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Laurel mayor declares state of emergency

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Posted at 7:04 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 21:04:33-04

Laurel Mayor Tom Nelson has declared a state of emergency due to the city's proximity to Billings amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In a Monday letter, Nelson wrote that the declaration will allow the city access to state and federal resources if needed to fight the outbreak of the disease, known as COVID-19.

"Given the shortages of vital medical supplies, costs are higher than ever. These increased costs could have potentially catastrophic effects on the departmental budgets. State and Federal Resources will help alleviate or eliminate these effects entirely," Nelson wrote.

One case of coronavirus has been reported in Yellowstone County, although not in Laurel, Nelson said. Six cases have been reported in Montana, and state officials are completing testing of another 109 people Monday, according to Gov. Steve Bullock.

Bullock has declared a state of emergency for Montana, and President Trump has declared a national state of emergency because of the outbreak.

Nelson said he's met with all department heads and drafted plans to prevent the spread of the disease. The city will limit seating at public meetings to maintain a distance of six feet, following the guidelines of social distancing, according to the letter.

"In closing, I would like to ask that all the citizens of Laurel take this Pandemic seriously and do everything in their power to prevent its spread. Our elderly and immunocompromised friends and loved ones are depending on us. Together we will get through this," Nelson wrote.

Read the full letter here.