By Liz Beavers

Tribune Managing Editor

KEYSER - Denny’s Restaurant in Keyser has been temporarily closed down for cleaning and inspection following notification Monday that a food worker in the establishment had tested positive for COVID-19.

Through investigation by the Mineral County Health Department, all employees who had possible contact with the woker have been notified and quarantined, and will remain in quarantine for 14 days from the exposure.

According to A.Jay Root, administrator of the health department, the employee last worked Tuesday, July 7, from 3-8 p.m.

Root made announcement of the closure late Monday afternoon, calling the news "preventative."

The health department believes the risk to the public is low, as Denny’s Restaurant was following the state of West Virginia and CND guidance regarding employees wearing masks while working in the establishment," he said via a press release.

"If you ate at this restaurant during that date and time, however, you may have come in contact with a positive case. The purpose of this alert is preventative as well as informative; no cases resulting from exposure while visiting the restaurant have been reported.

"If you develop symptoms, have concerns, or feel you need to be tested, you may contact the Mineral County Health Department at 304-788-1321 or your local health provider."

The customers who were in the restaurant at the time the news was received Monday were allowed to finish their meals, and the restaurant was then closed down for cleaning and will be able to reopen upon inspection by the health department.

Root emphasized the importance of wearing masks and social distancing while out in public.

"Wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing/sanitizing are the best ways to keep numbers low," he said.

"Wearing a mask protects those around you. Social distancing limits the chances of COVID-19 droplets from spreading from one individual to another. Hand washing and sanitizing, as well as not touching the mouth, eyes or nose, help eliminate or reduce self-contamination."

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Mineral County since March is now at 68, with ten of them being currently active.

Root expects those numbers to rise.

"As people continue to go on vacation, we’ll continue to see this," he said. "On July 1, we have 56 cases. We now have 68. In the past 12 days we’ve gone up 12 cases."