Government, Latest News, Preston County

Preston County Commission sets protocols for entering county buildings

KINGWOOD — Preston County commissioners set protocols for entering county buildings next week, which include a requirement that visitors wear face masks.

County offices are scheduled to reopen to the public on Monday. County Administrator Kathy Mace said visitors and vendors will also be scanned for temperature and asked to answer questions about new fevers, coughs, sore throats, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and unusual muscle aches.

Face coverings are not recommended for children 2 and younger, Mace said.

She encouraged everyone to conduct county business by phone, email or online, if possible, and suggested making an appointment with offices.

The new protocols are to limit the number of people inside the buildings to meet state and federal rules.

Commissioners Dave Price, Don Smith and Samantha Stone also unanimously voted to hire retired Natural Resources Officer Rich McCrobie as a security officer to control entrance into the annex. The courthouse entrance is managed by the sheriff’s utility officers.

McCrobie, who is also police court judge for Kingwood and Rowlesburg, will be paid $15 per hour for up to 40 hours per week.

While the buildings will be open, the commission plans to continue holding its meetings on Facebook live through the end of May, rather than opening them to the public at this time.

In his weekly report on COVID-19, Preston County Health Department Director V.J. Davis said wearing a mask cuts the chances of catching the virus by 30%. And it reduces the chances of an asymptomatic person spreading the virus by 70%.

“There are probably hundreds of people walking around Preston County who are asymptomatic who have the disease,” he said.

When out in public, a mask doesn’t have to be worn 100% of the time, Davis explained. They should be worn when social distances can’t be maintained and when around a lot of people.

“Wearing a mask is going to be so important to keep this from spreading,” Davis said. There likely will be an increase in cases as things open, he said. “This is just something we’re going to have to live with until we end up with some kind of herd immunity or we end up with some kind of vaccine. It’s not going to go away on its own.”

The health department will be providing immunizations, TB checks, environmental health services, STD services and Right From the Start, beginning Monday, but by appointment only. To make an appointment call

In other business, commissioners delayed reappointing Vickie Jenkins to the Preston County Building Commission and Rosemary Houser to the Preston County Board of Health so that any interested persons could apply. To apply or for information on the qualifications, call 304-329-1805.

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