OFFICIALS TAKE PROTECTIVE MEASURES IN RESPONSE TO RECENT CORONAVIRUS POSITIVE CASES IN THE TOWN OF APPALACHIA
On Thursday, April 9, 2020 Appalachia Town Manager Fred Lunstford, Wise County Housing Authority Executive Director Monty L. Salyer, and Wise County/City of Norton Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp issued a joint statement regarding measures to protect the public taken in response to recent positive coronavirus cases in the Town of Appalachia.
Due to recent positive COVID-19 cases in the Town of Appalachia, the Town of Appalachia Police Department has established a barricade and perimeter of police lines around the Appalachia Towers Building, 505 West Main Street, Appalachia, Virginia pursuant to Virginia Code Section 15.2-1714. These lines are established as a precaution zone to prevent spread of the coronavirus and to protect persons and property within our community.
The town of Appalachia was notified in a letter from Dr. Eleanor S. Cantrell, District Director of the LENOWISCO Health District that, as of April 5, 2020, all residents of the Appalachia Towers Building "were quarantined due to their risk of exposure to COVID-19 infection." These residents are requested to remain in their homes for their safety and the safety of others. To prevent members of the public from visiting the property, Town Manager Fred Luntsford has asked the Appalachia Police Department to establish a precaution zone with police tape.
At 8:00 a.m. April 10, 2020, a police barricade line and protective zone has been established around the Appalachia Towers Property. Any individuals who cross the established police lines and barricade zone without proper authorization of the Town Manager and Appalachia Police Department can be charged with a crime pursuant to Virginia Code Section 18.2-414.2.
Appalachia Town Manager Fred Luntsford said, "All that we have done up to this point and all that we will do in the future is for the safety and preservation of the health of all the residents of the Town of Appalachia and Wise County."
Wise County Housing Authority Executive Director Monty L. Salyer said, "COVID-19 is an uncharted territory with frightening results. We feel these temporary precautions are for the safety and well-being of all our residents at Appalachian Towers."
Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said, "We all must do our part to prevent further spread of the virus. It is my hope that these measures will keep the community safe until the threat of COVID-19 community spread has passed. I want to thank the diligent efforts of local law enforcement and first responders in addressing this threat to public health and public safety. While we hope that we will not have any need to do so, my office stands ready to assist in enforcing this protective zone barricade in court."
The Appalachia Towers Building is owned and operated by the Wise County Housing Authority. The authority has taken steps to notify all residents of the property of these precautionary measures. Residents are being provided with food, drinks, and medication to ensure their needs are met with assistance of the Town of Appalachia and Wise County Emergency Management.
The protective zone will be in place for a period of 14 days or until the restrictions are lifted per the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Director of the LENOWISCO Health District.
The following notice was delivered to the residents of the towers:
In cooperation with Wise County's Commonwealth Attorney Chuck Slemp, Appalachia Emergency Management, Town Manager Fred Luntsford, Wise County Emergency Management, Wise County Administrator Mike Hatfield, and WCRHA Legal Counsel, prompt and appropriate action must be taken to protect the safety of ALL citizens of the town and region.
Therefore, effective Friday, April 10, 2020 at 8:00 AM a police security line will be established at the front and rear entrances of Appalachian Towers. Violations of the police line could result in criminal charges.
Food, medications, and individual needs will continue with the assistance of the Appalachia and Wise County Emergency Management.