UPDATE: Sheriff Tracy Carter told The Rant that the there are currently no positive tests among inmates at the jail and that the email in question likely resulted from “a misunderstanding” of information shared between his office and the district attorney.

Carter said the department had two inmates claiming to have COVID who have been quarantined and tested, but results of those tests are still pending.

“It may change, but we have no positive cases at this time,” Carter said.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Lee County Courthouse has been ordered closed until Aug. 12 after an employee tested positive for COVID-19, according to multiple Facebook posts. Cases have also been reported among inmates at the Lee County Jail.

A post from the Post, Foushee & Patton law firm indicates the closure was ordered by Superior Court Judge Winston Gilchrist:

The Lee County Register of Deeds Office will remain open by appointment only, and is encouraging e-filing if possible.

A post on Saturday from Sheriff Tracy Carter directs people with pending court business to contact their attorney or use www.nccourts.gov to learn more about what to do, but doesn’t mention anything about a courthouse employee testing positive:

Meanwhile, The Rant has obtained an email from the Lee County District Attorney’s Office to members of the local bar telling attorneys that “some inmates” at the Lee County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19.

“As you may be aware, the Lee County Jail is limiting entry into the jail premises due to positive tests for COVID-19 among some inmates,” the email reads. “You have been previously made aware that Superior Court calendars are being limited to cases where a plea transcript has been signed, with particular emphasis on individuals in custody. It is our understanding that attorneys may call the jail ahead of time with the name of an inmate and a meeting time. The jail will provide a meeting space, as long as the individual attorney enters with the understanding that they are taking a risk in doing so. Thank you.”