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County Extends Local State of Emergency
The Calhoun County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to extend the countywide local state of emergency originally declared on March 18 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This vote will allow Chairman Steve Frisbie to sign and submit the declaration, effective immediately and until rescinded by the Board, under Michigan's Emergency Management Act.
Calhoun County and other local governments within the county have not needed to previously extend our local emergency declarations while there existed a Statewide Emergency Declaration, no longer in place since the Supreme Court struck down Governor Whitmer's emergency powers used to make the declaration this past Spring.
Renewing the local state of emergency will help ensure all local governments and school districts within Calhoun County remain eligible for various state and federal COVID-19 funding sources. This declaration will also allow for continued remote public meetings if needed past January 1, 2021, when the Open Meetings Act, as amended this week, requires a statewide or local state of emergency in order for such virtual meetings to qualify as valid public meetings.

COVID-19 case surge explained in more detail
This week the County's Public Health Department provided a more detailed analysis of the surge in COVID-19 cases in Calhoun County over the past three weeks. They determined that 12.2% of cases are associated with a known cluster or outbreak, nearly 20% of cases are from a household contact, and 37% have an unknown source of infection, which is indicative of community spread. Among symptomatic cases in Calhoun, the top five symptoms experienced are cough, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, and fever. These symptoms can be mistaken for fall allergies or cold symptoms, and Public Health Officer encourages anyone feeling these things get tested immediately.
On Wednesday, Oct. 14, the Calhoun County Joint Information Center Briefing was live-streamed to Facebook, covering this information and more about the latest surge. In addition to invaluable updates from Health Director Eric Pessell and Medical Director Dr. William Nettleton, the briefing included updates from Sheriff Steve Hinkley, information about the latest health and executive orders, updates on the County's Court operations and specifically plans to restart jury trials, and an update about the homeless shelter in Battle Creek. Watch the briefing on the City of Battle Creek's Facebook page.
Countywide leadership team consisting of our Chief Judge and court administrators, all elected officials and department heads, continues to meet weekly to review the County's COVID-19 internal response efforts and discuss updates on how our employees and the public are doing during this time of continued limited operations and remote work. We met last on Oct.15 and discussed needed updates to our COVID-19 response and preparedness plan and related policies to match the latest orders by MDHHS and MIOSHA, and also updates to our employee self-screening process to match the latest CDC guidance on symptoms that should be focused on.

Here is what else is going on in Calhoun County:
On Oct. 5, the County's HR/Labor Relations Director Kim Archambault and I convened a Union Leadership Roundtable Meeting, the first since the County reduced operations in March. This meeting included updates on COVID-19 in the county and the Joint Operations Center, the 2021 employee benefits renewal and the 2021 budget process. Related, at tonight's Board of Commissioners meeting, Commissioners approved a bargaining agreement with nonsupervisory employees within the Road Department, represented by the local Teamsters union, for the next 12 months.
The Summit Pointe Board of Directors met on Oct. 6, on which I serve as Treasurer with Commissioner Kathy-Sue Vette who serves as Chair. At this meeting, we heard an educational presentation about assisted outpatient treatment, and on behalf of the Audit/Finance Committee, I provided information about the July 2020 financial statements and a policy regarding procurement. We also approved amendments to the collective bargaining agreement with the IUOE and amendments to the retirement savings plan.
On Oct. 9, the Calhoun County Safety Information Alliance Board met, currently chaired by Battle Creek City Police Chief Jim Blocker. The Board includes me as the County's representatives, along with two representatives from Calhoun County's Sheriff Office. Sheriff Steve Hinkley attended the meeting and will be recommended in November for appointment by the County Board of Commissioners. We set 2021 partner agency annual dues, which help pay for the law enforcement Records Management System (RMS) software that is shared with law enforcement agencies at the City of Battle Creek, Emmett Township, the City of Marshall and Kellogg Community College..
The Calhoun County Visitors Bureau (CVB) Board welcomed a new member at its meeting on Oct. 13, Joe Sobieralski from Battle Creek Unlimited. At this meeting we received an update on the Battle Creek Hotel Ordinance, which was recently approved by the Battle Creek City Commission, and discussed the CCVB's marketing and sales activity.

Read the entire Administrator's Update