Houghton, Keweenaw counties declare state of emergency

HOUGHTON — Houghton and Keweenaw counties declared a state of emergency Wednesday night in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The action allows each county to request assistance from the state, and potentially allows them to receive disaster assistance if it becomes available. It also emphasizes Houghton and Keweenaw counties are taking the ongoing incident seriously, the Houghton and Keweenaw County Office of Emergency Measures said in a release.

Houghton County Board Chairman Albert Koskela authorized the emergency declaration. The county and its subentities are having trouble getting personal protective equipment for responders, law enforcement and others who may have to work with members of the public who may have the coronavirus, he said in the declaration.

He also cited the economic fallout from the closure of businesses, schools, universities and other facilities, which “will continue to have a significant impact to the local economy and the citizens of Houghton County for years to come.”

The emergency declaration will expire in seven days unless reauthorized by the county board.

As of Thursday afternoon, at least 18 other Michigan counties had declared a state of emergency.

Updates from the Office of Emergency Measures can be found online on the Emergency Measures Facebook page at facebook.com/HoKeOEM.

The counties are in contact with the Western U.P. Health Department to assist as needed. Both counties emphasize to residents to follow the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and executive orders of the governor.

Press releases are available directly from the state at www.michigan.gov/coronavirus. Information from the CDC is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus.