Montgomery County is closing its government center for two weeks after two workers tested positive for COVID-19, the county announced Saturday, the same day the county vaulted from one to six total reported cases.
Many core government functions, such as public safety and others that operate from separate facilities, will continue, county spokeswoman Jennifer Harris said Saturday. But offices located in the government center in Christiansburg, including those of the Montgomery County voter registrar, treasurer, and commissioner of the revenue, will be shut down.
The Virginia Department of Health reported an increase of 395 cases from Friday to Saturday to 2,407 people in Virginia who have tested positive for COVID-19. The VDH also said that 21,552 have been tested for the virus in Virginia, and 390 people have been hospitalized. There have been 52 deaths – an increase of six since Friday.
The numbers in the Roanoke and New River valleys remained largely unchanged in Saturday morning’s report except for in Montgomery County, which jumped from one to six. Cases reported elsewhere in the New River Valley included one each in Radford and in Pulaski County. Floyd and Giles counties report no confirmed cases.
Cases reported in the Roanoke Valley: 10 in Roanoke; one in Salem; five in Roanoke County; 14 in Botetourt County (the local health district reported 15 as of Friday); 10 in Franklin County. Neighboring Bedford County has four. The valley’s health district reported Friday two cases in Craig County, but they had not yet shown up on the state’s report.
The Montgomery County closure came after Friday’s announcement that an employee of the Department of Social Services had COVID-19 and that the entire 68-person department was under quarantine until April 10.
Social services functions are to proceed as best they can by staff working remotely. Benefits to county residents will not be interrupted, Harris said Friday.
On Saturday, Harris said the county got word of the second worker’s test late Friday.
County officials have not yet been given the identity of the worker, she said, just that an initial COVID-19 test was positive. More information will come with the results of a confirming test, probably early in the week, she said.
“All we know at this time is that we have a second person at the government center,” Harris said.
After the confirming test result comes back, county officials plan to consult with the health department on how to proceed with whatever decontamination seems appropriate, Harris said.
A news release sent out Saturday said that besides emergency services and public safety, operations that will continue despite the government center closure include water and sewer service, solid waste and recycling sites, and animal control responses for bite cases and incidents involving seriously hurt animals or emergencies.
The county courts also are continuing to operate, though with their own set of restrictions.
There are 388 cases in the immediate Richmond area: 174 in Henrico, 106 in Chesterfield, 96 in Richmond and 12 in Hanover. Fairfax County is the locality with the most cases with 387.
There are confirmed cases in residents of 108 of Virginia’s 133 cities and counties.
On March 19, state health officials said there’s a lag in the reporting of statewide numbers on the VDH website. Figures on the website might not include cases or deaths reported by individual localities or local health districts.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch contributed to this report.