Malheur County Courthouse

VALE — The Malheur County Court joined other governmental agencies in issuing a declaration of emergency to address the onset of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, and outlining how the county will respond when it comes.

“We need to be as prepared as possible to help keep our community safe,” said Judge Dan Joyce in a statement. “This emergency declaration will help us to best serve our residents. We appreciate the public working with us to protect public health and minimize the spread of COVID-19.”

The declaration allows the county to seek state and federal assistance in dealing with the virus; to seek reimbursement for local funds spent on virus response; to pursue smoother process for purchasing goods and services; and to follow plans and procedures to protect public health.

According to the release, the county’s emergency operations center has partially been activated to assist the Malheur County Health Department with multi-agency coordination, public information and community outreach. The operations center provides a venue for mobilizing resources and planning among departments.

“The Emergency Declaration and EOC will help us support county staff, first responders and health-care partners, so we can quickly respond and utilize all available resources to best protect the health of our community,” said Malheur County Emergency Manager Rich Harriman in a statement.

County employees will remain on the job but members of the public who have business with the county do it as much as possible online by phone or by mail. Accommodations can be made for business that needs to be handled in person, but people should call the respective office first.

Updated information can be found on the county website at

“The Malheur County Court is committed to making every effort to stop and prevent the spread of the virus to our citizens,” said Commissioner Don Hodge in a statement. “We encourage everyone to limit their contact in the community in the days ahead and conduct as much business as possible online, by phone or through the mail.

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