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Officials update community on local COVID-19 response


SALYERSVILLE – Local officials updated Mortimer Media Group prior to publication on the current COVID-19 status in the county.

Magoffin County Judge-Executive Matt Wireman issued an order on Tuesday, March 17, to close all Magoffin County-owned buildings to the public, leaving the offices open to continue business via the phone and internet.

Wireman took action after the local PVA’s office, the only state-run office in the courthouse, was notified by the state to close to the public.

The county had already limited the public access to the courthouse to just one person at a time on Monday, but Governor Beshear announced Monday evening he would be closing all public access to state buildings and services.

“Following the guidelines of not only the governor, but the president, to limit in-person customer service, we’re going to be closing all Magoffin County buildings to public access,” Wireman explained. “There will be a listing on social media that has all the elected officials phone numbers and you’re encouraged to call them if you have any type of county business or question.”

Those numbers include:
- Judge/Executive’s Office  606-349-2313
- County Clerk’s Office 606-349-2216
- PVA’s Office 606-349-6198
- Sheriff’s Office 606-349-2914
- County Attorney’s Office 606-349-7600
- Emergency Management  606-349-2313
- Circuit Clerk/Driver’s License 606-349-2215
- Domestic Violence Advocate (business hours) 606-349-2311
- Domestic Violence Advocate (after hours)  606-886-6226

Wireman explained that the offices will remain open and will be able to conduct limited business. 


Magoffin County Schools Superintendent Scott Helton said that the school feeding program started on Monday with meals available for pickup and on Tuesday between 1,800 and 1,900 meals were delivered directly to students’ homes.

Approximately 20 to 21 buses running two routes a piece are stopping at houses along the bus routes, starting from 10:30 a.m. through 1:30 p.m. 

If meals are not delivered during those times, parents are encouraged to call the school’s kitchens to let their location known and to get a meal.

Those numbers are as follows:

HWMS 349-0812
SGS 349-8283
NME 349-8290
SME 884-0512
MCHS 349-8273

Helton said they’ve had volunteers with the sheriff’s department, city council members, and volunteer fire departments hauling meals to meet the buses when they ran out of meals and helping deliver meals.

“It’s working out really well,” Helton said. “There’s going to be glitches when you’re taking that many meals out, but we’re able to get a lot more meals out into the hands of students than we can during the regular summer feeding program.”

Helton reminded the families that the meals will be delivered along the bus routes, but not necessarily by the normal bus or bus driver for those routes. Also, since it is a federal program, the federal guidelines requires that the meals be distributed to the students and that they cannot give meals to adults.

“I understand there’s people hurting here that need the meal,” Helton said. “I don’t mean to offend anybody and I don’t want the drivers to offend anybody, but we have been directed to [distribute to] students only.”

As for how long the schools will be closed, Helton said they are still waiting for decisions made at the state level.

“We’ve not been given anything definitive on when this closure will stop or if it stops for this school year,” Helton said. “We just know we’ve got to continue to plan and we’ve been told to make provisions and to feed the children the best way we can. We’re trying to get the packets out.”

The parents of children without electronic access to the NTI content are encouraged to call their schools to arrange pickup of the packets. 

He said if the closure extends beyond these 10 days, they will announce it to the public immediately and they will plan for additional NTI days to keep the students “up to par and prepared” as best they can.

Helton also reminded the families to contact their schools’ Family Resource Youth Services Center if they have any other needs.


Felicia Estep, the Public Health RN, confirmed to Mortimer Media Group that six tests have been conducted by local healthcare providers in Magoffin County.

As of press time, three of the tests have come back negative and the other three are still pending, with an average wait time of three to five days to receive results. 

Locally, Frontier Medical Center, Hope Family Medical Center and Dr. Gainey’s office are testing for the coronavirus.

“You need to call those providers before showing up at their office,” Estep explained. “We highly recommend that. We don’t want to tax their people that’s working there, and we want them to be prepared with the proper PPE. We don’t want to contaminate their lobby or any other part of their facility, so we want to make for sure they’re aware that you’re coming there. Call and let them know your symptoms.”

Estep also explained that patients must meet certain criteria before they can be tested, including exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, shortness of breath, cough, any kind of respiratory illness), and have the possibility of having been exposed to the virus (traveled to a highly-affected area). 

“We need to enforce what the governor and the CDC is pushing down, which is to limit our gathering, wash our hands for greater than 20 seconds, just practice good hygiene,” Estep said. “We’ll get through this.”

For now, the health department is operating at normal hours, though they will be limiting their needle exchange to two days a week. 

As Wireman said at the close of Tuesday’s fiscal court meeting, “Magoffin County survived a tornado and we’re going to survive this.”


Heather Oney

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