FERGUS FALLS -- County commissioners, meeting with county department heads Tuesday, March 24, said that county government is prepared with a plan of action to meet challenges that might come its way in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

“We compliment county administration and staff who are performing well under some very difficult circumstances,” said County Board Chairman Lee Rogness of Fergus Falls. “I’m confident we will successfully meet any challenges related to COVID-19.”

As of March 24, no county resident had tested positive for the coronavirus.

County Public Health Director Jody Lien and County Emergency Manager Patrick Waletzko related to county board members their efforts to join forces with combined action plans.

“We continue to tell county residents to stay home unless they have essential things to do,” Lien said.

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Both Lien and Waletzko said their departments keep in direct communications with towns and townships throughout Otter Tail County.

County board members and department heads also addressed the financial challenges affecting county residents in light of COVID-19.

To that end, County Land and Resource Director Chris LeClair received county board support to allow residents to delay septic system replacements until the year 2021.

The only exception would be imminent threats to the environment in a particular area. LeClair added that state loans will be available to county residents for septic system replacements next year. Payback would take place over a 10-year period when residents pay their county property taxes.

The county board again pledged its support to health care providers and first responders. They addressed the need for adequate protective equipment for doctors and nurses, and others, in Otter Tail County.

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