GREENSBORO, N.C. — The number of positive COVID-19 cases at Guilford County’s Greensboro courthouse has reached cluster status, according to a news release from the county.
The county released the following statement regarding the courthouse:
The Guilford County Division of Public Health (GCDPH) notified Court Officials today that the ongoing investigation of positive cases amongst staff at the Greensboro Courthouse has reached a total of five positive cases This number is significant as the incident is now qualified as a cluster under reporting guidelines. The period of potential exposure is from Thursday, July 2 to Friday, July 17. The last date a positive case was in the courthouse was Friday, July 17.
OCDPH has been working extensively to contact all symptomatic and asymptomatic employees, as swell as close contacts of staff. Those identified have been advised to quarantine or isolate themselves as appropriate. All affected individuals have been referred for testing, are improving, and in isolation.
Chief District Court Judge Teresa Vincent stated, “We take our employee’s safety very seriously and we know that the courthouse will continue to be a location with an increased risk of exposure due to the high volumes of people using the court system. Unfortunately, as the courts provide an essential governmental function tasked with ensuring access to justice and due process of law, several courts shall remain available in order to address matters such as domestic violence; bail and first appearances. Furthermore, long term closure of the court system is simply not an option. We continue to work very closely with the County Public Health Department and County Officials on safety measures for our employees and those involved in court matters. Regrettably, risk of exposure to essential employees, court delays and temporary closures will continue to be a common occurrence so long as the novel COVID-I 9 illness is in our communities.”
Judge Vincent announced that due to the number of employees recommended for quarantine, the closures for the identified courts and associated Clerk of Court services, will be extended through July 31, 2020.
- The clerk’s office supporting criminal/traffic; criminal pending; criminal district court; criminal superior court; civil district & civil front counter will be closed through July 31, 2020.
- Starting Monday July 27, 2020, the Clerk of Superior Court will limit access to the public and new hours to the public will be from 8:30am to 12:30pm until further notice.
- Only courts that are necessary to due process of law, or are otherwise deemed necessary, and specifically Domestic Violence court, Juvenile Delinquency court, DHHS court and First Appearances will be held July 22-31, 2020. All other courts are suspended through July 31. 2020 All courts will resume Monday, August 3, 2020; unless otherwise notified.
Bookkeeping, Civil Judgments. Juvenile, Estates and Special Proceedings of the Clerk of Courts Office will remain open. No changes to services in High Point.
To date the Courthouse has issued several orders mandating daily health screenings, temperature checks and required use of face coverings for all persons entering or working in the courthouse. County Officials have shared that social distancing efforts have been put into place such as added plexi-glass dividers in courtrooms and Clerk of Court counter areas where public interaction is required; Suction of the numbers of persons allowed in the courtrooms: and adding technology in the courtrooms to allow virtual viewing for those participating in court sessions to other rooms in the courthouses.
Amanda Leazer, Trial Court Administrator and the Courthouse COVID-I9 Coordinator stated, We have been preparing for these situations since April of this year. We have action plans in place when we are notified by an employee of a positive test. In this instance the employees who reported positive cases to their supervisors were at home and our Public Health partners took immediate action to begin tracing efforts to determine the potential impacts. Within two hours of receiving confirmation from our public health staff and recommendations based on the results of the investigations our action plans were launched. The County helped to provide immediate and free testing to more than 30 employees potentially impacted, office areas were closed for unitization, and impacted services suspended”
Given the way COVID-19 is spread, everyone should undertake the recommended prevention measures. Frequent handwashing, social distancing, wearing of a face covering, and travel limited to essential purposes is still recommended. Guilford County offers no cost COVID-I9 community testing which can be found at www.HealthyGuilford.com or by calling 3366417527 to make a fast track appointment for testing.