As the new year begins some are hoping to leave bad things behind in 2020.
One thing that isn’t going away, though, is COVID-19.
The Washington County Public Health Department said there were 26 active cases of the novel coronavirus in Whitehall as of Jan. 8. That is eight more cases than the previous week.
Whitehall Mayor Phil Smith said he is concerned with the rising numbers.
“I’ve talked to people, they’re nervous,” he said. “Everyone is a little nervous. We’re trying to take the precautions that we can, as far as the village is concerned.”
The village offices are closed to the public because of the rising cases. Smith said that the staff is still in the office working.
A few of the staff members recently came back from quarantine after being exposed to the virus. Their tests came back negative.
The third scheduled village police reform meeting was canceled because of the closure of the offices. Smith said the remaining items that need to be discussed for that will happen during their monthly village board meeting on Jan. 19 at 6 p.m.
The public is still able to communicate with the village if needed. Smith said that they are providing options to the community.
“We have a drop box outside, so we’re asking people to communicate using the drop box as far as making payments and so forth, and emailing messages,” he said.
Smith said he hopes everyone will do their part in trying to contain the virus by following the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I certainly encourage everyone to follow the CDC advice of wearing masks and social distancing and not to be gathering in crowds,” he said. “If you do need to be indoors in a group then take the precautions of wearing a mask and social distancing. We’re taking it seriously.”