Orofino,Idaho-Window on the Clearwater
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Emergency Declaration issued for Clearwater County due to COVID-19.

In a special meeting held telephonically Thursday morning, Clearwater County Commission Chairman Rick Winkel issued an Emergency Declaration, including an economic impact statement, due to the spread of the Novel Coronavirus in the state and region.

The meeting of county leaders, along with Carol Morley, director of Idaho Public Health-North Central District, also had participation from a local business owner and media. The declaration was made primarily to open up the process for additional resources as they may be needed in the county.

The commissioners will need to approve the declaration by resolution within 7 days for it to be good for 30 days. If there is a need, the declaration can also be extended beyond the 30 days.

The economic impact statement will open the way for businesses impacted by COVID-19 to apply for federal loans through the Small Business Administration. A local business owner that was involved in the meeting said that several thousand dollars had already been lost in the hospitality industry in the county. (ie. restaurants, motels, etc.)

Morley said that as of Thursday morning, there were no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the 10 northern counties of Idaho or in Asotin and Whitman counties in Washington. (Cases of the virus have since been confirmed in Kootenai County, but none have been confirmed in Region 2, Clearwater, Nez Perce, Latah, Lewis and Idaho counties.).

Sheriff Chris Goetz said that the jail population is stable. The latest addition was on March 10 and that inmate is showing no symptoms of the virus. With the charges against them, those now in jail are most likely to be there for some time. He said they are also housing nine inmates from Ada County that have been there for months and the best place for them is to just stay where they are.

Driver and vehicle licensing offices, as well as most of the other offices in the county remain open, except the court office. For further information about the closure of the court office, see the article from Wednesday's issue. For further information about offices in the courthouse, see this article.

The State of Idaho has approved a 90-day extension to renew driver licenses or vehicle registration. Those who have questions concerning either one of those please call the driver's license office at 208-476-4521 or vehicle license and registration office at 208-476-4912.

Sunnyside Fire Chief Rich Hull spoke briefly about the mutual aid agreements between fire districts that allow them to help when there is a need in other districts. With the dryness of foliage in the area, he is asking that people not do any debris burning at this point. He said they have already had some wildfires.

The deadline to file for the Property Tax Reduction Program (formerly known as the Circuit Breaker Program) is still April 15. Those who need assistance regarding this program, please call the Clearwater County Assessor's Office at 208-476-7042.

Clerk/Auditor/Recorder Carrie Bird is encouraging everyone to vote early for the May primary. "Vote Early Idaho. Protect yourself. Protect your neighbors." by requesting an absentee ballot.

REQUEST your ballot - the sooner the better to assist counties in managing the volume
WAIT for it to arrive (no sooner than 45 days prior to the election, likely closer to 30 days prior)
VOTE & RETURN your absentee ballot to the clerk by no later than closing of the polls on Election Day!

Residents can get the absentee request form online at: https://idahovotes.gov/vote-early-idaho/ or they can also access it via the navigation options under "Elections" from https://sos.idaho.gov or from the top rotating banner on the Secretary of State homepage as well. Those who have any questions regarding the election or early voting please call the Auditor's Office at 208-476-5615.

Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: (208) 476-0733
Fax: (208) 476-4140