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Upshur Courthouse closed through Friday

BUCKHANNON — The Upshur County Commission voted Monday to keep the Upshur County Courthouse, annex and other county owned and operated facilities closed to the public through Friday with two exceptions.

The courthouse will be open for early voting which begins Wednesday, Oct. 21 and continues through Oct. 31 at the Upshur County Courthouse. Weekday hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The second exception is the James W. Curry Library’s Virtual Learning Program which was previously excluded from closure.

Discussion during Monday’s special meeting, held by teleconference, focused on COVID-19 numbers in the county.

County administrator Carrie Wallace noted there were 78 active cases in the county but the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department noted several cases would be removed from active status Monday.

By the time a 3 p.m. release was issued from the health department later Monday, 59 cases were reported active.

“On the DHHR map, you are gold,” Wallace said. “On the West Virginia Department of Education map, we are orange.”

Free testing continues today, Tuesday, Oct. 20 in the B-UHS parking lot from 2 to 6 p.m.

Commissioner Sam Nolte noted the percent positivity rates on the DHHR COVID-19 reports.

“It seems like we will do good for a few days and then it seems like we will have a couple bad days,” he said.

Commissioner Kristie Tenney said, “I would propose that we stay as we are with the exception of early voting until Thursday and then reassess our numbers to see what is provided. No matter what, we will keep the courthouse as is until Friday.

Judge Jake Reger said, “I don’t think it’s a problem at all as long as we can continue to have the court we need to.”

Wallace said the commission was OK with any court hearings as necessary as they are time sensitive. Magistrate Mike Coffman said the closure should not affect magistrate court for another week.

Nolte said, “I feel like maybe we aren’t out of the woods yet with the uptick. I just need to see a couple more days of numbers.”

Tenney suggested waiting until after the DHHR COVID-19 numbers are released at 10 a.m. on Thursday to make the decision for the following week.

Nolte agreed saying, “That will give us three more days of testing results. We had 146 confirmed tests and only three positives from Saturday. Sunday’s numbers were 151 confirmed tests and only three positives. If we can keep those numbers up, I think we will be OK. I think three more days of numbers will help.”

Tenney moved, seconded by Nolte to remain closed except for early voting and the James W. Curry virtual learning program through Friday. The motion passed unanimously.

Upshur County offices remain staffed but the public is encouraged to use www.upshurcounty.org, calling an office or scheduling an appointment. The public may access the tax office; however, office occupancy is limited to three individuals at a time, according to a release. DMV issues will be resolved by appointment only. Tax payments may be mailed or placed in the drop box on Chancery Street or paid online at www.upshurcounty.org.

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