Town Hall closed as a COVID-19 safety precaution

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Some staff were in close contact with infected individuals

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As a precaution in response to the COVID-19 outbreak reported last week in Silverton, Town Hall will be closed to the public until further notice.

San Juan County Public Health determined through contact tracing that some town staff members were in close contact with people who tested positive for the virus last week, and must quarantine for 14 days per public health protocols.

SJCPH Director Becky Joyce said Monday that the outbreak did not originate at Town Hall.

The health department announced Aug. 28 that four individuals – all Silverton residents – tested positive for COVID-19 in connection to a local business. The business was not named to protect employee privacy, and because it is not an establishment frequented by the public.

The health department subsequently interviewed more than 30 people in the contact tracing process, tested 16 and ordered 17 to quarantine. All close contacts of those infected have been identified, health officials said.

During Town Hall’s closure, citizens can still pay utility bills online, by mail or using the mail slot to the right of Town Hall’s main entrance.

Town staff have developed contingency plans to continue providing services to the public during the closure.

The public works, parks and recreation, and community relations departments are unaffected by the closure and will continue providing services as usual.

Town Administrator John Reiter said some staff are working remotely, others at Town Hall while social distancing and following other safety guidelines. 

“We’ll be closed at least for the next week or so, so we can see how this evolves,” Reiter said. “We will extend the closure if we have to, or open up sooner if we can. Right now, public safety is our paramount concern, but also not allowing any disruption of public services.”  

An outbreak is defined as two or more COVID-19 cases confirmed at one location within a 14-day period. Last week’s outbreak was San Juan County’s first, bringing the total number of local cases confirmed to five.