A Brookhaven employee who did not work directly with the public was diagnosed March 13 with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to city officials.

City Hall is being shut down to the public through March 30 and City Hall employees are being directed to self-quarantine and self-monitor according to guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anyone who has visited City Hall since March 9 is also being asked to self-quarantine, according to a city news release.

“Closing City Hall is an extreme step, but in the light of the circumstances, an easy call to make,” said Mayor John Ernst in the release.

The employee began experiencing symptoms on March 9 and was excused from work, according to the news release. The employee was in an administrative position and did not have face-to-face interactions with the public at large. The employee was later hospitalized and diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 13. Because CDC guidance for self-quarantine is 14 days from the first suspected exposure, the decision was made to close City Hall until Monday, March 30.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our employee stricken with this virus. Meanwhile, we must be vigilant in preventing its spread,” Ernst said. “Not only are we directing staff to self-quarantine or self-monitor using CDC instructions, we are also advising anyone who has visited Brookhaven City Hall since March 9 to do the same.”

One of the precautions that has been previously scheduled at City Hall as a result of the heightened awareness of the spread of coronavirus is the sanitization of high-touch surface areas which is presently occurring three times a week and began March 9, Ernst said. These sterilizations will continue.

All other city facilities will remain open to employees and employees who do not work at City Hall, including police and Parks and Recreation employees, are being told to report to work as scheduled.

There were 42 reported COVID-19 cases in Georgia as of midnight on March 13, according to the state Department of Public Health. It’s unclear if the Brookhaven employee is included in that number.

There has been one confirmed death due to COVID-19, according to state officials. The patient who died was a 67-year-old man who was hospitalized at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta and had underlying medical conditions.

CDC directions on how to safely self-isolate can be found by clicking here.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.