Update Concerning Elkins City Hall COVID-19 Closure
Reopening Date Depends on Pending Test Results
Elkins, W. Va., July 10, 2020: Elkins City Hall remains closed today after one city hall employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus on Wednesday. Reopening could occur as soon as Monday, July 13, but it is not yet possible to announce a firm reopening date.
This closure was ordered because, according the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, it is possible to carry the virus for as long as two weeks before showing symptoms, and city officials wanted to prevent additional cases being transmitted among other city staff members while the situation was being evaluated.
After learning of the first employee’s positive test and closing the building, city officials followed W. Va. DHHR and Randolph-Elkins Health Department (REHD) guidance to identify and document all known contacts with that first employee during the window of time when transmission might have occurred. City hall maintenance staff also commenced a deep cleaning of the indicated workspaces.
On Thursday, the identified individuals were swabbed for the COVID-19 virus. As per DHHR and CDC guidelines, these employees are required to self-isolate until test results are received.
“Employees whose tests come back negative are permitted to return to work immediately under strict precautions, such as distancing, masks, gloves as needed, and frequent sanitization measures,” said Elkins City Clerk Jessica Sutton. “The original employee who tested positive and any others who may test positive will have to follow individual guidance from the health department as to when and how they can return.”
After analyzing the layout of the building, the testing efforts that are underway, and the extent and nature of city hall employees’ interaction with customers, REHD officials have approved the reopening of city hall to the public once the testing process is complete. City officials are waiting to announce a firm reopening date until test results are received. City hall could reopen as early as Monday if a sufficient number of employees test negative for the COVID-19 virus.
“Of course, if we learn about any new positive cases, we will have to reevaluate additional potential employee exposures and any risk to the public before determining next steps,” said Sutton.