A Leflore County Courthouse employee has tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the Board of Supervisors to shut down the government building for the rest of the week.

The official test results did not come back until Monday morning, but the employee had been in self-quarantine since March 15, according to county officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two to 14 days of quarantine if someone has contracted the virus or has been in close contact with someone who has.

The board agreed to send the rest of the employees home for the remaining seven days to minimize risk and spread of infection. The only employee who will be in the building for the next week is the payroll clerk.  

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Robert Collins, the board’s president, was unsure whether the courthouse employee marked the ninth or 10th case of COVID-19 in Leflore County.

An emergency number for the courthouse will be posted on the door, and the supervisors will be available by phone.

Fred Randle, director of emergency management for the county, will be looking into costs to acquire iPads or webcams so the supervisors can hold meetings remotely if needed.

The courthouse will reopen next Monday, and all employees will be able to return to work. The restrictions the board approved last week will still be in place: a five-visitor limit to the building, temperatures being taken and only the north entrance being open to both employees and citizens.

The supervisors bumped up their regular meeting to 3 p.m. on Monday to discuss new measures responding to the coronavirus.

At the beginning of the meeting, the board voted to move all matters that weren’t coronavirus-related to the next regular meeting, which will be held April 6.

The board has also asked its attorney, Joyce Chiles, to draft a resolution similar to the one adopted Monday by the Greenwood City Council that limits most gatherings to 10 people or less and directs businesses that remain open to implement safeguards to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

District 1 Supervisor Sam Abraham and Chancery Clerk Johnny Gary were absent from the meeting. However, Abraham was on speakerphone with the board and responded to all motions.

Reginald Moore, the board’s vice president, sat away from his usual neighbor, District 3 Supervisor Anjuan Brown, in order to comply with social distancing. The board was also adamant about following the CDC’s recommendation to limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer. When an additional person entered the room, one person would be asked to stand outside until the number of people was within the limit.

“Wash your hands; if you don’t have to be out, don’t go out; keep your distance, and if you are sick and you have been tested positive for this COVID-19, stay inside, do not come out, and quarantine like you’re supposed to,” Randle urged the public.

•Contact Kerrigan Herret at 581-7233 or kherret@gwcommonwealth.com.

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