Troy retains pandemic emergency declaration

| September 22, 2020 7:00 AM

Troy City Council opted last week to keep the municipality’s COVID-19 emergency declaration active.

Canceling the declaration was on the council’s Sept. 16 agenda. But Mayor Dallas Carr said councilors decided to table the cancelation until the city reaches at least phase three of the state’s reopening guidelines.

In phase three, limits on public gatherings are lifted and the situation is deemed safe for vulnerable residents to resume normal routines, under to Gov. Steve Bullock’s reopening plans.

Troy, like the rest of the state, remains in phase two of the reopening plan. In this stage, gatherings are limited to 50 people and vulnerable residents are recommended to stay home.

Carr declared the local emergency on March 31 following the death of a Bull Lake man to COVID-19. Jim Tomlin, 77, died of complications linked to the disease on March 26. He became the first individual in Lincoln County and Montana to succumb to the disease.

Carr said the measure was anticipatory, potentially making the community of just over 900 eligible for emergency aid should the global crisis worsen locally.

Carr made his emergency declaration after Lincoln County commissioners issued one in mid-March. The countywide declaration came as Bullock ordered public schools closed and just ahead of statewide regulations on everything from public gatherings to out-of-state travel aimed at curtailing the spread of the illness.

Commissioners voted unanimously to lift their declaration on June 3. The move came nearly two months after the county’s last known COVID-19 patient recovered.

Following the cancelation, however, the county officials documented a sharp rise in cases. In late June, a man tested positive for the virus becoming the eighth person in the county known to have the disease. By mid-July, the active case count had jumped to 26. As of Sept. 14, health department staff recorded 13 active cases and a total of 104 cases.

Three people have died as a result of contracting COVID-19 locally. Most people, though, recover from the virus.