Wyoming County Commissioners announced Tuesday that the courthouse will reopen Wednesday, Nov. 18, after being closed since Nov. 5, when the first of four employees tested positive for COVID-19.
One employee is still hospitalized out of county.
Until further notice, the courthouse will be open for employees only, and no visitors will be allowed inside. All courthouse business will be conducted through video conferencing, phone or email. Mask wearing and social distancing protocols will be strictly enforced among county employees.
During the two week closure, Commissioner Tom Henry said that the entire building was fumigated and deep cleaned. So, too, were the Robinson Building in Eaton Township as well as the EMA building where one person has tested positive.
Commissioner Rick Wilbur said that commissioners extended the closure of the courthouse until Tuesday, so that any employee who was exposed was able to have a 14-day quarantine period.
“Everyone that had direct contact has met the CDC quarantine period, but anyone who shows any COVID-19 symptoms has been instructed to remain at home,” Wilbur said.
“Contact tracing has also been done,” he said, noting the state Department of Health has made the decisions on who needed to be tested through contact tracing. “We are trying our best to keep everyone safe.”
Commissioners did get a bit of good news Tuesday when they announced the possibility of a new business coming to the area.
Wilbur said Senior Health Care has registered an interest in bringing a 70-unit senior assisted living home to Wyoming County. The new facility would have its own cardiac center as well as an Alzheimer’s unit to the county.
Commissioners on Tuesday also accepted the resignation of Wyoming County Jail Deputy Warden Gordon Traveny. Wilbur said a decision has not been made as to whether the position would be filled or responsibilities parceled out to present positions.
He did note that Traveny was taking a larger role with the Lackawanna County jail, and all three commissioners thanked him for his service.
The commissioners recently met with Hallock Shannon to discuss the completion of the 2019 county audit, which they hope to have completed by Nov. 30.
Henry discussed a community cleanup at the Roadside Rest park area that occured on Sunday, Nov. 15, noting that a lot of the brush and garbage has been removed from the area. The future of Roadside Rest is still in the planning stages, and there was some discussion about having met with Eaton Township supervisors and residents on Oct. 28.
A joint meeting is being planned between Wyoming County, Lackawanna County and Keystone College about providing scholarships that would only be available to students in the two counties to make college more affordable and try to get more students to stay closer to home for their post-secondary education.
The commissioners approved the hire of Jodie Dickson as a full time cook at the Wyoming County Jail. This is to fill the vacancy of an employee transferring to security staff. The county will also post a full-time deputy sheriff position to fill the vacancy from a resignation in August that has not been filled as of yet.
Fifth graders at the six Wyoming County School Districts still have time to submit their artwork with a drug free message for a chance to win three $100 cash prizes. Submissions are being accepted through Nov. 30. Anyone with questions should call Commissioner Ernie King at 570-996-2229 from Monday through Friday.
The commissioners talked about serving as the board of elections on Election Day, and how tedious it was to count roughly 4,000 mail-in ballots. Ernie King said they were one of only three counties in Pennsylvania (which has 67) to complete its count on mail-ins before Election Day ended.
Wilbur noted that an upcoming meeting would be held with PennDOT in the next two weeks regarding a proposed bridge construction project on Rt. 92 near St. Michael’s School that has some businesses upset because of an extensive detour. He said the commissioners had been in touch with Sen. Lisa Baker’s and Rep. Karen Boback’s office to get the design changed.
Discussion also took place about the county’s new website www.wycopa.org that launched Monday night. A meeting had been scheduled with its consultant, Moodis, but that got cancelled with the courthouse closed.
Commissioners also signed a resolution with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency for a $150,000 housing assistance grant for low income residents in Wyoming County with Trehab as the pass-through agency.
Wilbur acknowledged correspondence concerning the possibility of making Wyoming County a Second Amendment Sanctuary County. “We are investigating the legalities of such a move,” he said.
Henry said he wanted to give a shout out to restaurants in the region that are struggling and ask residents to please patronize them. He also acknowledged the new Aldi store, and welcomed it to the county.
The commissioners are planning a work session on Thursday at 9 a.m., and will have their next voting meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 25, at 9 a.m.