Orange County Government and The Town of Carrboro and Chapel Hill declared a state of emergency on Friday in response to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

Chair of the Board of the County Commissioners Penny Rich initially made the declaration, which will allow public safety personnel to better respond to any identified cases that may surface in the county.

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle issued her own proclamation declaring a state of emergency in the Town of Carrboro following Orange County’s declaration earlier in the day.

Mayor Lavelle said, in issuing the proclamation, “These are unprecedented times. Under the law, our responsibility as elected officials is the health, safety, and welfare of all of our residents.”

Later Friday afternoon, the Town of Chapel Hill also declared a state of emergency for the town. A state of emergency allows emergency processes and funding to be put in place to allow immediate response to emergency situations.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for the state earlier in the week for similar reasons.