Bourbon County has confirmed COVID-19 case

Sunday, March 22, 2020 ~ Updated 9:01 PM

Bourbon County Health Department officials announced Sunday Bourbon County has its first confirmed case of COVID-19.

According to one county official, the individual who has tested positive is a 74-year-old male living within Bourbon County. The official was unsure what town the individual uses as a physical address.

In response to this, Bourbon County Commissioners held an emergency meeting Sunday evening via conference call, which is allowed by Kansas Open Meetings Act and recommended by the Kansas Attorney General. Additionally, County Counselor Justin Meeks said the three commissioners and one individual who normally would be in attendance are in the high-risk category for COVID-19.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Resolution and also have, by proxy, Bourbon County Emergency Manager William Wallis to sign their names.

The resolution is the first step taken before the entire county is placed on quarantine, Meeks said. The resolution is also needed in order for the county to receive emergency funding.

The county is not on lock down at this time. That decision will be made by Becky Johnson, regional public health director, Meeks told the Tribune Sunday evening.

Commissioners already had a meeting scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday to discuss whether the courthouse will reopen.

Sunday night, commissioners voted to amend the meeting to include a 30-minute executive session between 9:45 and 10 a.m. Monday to discuss an identifiable non-elected personnel with Wallis, Information Technology Coordinator Shane Walker and Meeks present.

During the open session, Meeks said there would be discussion on how to quarantine courthouse employees and also continue operations in the coming “weeks and months.”

Meeks said even though the meeting will be a public meeting, no members of the public will be allowed. Instead, the public is encouraged to watch the meeting on the county’s Facebook page, Bourbon County, Kansas.

The following is the declaration read by Wallis:

COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Resolution

Whereas on March 22, 2020, the board of county commissioners of Bourbon County, Kansas declared there was a state of local public health emergency in Bourbon County, Kansas, resulting in potential or occurring pandemic known as COVID-19 in Bourbon County, Kansas.

And whereas such conditions endanger the public health, safety and welfare of persons within the borders of Bourbon County, Kansas.

Now therefore be it resolved by the board of county commissioners of Bourbon County, Kansas, that the state of local public health emergency in Bourbon County, Kansas, declared on the 22nd day of March, 2020 shall continue and remain in effect until 60 days unless terminated earlier.

That the response and recovery aspects of all local disaster plans which are applicable to Bourbon County, Kansas, and shall initiate the rendering of aid and assistance thereunder, that any rights or powers lawfully exercised for any actions taken pursuant to local disaster emergency plans shall continue and have full force and affect as authorized by law for 60 days unless modified or terminated in the manner prescribed by law.

Resolved by the Board of County Commissioners of Bourbon County, Kansas, this 22nd day of March, 2020.