County until April 30, 2020, after the Board of County Commissioners authorized the Chief Executive Officer to renew and extend the original Local State of Emergency that was originally signed on March 26th. That order was extended for the coordinated response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic that is causing significant respiratory illness in Berrien County. To date, there are now 52 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the community, with one (1) of those cases having resulted in a fatality.
Elliott says, “The action allows the Berrien County Emergency Operation Center to continue to operate and support the efforts of the Berrien County Health Department and Spectrum Health Lakeland and to continue to provide vital resources already in place to deal with this pandemic.” The local State of Emergency is extended to provide the funding and resources at the county level. That does not change or effect any of the protective measures that are already in place set forth in Governor Whitmer’s current Executive Orders.
Berrien County officials continue to stress the importance of heeding current Executive Orders in place throughout the state of Michigan, including the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order 2020-21.
To help control the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon issued an Emergency Order on April 2nd setting a civil penalty of up to $1,000 and a process for referral to licensing agencies for violations of Executive Orders. Criminal penalties for violation will remain an option for prosecutors. Berrien County law enforcement agencies are authorized to investigate potential violations of Executive Orders to help control the epidemic and protect the public’s health.
Residents who have questions or concerns regarding the Executive Orders are encouraged to call the Berrien County COVID-19 Response Hotline at 1-800-815-5485.