Community-spread COVID-19 cases confirmed in Kanawha County

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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said there was a new case of COVID-19 confirmed Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total number in the county to six. But currently two of the six haven't officially been reported to the state lab, so they will show up in Wednesday's totals.

Kanawha-Charleston Health Department says there are now six confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kanawha County.

But what health officials are finding now is that many of the cases are starting to be community-spread based, rather than travel-related.

"What will happen is somebody travels outside the area to a high-transmission area, comes back and brings it into the community so this is very much what we expected to see," said Dr. Sherri Young, executive director at Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.

On Monday, we reported a second case found from the Kanawha County Judicial Annex building.

"One of the ladies that works on the same floor with (the first case person) came down with a lot of symptoms," Kanawha County Sheriff Mike Rutherford said. "She was checked and unfortunately was found that she, too, was infected by the virus."

Rutherford said the building has several employees, including roughly 13 deputies working on a weekly basis.

"At this time, we have four deputies that are being self-quarantined in their residences as a precaution," the sheriff told WSAZ. "At this point, none of them have the symptoms and they're just being checked to make sure they're OK."

Rutherford said neither of the two employees worked for the Sheriff's Office but they are now limiting the number of staff in the building and public access to the building.

"If one of our deputies gets infected, they can infect part or possibly a whole shift and that can be extremely dangerous, not only for our deputies but for everybody they come into contact with. On top of that, it could cripple law enforcement in the county," Rutherford said.

Two other cases in the county were also reported to be community-spread rather than travel-related, Click here to see that story.

Young said all of the patients except for one are in isolation at hospitals. Officials did not release the age range of the patients in the county.

Rutherford said the buildings are only allowing public entry if it's an emergency.

On Tuesday night Kanawha County Commissions Office ordered the building to be closed until further notice.

“By Order of Kanawha County Commission, at the direction of the Chief Health Officer of the Kanawha Charleston Health Department, the Kanawha County Judicial Annex is hereby closed for all business. Entry to the building shall only be allowed by the Sheriff of Kanawha County under the direction of Chief Health Officer of the County.”

Commission President W. Kent Carper stated, “After consultation with our elected officials, our judges, our magistrates, Mayor Goodwin, and Dr. Sherri Young, we’ve decided out of an abundance of caution to totally close the building to the public effective tomorrow morning.”

This will be effective Wednesday morning at 8 a.m.