Coronavirus cases reported in New London, Norwich court buildings and offices
The state court system, which is attempting to return to regular business following months of reduced activity, is not immune as communities in southeastern Connecticut continue to grapple with increases in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19.
Employees who work at the New London Judicial District Courthouse at 70 Huntington St. in New London and the Geographical Area 21 Courthouse at 1 Courthouse Square in Norwich recently have tested positive for the coronavirus, along with staff members from the Department of Adult Probation office at 153 Williams St. in New London and the Support Enforcement Services Division office at 99 Main St. in Norwich. An inmate who was held in the lockup of the Norwich courthouse on Oct. 5 and presented before a judge for arraignment also tested positive.
In those instances where the infected person had close contact with other employees, those employees have been notified and asked to follow the directives from their medical providers, according to Melissa A. Farley, executive director of the Judicial Branch's External Affairs Division.
According to the branch, the buildings have been cleaned and disinfected regularly in accordance with state Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations and are cleaned daily, which includes additional disinfection of high-touch points, such as door knobs and stair rails, and given extra nightly cleansing.
Masks are required, and hand sanitizer stations have been installed in common areas of the buildings. Limited spectators are allowed into courtrooms in order to maintain proper social distancing, and at the New London courthouse plexiglass shields have been installed in the area of judges' benches, where judges, clerks and courtroom monitors, and sometimes witnesses, sit in close proximity to one another.
The branch sent written notices to employees of the buildings where somebody had tested positive if the employee had recently been in the building or had close contact with others.
The branch was notified on Sept. 29 that an employee of the Judicial District Courthouse at 70 Huntington St. in New London who was last in the office on Sept. 25 tested positive for the virus. Additionally, an employee working in the New London courthouse who had last been in the building on Sept. 4 tested positive on Sept. 25.
An employee working at the GA 21 courthouse in Norwich tested positive on Oct. 9. A building notice was not sent in this case, as the employee had last been at the courthouse on Sept. 25. An inmate who was in the lockup area and courtroom in Norwich on Oct. 5 tested positive for the coronavirus. The notification letter to employees indicated the inmate did not have close contact with any employees at this location.
The branch was notified Oct. 10 that an employee of the Support Enforcement Services office at 99 Main St. in Norwich who was last in the office on Oct. 7 had tested positive for the virus. The employee reported no close contact with others in the office.
The branch was notified on Sept. 17 that an employee of the Department of Adult Probation building at 153 Williams St. in New London tested positive for the virus. The employee had last been in the building on Sept. 14, and no individuals were reported as having close contact with the employee.