Courthouse employees will be facing special restrictions and guidelines beginning Monday in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak in Leflore County.
In a special called meeting on Friday morning, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve strict guidelines for employees who have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 or have been tested for the virus to stay home for a length of time specified by Fred Randle, the emergency management director, or a physician.
Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.
The board also approved restrictions on the courthouse. Starting Monday, only the north entrance of the building will be open to anyone, including employees. Additionally, only five people will be allowed in the building at a time. As people come out, more can go in.
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They will also have to state their business for visiting, and the board members urged that it be for serious matters only.
The county is also purchasing 20 thermometers to be distributed throughout its offices to test people when they come in. If they are running a fever, they will not be allowed in the building. A security officer will be present with a mask, hand sanitizer and anything else that’s needed to monitor who enters the courthouse.
A specific cut-off temperature was not decided, except for “what a physician recommends,” District 3 Supervisor Anjuan Brown suggested.
Also beginning Monday, Delta Electric will close all of its office locations to the public, according to David O’Bryan, general manager. He did not specify for how long.
District 1 Supervisor Sam Abraham requested the special called meeting over his concerns with the outbreak. He chose to sit in the audience rather than with the other board members.
“I’m just trying to get some distance between us,” he said.
Brown was also taking precautions — though he was sitting with the other board members — by wiping down his area with an antibacterial wipe.
Chancery Clerk Johnny Gary applied hand sanitizer as well.
The board agreed that Randle would not have to route decisions he makes during the pandemic through the supervisors.
Robert Collins, president of the board, stated that employees would not be sent home without pay.
District 2 Supervisor Reginald Moore suggested strongly encouraging citizens of the county to stay home and “flatten the curve.”
Abraham agreed and urged citizens to not go out unless they “absolutely have to.”
Moore also made a motion to suspend all activities at the Leflore County Civic Center until further notice, which the board approved.
When questioned about when activities at the Civic Center may resume, Collins said that its staff will most likely operate in tandem with school closures and continue to monitor the situation on a week-to-week basis.
In other business, the board went into executive session over an “employee matter” for 20 minutes, but Collins reported that no action was taken.
“We’re trying to put measures in that will protect not only our employees but the citizens,” Abraham said.
As of Friday evening, the exact number of coronavirus cases in Leflore County was unknown — either eight or nine.
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