City of Flint declares state of emergency to proactively respond to COVID-19

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FLINT, Michigan—The City of Flint today declared a state of emergency to ensure that it is prepared and proactive in its response to COVID-19. See a video of the announcement.

City of Flint offices remain open and city services are continuing. The state of emergency allows the city to fully execute its emergency preparedness planning and pull in all available resources. 

Mayor Sheldon Neeley signed the declaration at approximately 4:30 p.m. today (March 12, 2020) after a series of consultations with local, state and federal officials and at the urging of leaders in the local medical community. 

Mayor Neeley also announced Dr. Lawrence Reynolds, a resident of Flint, will assist the City by providing his medical expertise to help inform decisions regarding coronavirus. He will work alongside the administration as well as Ninah Sasy, the state of Michigan Chief Clean Water Public Advocate, and the entire City of Flint Office of Public Health. 

In an effort to minimize potential exposure to both residents and employees, the City also will suspend all non-essential public meetings and it is limiting the size of public meetings to 30 people or fewer. This applies only to functions of city government. 

A water shutoff moratorium has been in effect in the City of Flint for five months and will continue because of concerns over coronavirus. The administration is working to restore water service if there are any residents living in homes without running water.

“We are being proactive. We know the virus is in Michigan and we know it is spreading quickly,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “Today, we are fully activating all the tools at our disposal to ensure the city is as prepared and as proactive as possible in dealing with COVID-19.”

Although water shutoffs are not occurring, residents still are responsible for paying their bills. Mayor Neeley also is waiving all fees associated with paying city bills online to help residents avoid having to go into public places.

Dr. Reynolds also noted this crisis is continuing to develop and information will be shared on an ongoing basis. For now, all employees and residents are being reminded to follow the CDC guidelines. For more information, visit cdc.gov/covid19. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Michigan on Tuesday after two individuals, one in neighboring Oakland County and another in Wayne County, tested presumptively positive for COVID-19.

It is up to every resident in the City of Flint to prepare and use precaution for their own well-being as well as those around them. Hurley Medical Center issued the following precautions individuals can and should take:

We encourage all members of our local community to be active in your role of prevention of all contagious diseases. Precautions everyone can take include, but are not limited to:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing in between fingers and wrists.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and wrists, rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Frequently disinfect high-traffic surfaces in your home such as doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, remote controls, faucets, tablets and cell phones.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick – use a 6-foot buffer rule.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue away. Do not use your hands to cover a cough or a sneeze.

For immediate, up-to-date information on COVID-19, please visit the official website of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) at www.cdc.gov/covid19.  

For detailed information regarding the status of Covid-19 in Michigan, please visit www.michigan.gov/coronavirus.

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About the Author:

Marjory Raymer serves as the director of communications for the City of Flint.
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