Church, town urge caution
Wise County has seen a drastic increase in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks.
A church in Appalachia is reporting positive cases of COVID-19. In a July 31 post on its Facebook page, First Apostolic Church Pastor Johnny Flanary wrote that three members and two visitors tested positive for the virus. He stated that other church members informed him they had symptoms of the disease as well.
Flanary explained that he was contacted that Friday morning by the Virginia Department of Health, informing him that there were virus cases in his church.
Two days prior, on July 29, Flanary had informed members via Facebook that he was cancelling services for that following Sunday due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the area. “We have ordered some items to make our church safer for you but it will not arrive in time for this weekend,” wrote Flanary.
Flanary stated that the church would have temperature screenings, and hand sanitizer dispensers would be placed throughout the building. He asked that members wear masks and practice social distancing.
On the town’s Facebook page, Town Manager Fred Luntsford praised Flanary for being up front about cases in the church. “He has given us all a head start to help our community resist community spread by continuing to practice social distancing and good hygiene.”
Luntsford also stated that due to the increase in cases, he has decided to reduce the amount of foot traffic in town facilities.
Beginning Monday Aug. 3, only town employees and council members will have access to the town shop, water plant and parks and recreation buildings. Town hall and the police department are limited to “visits that are necessary and by appointment only.”
However, Luntsford wrote, he understood there would be exceptions when it comes to police emergencies.
Face coverings will be required for those entering town hall, as well as temperature checks and a series of questions to determine possible exposure.
The council meeting scheduled for Aug. 20 has been moved from town hall to the former Appalachia High School building to allow more room for social distancing. Face coverings will be required.
The Appalachia Fire Department also commented on the rise of cases in the area, stating that as of Aug. 4, there are six active cases in the town. The post encouraged people to research how to properly wear and dispose of masks to prevent cross-contamination.
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