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Genesee County declares public health emergency

Oct 1, 2015

Genesee County Health director Mark Valacak (center) speaks at the news conference announcing the public health emergency declaration
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Recent studies have shown blood lead levels in Flint children have doubled, even tripled in some parts of town, since the city started using the Flint River as its drinking water source. 

So today Genesee County officials declared a public health emergency.

“We often use the phrase that children are our most valuable resource … then we got to begin acting like they are,” says County Commissioner Brenda Clack. 

County commission chairman Jaime Curtis says lead levels in the city of Flint’s water are threatening people’s lives.

“We’ll take water. We’ll take filters. We’ll take money. We’ll take anything to keep our people safe,” Curtis said at a news conference. 

The county hopes to start distributing thousands of water filters tomorrow.

The city of Flint issued a lead advisory last week. 

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling issued a statement urging people in Flint to follow the guidelines in the county’s public health declaration.

"I encourage the public to follow the guidance in the declaration to use a certified filter, have water testing done, and flush cold water for five minutes before drinking,” says Walling.

Tomorrow, a "comprehensive" plan will be announced for dealing with Flint’s water crisis.