Riley County Issues Emergency Declaration

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(Manhattan, Kansas- March 18, 2020) As of this time, there have been no confirmed cases of the Coronavirus commonly known as COVID-19 in Riley County. Per her authority through Kansas State Statute 65-202 the Local Health Officer, Julie Gibbs, recommended the Board of Health order Riley County’s buildings closed to public access. The Board of County Commissioners, sitting as the Board of Health, agreed unanimously with the recommendation made by the Local Health Officer. The Board of County Commissioners also issued a 7- day Local Disaster Emergency Declaration. These decisions were made in a special meeting of the BOCC late this afternoon. The commission is expected to extend its Local Disaster Emergency Declaration to at least 14 days next week. This Local Disaster Emergency Declaration follows suit with declarations of other county governments from throughout the state. This declaration allows for the potential use of State or Federal funds should they become available.

The closure order mandates that all Riley County departments, except those deemed essential, be closed to the public beginning at 8:00 a.m. on March 19, 2020 for a period of at least 14 days.

There will be more information regarding how to contact various departments to assist you with your needs on Thursday, March 19, 2020 and Friday, March 20, 2020.

“The safety and welfare of our residents, young and old, healthy or vulnerable, is our top priority” Gibbs said. “Limiting the amount of people in one place is a proven step that will reduce the spread of this potentially deadly virus. We appreciate and applaud the proactive measures that many of our residents, churches, institutions of higher education and local businesses have taken to help reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. As a community, we must do more”.

The Riley County Health Department will continue to work with the local medical community; with the Director of Emergency Medical Services, David Adams; Riley County Emergency Management; and the elected leaders of Riley County.

Protecting the health of our local community will always be our top priority and the next few weeks and months will be crucial to limit the spread of this virus. We ask that we all help each other. Please check on your neighbors, especially the elderly and the most vulnerable. Please only purchase the supplies that you need, so that others can be equally prepared.

Julie Gibbs, Local Health Officer

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.