Days after the Chattooga County Courthouse Annex was closed due to at least two positive COVID-19 cases, more public buildings have been closed due to the coronavirus in Summerville, Georgia, and the surrounding area.
The main lobby of the Summerville Police Department will be closed to the public until further notice after a known exposure of COVID-19 was detected in the front office staff. The closure of the police department lobby is not expected to affect police activities. Officers will still be on call 24 hours a day and will be out on patrol as normal.
Three employees of the town of Trion also tested positive recently. City Hall in Trion will be closed for a week, but the Town Council will still meet Tuesday afternoon, officials said.
On Friday, the county announced the tag and tax office located in the Courthouse Annex would be closed until further notice after two employees tested positive. In a post on Facebook, Chattooga County Tax Commissioner Joy Cooper Hampton said she would be going into the office for emergency situations.
Chattooga County Commissioner Jason Winters said in a news release on Sunday that Chattooga County Probate Judge Jon Payne has tested positive for the virus.
Payne joins Chattooga County Magistrate Judge Tracy Maddux and State Court Judge Jon Dennis, two other judges who have tested positive in the past week.
Winters said the Chattooga County Courthouse and Courthouse Annex will work with "limited access until further notice."
Some offices may be closed at various times for cleaning, Winters said, and officials are asking people who plan on visiting various offices to directly call those offices for closure updates.
Chattooga County Sheriff Mark Schrader released a statement Monday afternoon saying "several detention officers are symptomatic and/or have received positive test results this week."
Schrader said no jail inmates have tested positive and the jail is scheduled for a complete sanitation similar to the ones nursing homes have been doing since the start of the virus' spread in the country.
Cases in Chattooga County have been slowly climbing over the past week. A week ago on July 20, the state health department reported 93 confirmed cases. On Sunday, the county had 144 cases, a daily average of 8.5 new cases a day. That's up from a daily average of two new cases from July 13 to July 20.
The recent closures follow the closure of the Summerville City Hall for a week after a volunteer firefighter tested positive.
They also come the same week Chattooga County Schools plans to reopen schools. Teachers report for school on Tuesday, and students are expected to be back in the classroom on Thursday.
Contact Patrick Filbin at pfilbin@ timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.