Courthouse closed

Dickinson County may not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon, but county officials believe it’s here.

Brad Homman, Dickinson County administrator, said he talked to Dickinson County Health Officer Dr. Brian Holmes Sunday night who told him there are several local people that are exhibiting symptoms of having the COVID-19 virus.

“He (Holmes) thought it was starting to make its way through our community,” Homman said.

To that end, the Dickinson County Courthouse and all county public offices closed to walk-in business Monday morning until further notice to help limit exposure.

Despite the closure, the public can still transact business. Staff are still working, phones are being answered and if someone needs to enter the courthouse to conduct business, they can make an appointment, Homman said.

Each county office may be contacted directly or people can call the administration office at (785) 263-3120 and be transferred to the appropriate department.

Allowing people in by appointment limits the number of people in the building at any given time.

“We will meet people at the door and let them in,” Homman said. “That way we’ll have one or two people in here at a time rather than a line waiting with people congregating.”

The closure also includes walk-in traffic at the Dickinson County Health Department; however, people with appointments can still come in.

“They have people who come in to get shots for allergies and other things. They’re still doing that,” Homman said.

Zero cases is

misnomer

Homman related that Holmes said a handful of people have come to the local clinic with COVID-19 symptoms, although they have not been tested.

The reason they have not been tested is due to the fact that the county only has 50 test kits total and and those kits are being reserved for medical personnel.

“If it does peak here — like we suspect it will sometime — we’ll need those kits to make sure doctors, nurses, paramedics are okay to treat other people,” Homman explained.

Homman futher noted that many people are not taking the virus precautions seriously and continue to congregate in big crowds.

“I chose to err on the side of the staff and close the doors for their protection,” he said. “We (the county) will still function by phone or appointment, but keep the personal contact down to a minimum.”

Since people are not taking the precautions seriously, the county issued an emergency order Monday afternoon directing people to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus. (See related story)

Contact Kathy Hageman at reporter@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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