Many services operating out of the Guilford County Courthouse in Greensboro are now being suspended longer than initially anticipated.
On Thursday evening, July 23, Guilford County put out a press release with the rather alarming title of “Guilford County Greensboro Courthouse COVID-19 Positive Cases Reach Cluster Status. ” The release noted that the court system would be extending the previous temporary suspension of many services in the building.
Earlier this week, the county announced that some workers in the courthouse had tested positive and that many non-essential public services operating out of the building would be put on hold for a couple of days. But that two-day hiatus just got longer. Now, the suspension of services at the building will be extended at least until the end of July.
“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,” the Thursday statement read. “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.”
Ever since the positive cases surfaced, the health department has been working with courthouse employees as well as others who may have been exposed in the building. County health officials are advising quarantine where appropriate and are offering tests to the employees.
Guilford County Chief District Court Judge Teresa Vincent stated in the press release that safety at the courthouse was the first order of business, but she added that it wasn’t possible to completely shut the courts down.
“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,” she said. “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-19 illness is in our communities.”