Knight: ‘Courthouse is sick’ as COVID-19 makes its rounds

The Liberty County Courthouse (file photo)

The Liberty County Clerk’s Office in the courthouse in Liberty is the latest to be impacted by COVID-19 after County Clerk Lee Chambers tested positive on Thursday. Chambers said that her office will be closed until the situation improves, which is not likely to happen until after the Christmas holidays.

In the meantime, anyone with an emergency need from the County Clerk’s Office, such as a request for a deed, birth or death certificate, or marriage license will need to drive to the county annex in Cleveland where the County Clerk’s Office will remain open for now.

“People can also get their birth and death certificates, and marriage licenses from neighboring counties,” Chambers added.

The County Clerk’s Office is not the only county department recently impacted by the virus. The District Attorney’s Office has six people out with COVID-19 and the County Attorney’s Office has one employee with a family member who tested positive, said County Judge Jay Knight.

While all employees appear to be well at the county tax assessor-collector’s office, Knight said that the tax office in Liberty will be working split shifts to minimize exposure. This could cause some minor delays as people stop by to pay for vehicle registrations and taxes, and attend to other matters.

Knight plans to be tested on Friday for his own peace of mind.

“We all know it was a matter of time before it hit. We’ve been doing our very best to behave and stop it from spreading but it was just a matter of time before it caught up with us,” he said. “I think it’s safe to say that the courthouse has come down sick right now.”

Knight said that the protection of the county employees, their families and the public is a great concern, which is why he is asking the public to try to handle their business with the county by phone calls, emails or online.

“We need to stop the spread as best we can while also functioning on a limited basis,” he said.

With the new cases still popping up, Knight said he has no plans to enforce lockdowns or restrictions. Instead he is asking residents to use their best judgment.

“I would say that it’s your choice to wear a mask or not. You know what it can and won’t do. You also know what social distancing will and won’t do. Let’s just be cognizant of that and respectful of others. Let your conscience be your guide,” Knight said.

Anyone who needs to reach a particular department in county government can call the main number at 936-336-4665 and get assistance.

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