FAYETTEVILLE — Several Covid-19 cases among county court personnel and the county's "red" status in the DHHR's county alert system will result in restricted access at the Fayette County Courthouse through Jan. 8, 2021.
On Monday, Dec. 28, Circuit Judge Paul M. Blake Jr., the 12th Judicial Circuit's chief judge, declared a judicial emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Administrative order 20-AO-13 from Blake read in part: "Whereas, as of Dec. 24, 2020, Fayette County has been declared a 'red' county on the DHHR's county alert system, and several court personnel within the past week have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus," and Blake "conferred with the Fayette County Health Department and was advised that this situation is not likely to improve, but is likely to worsen within the next several weeks."
That said, the judge's order decreed that only essential personnel in emergency matters are to report to work, and that Blake (Dec. 28 to Jan. 1) and Judge Thomas H. Ewing (Jan. 4-8) will be on call on a set schedule.
In light of Blake's order, the Fayette County Commission issued a memo regarding restricted access to the courthouse through Jan. 8. The memo included directives for department heads and their employees concerning the manner in which they will operate.
"The Fayette County Commission wants to do everything possible to limit exposure for our courthouse family," read the memo.
Some employees in the various courthouse offices, the Fayette County Park and the Fayette County Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building will rotate work days, and some will work from home. The FCSSMB will be closed, but a notice will be posted asking individuals to call to obtain access for limited use.
Members of the public are urged to conduct their business with any offices in the courthouse or at other county facilities over the phone or through fax or email until further notice.
Circuit court offices and the family court judge's office will be on call and effectively closed to the public. No one will be answering the general court telephone numbers. Virtual court hearings may be permitted by the court with approval of all participants. Emergency proceedings will be limited to matters specifically identified in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals' administrative order entered on March 22.
The chief magistrate will designate, on a rotating basis, an on-call magistrate for emergency matters, according to Blake's order.
"All other judicial employees shall shelter in place at their homes until Jan. 11, 2021, and are strongly advised to observe a quarantine avoiding crowds or gatherings," Blake's order read in part. "Masks, social distancing and hand washing shall be observed if emergency travel outside the home is necessary."
The Fayette County Office of Emergency Management, 911 center and fire coordinator's offices will operate as usual.
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Following are county department numbers:
• Fayette County Health Department — 304-574-1617
• County commission — 304-574-4290
• Prosecuting attorney — 304-574-4230
• Assessor — 304-574-4242
• County clerk — 304-574-4227
• Floodplain/building permits — 304-574-4320
• County park — 304-574-1111
• Office of emergency management — 304-574-3285
• 911 non-emergency — 304-574-3590
• Sheriff’s department — 304-574-4216
• Tax office — 304-574-4219
• Circuit clerk — 304-574-4213
• Magistrate — 304-574-4279
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