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O.C. Treasurer’s office closes after COVID diagnosis; will reopen Nov. 23

O.C. Treasurer’s office closes after COVID diagnosis; will reopen Nov. 23

The Orange County Treasurer’s Office is closed for two weeks following an employee testing positive for COVID-19. 

Friday afternoon, the treasurer’s office issued a brief press release noting it would close immediately and reopen Monday, Nov. 23. No other information was provided except for tax payment options. County administrator Ted Voorhees soon confirmed an employee had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The Virginia Department of Health and any county employee who may have had close contact with the COVID-positive employee have been notified, said Stephanie Straub, assistant to the county administrator and public information officer.

Rappahannock/Rapidan Health District Director Dr. Wade Kartchner said his office was notified Friday afternoon and began its investigation into contact tracing.

With tax bills sent to citizens last month and a Dec. 5 due date, the treasurer’s office is one of the county offices that interacts regularly with the public. However, most transactions are handled in a matter of minutes and the county had installed protective barriers at the office’s teller windows.

Where the employee worked and what type of possible exposure they may have had with the public would determine the level of contact tracing required, Dr. Kartchner said. “If the person was not a public facing employee, then none of the public has been exposed.”

“We don’t believe the COVID-19 positive staff member had any interactions with the public,” Straub said. “Overall, public interactions from that office should not exceeded the 15-minute threshold. Additionally, the public facing windows have plexiglass barriers and staff and the public should wear masks during interactions.”

The risk to the public is low, Dr. Kartchner added.

Straub said the entire first floor of the Gordon Building is being sanitized. The office is expected to open in two weeks.

Dr. Kartchner said the health department was not involved in closing the office.

“It is important for the public, schools, government and businesses to realize that closure is not always the answer,” he said. “If the number of people who need to quarantine is such that business or school operations will be affected, then it might make sense to close. If not, then an entity could stay open while anyone exposed is quarantined and everyone else should continue the steps of prevention—wash your hands frequently, watch your distance, and wear a mask when you can’t.”

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