Mercer County executive declares state of emergency amidst coronavirus fears

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes issued an executive order Thursday evening declaring a countywide state of emergency to help coordinate the local response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The order authorizes county agencies to take appropriate action to assist municipal governments in containing, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from this COVID-19 outbreak, and it follows Gov. Phil Murphy’s direction in recommending cancellation of all scheduled public gatherings of more than 250 people, including concerts, parades and events.

“We understand that our residents are concerned about this rapidly evolving situation, and we’re determined to take whatever steps are necessary to minimize the risks for the people of Mercer County,” Hughes said.

The County is following infectious disease guidelines and protocols provided by the Centers for Disease Control. The executive order also enables the county and its municipalities to seek federal reimbursement for extraordinary measures.

Hughes said that while the issuance of the executive order is a necessary step, the CDC reports that for the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low, and there is no cause for alarm.

Residents should continue to take everyday preventive actions to keep themselves healthy.