Carson City declares State of Emergency due to coronavirus |

Carson City declares State of Emergency due to coronavirus

Aerial View of Carson City, Nevada looking north.
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The Carson City Board of Supervisors declared a State of Emergency Thursday in order to deal with the coronavirus.

“There will probably come a time when we need to act quickly and it’s important for disaster relief and getting relief from the feds,” said Mayor Bob Crowell.

The declaration gives the city manager working in concert with the sheriff the authority to do a number of things, including impose a curfew or temporarily change codes and ordinances, said District Attorney Jason Woodbury.

“All powers are discretionary and do not have to be exercised,” said Woodbury.

The declaration is for two weeks and automatically renews each week for another week until the board or the governor ends it.

Supervisor Stacey Giomi, a former Carson City fire chief, said a state of emergency had been declared during the Waterfall Fire and several other times for flooding and snowstorms during his tenure.

“It says we need more resources to deal with this emergency,” said Giomi. “It’s not draconian.”

Fire Chief Sean Slamon said the city’s emergency operations center (EOC) has transitioned to a joint operation that includes personnel from Carson City and Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties.

He said 911 dispatchers are now asking questions pertaining to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, if the call warrants it and then sending responders out equipped with personal protective equipment — gowns, masks, and eye protection known as PPEs — to respond to those calls.

Jeanne Freeman with the EOC said a shipment of PPEs requested had arrived from the strategic national stockpile, but the State of Nevada had not received its entire request.

Freeman also said as more test kits for the virus become available, some medical groups will participate in testing while others said they do not want to take part due to a lack of PPEs.

Jim Freed, from Carson Tahoe Health, said the hospital is taking steps to conserve PPEs including limiting visits to intensive care unit patients as they await more supplies.

“The good news is most of the tests (for coronavirus) are coming back negative, we have not seen a huge influx, but that could change,” said Freed.

The board also voted to make some changes to city operations and to direct staff to investigate other ideas.

• There is now a hiring freeze for city personnel unless waived by the city manager to fill certain critical positions.

• Late fees and interest for non payment of water, sewer or stormwater bills are now suspended temporarily.

• Staff will look into new budget projections for revenue and return at the second meeting in April with possible scenarios. The current projection for the next fiscal year’s budget calls for 2.5 percent increase in revenues and staff will look at scenarios for a drop in revenue as much as 7.5 percent.

• City staff who can work at home are now working at home and non-essential hourly workers have been suspended, but some may be reassigned to essential positions, said Nancy Paulson, city manager.

• Staff is also going to look into conducting board meetings via teleconference or phone. A public room for the public to comment would still be set up as it is required by Nevada law.

• Staff is also looking at ways to provide information for the public, both online at the city’s web site and social media sites as well as possibly on message boards in public locations such as the library or outside City Hall.

The mayor thanked everyone for all the work they have put in and asked the community to stay in touch with neighbors and family.

“I think our community is well positioned,” said Crowell. “But these are not easy times and it’s not going to get any easier.”