Counties are on the front lines protecting our communities from the coronavirus and other illnesses that have the potential to become a pandemic. Counties support over 900 hospitals and operate over 1,900 public health departments, which are the ground troops in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
Local health departments are working to protect public health by communicating with transportation officials, educating health care providers and communicating to the public best practices to reduce the spread of infectious diseases. Local public health systems need sustained, predictable and increased federal funding to support their work.
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The COVID-19 outbreak is demanding swift responses from local leaders. When permitted by state statute, a county may declare a state of emergency to increase flexibility and free up additional resources. This action can decrease government emergency response time and address the health and well-being of residents. Alongside the federal government and states, counties are declaring states of emergency in their jurisdictions to improve their ability to serve residents quickly. Click the map above to access county and state emergency declarations.
This guide is a framework for actions which local and state health departments can recommend in their community to both prepare for and mitigate community transmission of COVID-19 in the United States.
Click here to access an interactive map listing county and state emergency declarations along with the corresponding documents.
- Bergen County (N.J.) has provided detailed information to its residents on the coronavirus and how to contain its spread. One town within the county (Teaneck) has asked residents to self-quarantine.
- Jackson County (Mo.) added COVID-19 as a target for its “Disease and Outbreaks” program and is encouraging residents to prepare an emergency kit with an online video and checklist.
- San Luis Obispo County (Calif.) officials are sharing an updated map on COVID-19 infections. They have also restricted jail visits to medical care and essential personnel only, though they allow virtual visits.
- Florida Association of Counties: COVID-19 County Response Dashboard
Counties operate over 1,900 public health departments. Click here to view the map in County Explorer.
- King County (Wash.) is currently limiting all large gatherings of more than 50 people. Many other counties are implementing similar restrictions (though with varying limits for attendees), including: San Diego County (Calif.), Dane County (Wis.), St. Louis County (Mo.), New York City (N.Y.), Santa Clara County (Calif.) and Sangamon County (Ill.).
- Milwaukee County (Wis.) developed a “Public Health Emergency Supplemental Paid Leave Bank” of 120 hours for full-time employees that cannot perform their job duties remotely, in case they are unable to come in to work due to the virus. All other employees will telework.
- Arlington County (Va.) suspended nearly all nonessential county services, as did Loudoun County (Va.), while still remaining committed to providing services to vulnerable residents, such as free meals to students and child/adult protective services.
- Members of the NACo Tech Xchange – county CIOs, IT Directors, CISOs and other IT leadership – discussed technology efforts to support mitigation and response efforts.
Click here to view the map in County Explorer.
- Eagle County (Colo.) is asking residents to fill out an online form if they believe they are experiencing symptoms, since they do not have the testing capacity. This allows them to track data in real time, and to target their COVID-19 testing.
- Many counties are starting up drive-thru testing sites to help expedite the COVID-19 testing process, including: Toledo-Lucas County (Ohio), Westchester County (N.Y.)
Jails and Justice
- Orange County (Calif.) has suspended jail visits and is asking inmates to give attorneys to appear in court without them, among other changes, such as asking residents to stay home when not necessary (without ordering them to do so), moving meetings online, closing schools (while still providing free and reduced meals) and closing traffic and civil courts.
- Bexar County (Texas) has suspended arrests for minor offenses so as not to crowd the jail system. The county has also declared there will be no juries for 30 days.
- Alameda County (Calif.) is releasing 300 people from its county jails to reduce the jail population and spread of COVID-19 throughout the jail system. Only keeping violent offenders.
- Ascension Parish (La.) is taking steps to reduce the jail population. Currently, the DA and judges are working to release some non-violent offenders on a case-by-case basis.
- Los Angeles County (Calif.) is reducing arrests and releasing inmates early to stem coronavirus outbreak
- In Cuyahoga County (Ohio), the common pleas court held a special session for hearings aimed at reducing the number of inmates in the County Jail.
Click here to view the map in County Explorer.
- A number of counties have decided to postpone evictions and foreclosures until after the outbreak subsides. Among them are Alameda County (Calif.), Hudson County (N.J.), Miami-Dade County (Fla.), Montgomery County (Md.), Multnomah County (Ore.), Orange County (Fla.), Miami-Dade County (Fla.), Orange County (Fla.), San Francisco City & County (Calif.), Montgomery County (Md.), and Travis County (Texas) and others.
- Sacramento County (Calif.) is partnering with hotels and motels to house residents who are homeless during the outbreak.
Children and Families
- Henderson County (N.C.) has made grab-and-go pickup meals will be available at no cost to children ages 2-18 at 12 school sites. Meals On the Bus has also begun delivering meals..
- Dona Ana County (N.M.) has mandated a fourteen day self-quarantine for all employees that travel outside the state of New Mexico. They have also provided more flexibility for employees to telework or stay home if sick or needing to care for children.
- Hamilton County (Ind.) is giving all employees up to two weeks additional paid leave for COVID impacts, including having symptoms or a positive test, childcare, recent travel to a foreign country, or elevated health risk.
Find COVID-19 free software options and security tools.
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NACo released an analysis of federal proposals and legislation, including The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201).
- NACo Calls on Congress to Make Counties Eligible for Stabilization Fund in COVID-19 Package
- NACo Statement on Passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- NACo letter to Congressional leadership on continued Coronavius response (March 17)
- NACo Letter to Congressional Leadership on Coronavirus Pandemic (March 13)
- Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (H.R. 6074)
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201)
White House and Federal Agency Efforts
- President’s Coronavirus Task Force
- The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread
- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Azar Declares Public Health Emergency for the United States.
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Disease Risks and Homelessness
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Preventing & Managing the Spread of Infectious Disease for People Experiencing Homelessness
- FEMA: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Eligible Emergency Protective Measures
- FEMA: Procurement Under Grants Conducted Under Exigent or Emergency Circumstances
- FEMA: Public Assistance: Non-Congregate Sheltering Delegation of Authority
- FEMA: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Public Assistance Simplified Application
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During this critical time, NACo is focused on disseminating useful information, facilitating the exchange of effective strategies and highlighting best practices to ensure that we can help counties protect the health of their residents.
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