APPALACHIA – Town police have barricaded an apartment building in Appalachia due to COVID-19 cases.

According to a joint statement by Appalachia Town Manager Fred A. Luntsford, Jr., Wise County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chuck Slemp III and Wise County Housing Authority Executive Director Monty Salyer, the Appalachia Towers Building on 505 West Main Street is now sealed off by a barricade and police line “established as a precaution zone to prevent spread of the coronavirus and to protect persons and property within our community.”

The barricade started at 8 a.m. Friday and will last for 14 days or until the federal Centers for Disease Control and LENOWISCO Health District recommend lifting the restrictions.

Appalachia Towers is owned and operated by the Housing Authority.

According to the statement, residents were given this notice:

“In cooperation with Wise County’s Commonwealth Attorney Chuck Slemp, Appalachia Emergency Management, Town Manager Fred Luntsford, Wise County Emergency Management, Wise County Administrator Mike Hatfield, and WCRHA Legal Counsel, prompt and appropriate action must be taken to protect the safety of ALL citizens of the town and region.

“Therefore, effective Friday, April 10, 2020 at 8 a.m. a police security line will be established at the front and rear entrances of Appalachian Towers. Violations of the police line could result in criminal charges.

“Food, medications, and individual needs will continue with the assistance of the Appalachia and Wise County Emergency Management.”

Friday’s statement also included an excerpt of what was reported to be from a letter by LENOWISCO Health District Director Dr. Sue Cantrell, stating that all Appalachia Towers residents "were quarantined due to their risk of exposure to COVID-19 infection."

“While we hope that we will not have any need to do so, my office stands ready to assist in enforcing this protective zone barricade in court,” Slemp said.

"All that we have done up to this point and all that we will do in the future is for the safety and preservation of the health of all the residents of the Town of Appalachia and Wise County," Luntsford said.

Luntsford on April 4 posted a notice on the town’s official Facebook page that a case had been confirmed for an Appalachia Towers resident.

"COVID-19 is an uncharted territory with frightening results,” said Salyer, “We feel these temporary precautions are for the safety and well-being of all our residents at Appalachian Towers."