The Pike County courthouse opens to the public today, but ironically the entire road crew is off work while being tested for coronavirus, officials said Tuesday.

A mechanic tested positive for the virus last week and was hospitalized over the weekend, said county administrator Tami Dangerfield. Since the mechanics’ office is located in the central repair building, all 35 road department employees are being tested and will remain off work pending results.

“It finally got to us,” said road superintendent Wendell Alexander. “We’ve been lucky.”

The affected employee did not have to go on a ventilator and was expected to go home by today. He will spend 14 days under quarantine, Alexander said.

The rest of the crew is expected to return to work Monday. If any test positive for the coronavirus, they will have to self-quarantine for two weeks.

The courthouse opened to the public today but with some restrictions. The court annex had reopened earlier.

Only the rear door to the courthouse will be open, and a bailiff will check the temperature of anyone entering. Plexiglas has been installed at counters throughout the courthouse and annex.

At a board of supervisors meeting Tuesday, citizen Betty Pittman asked for an update on the virus and the county’s response.

Civil defense director Richard Coghlan said Pike County had reported 347 cases as of Sunday but most have recovered. That number rose to 356 after Monday’s new cases were reported Tuesday morning.

Pittman noted some areas require citizens to wear face masks in public.

Board president Sam Hall said face masks are a good idea but “we can’t demand or require it but we asked people to wear masks.”  

Coghlan has been supplying supervisors with masks, which they have been distributing to churches and individuals.

“This is real,” Pittman responded. “We are trying to encourage and tell people about wearing masks and staying in.”

Supervisor Jake Gazzo said the courthouse is being cleaned regularly, and employees who handle money are provided with gloves.

“We’re not just sitting back,” he said,

Dangerfield said a grant enabled the county to hire four people through the summer to assist in disinfecting the courthouse, which is cleaned in the morning and afternoon.

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