POC board restricts access to public facilities

by Keith Kinnaird
News Editor | March 25, 2020 1:00 AM

NEWPORT — Pend Oreille County commissioners adopted a resolution Monday restricting public access to public facilities due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The resolution, which took effect at 11 a.m., orders all county facilities and buildings to be closed to the public.

“(T)he severity of the situation demands that the board take measures to protect the public and county employees from further transmission of COVID-19 in Pend Oreille County,” commissioners Mike Manus, Steve Kiss and Karen Skoog said in the two-page resolution.

Affected facilities include the county courthouse, with the exception of scheduled board of county commissioner meetings, the Pend Oreille County Community Development office, the sheriff’s office, the fairgrounds in Cusick, all three county road shops, Pend Oreille County Counseling Services, the county’s information technology services office, the weed department and the Washington State University’s extension office.

The county’s waste transfer stations at Deer Valley, Usk and Ione will remain open during normal operating hours.

Public access to the Hall of Justice will remain open for district and superior court proceedings at the discretion of presiding judges. Judges will make independent decisions concerning the operation of the courts and the restriction of public access.

The restrictions will remain in place until Monday, April 6. The board said the restrictions may be extended beyond that date, however.

The Northeast Tri County Health District reported on Friday that a person in Stevens County tested positive for COVID-19, making the first confirmed case in the tri-county area.

“With a growing number of cases in Washington state and the United States, the risk to the general public is increasing. It is likely that more cases will be confirmed in our area in the future. The risk to the local community is being assessed regularly and public health recommendations will be updated as needed, based on the current risk,” the health district said in a news release.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.