- David Shankbone
- Operations have been altered at the county’s judicial building due to COVID-19.
According to news releases issued by the Colorado Judicial Department and El Paso County Public Health, new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the El Paso County Judicial Building and Charis Christian Center in Colorado Springs.
The Colorado Judicial Department reports a court staff member working in the El Paso County Judicial Building has tested positive for COVID-19 and was quarantined beginning the afternoon of July 31. “As a result, Chief Judge William Bain, in collaboration with El Paso County Department of Public Health, has decided to limit court operations to essential functions only for at least the next two weeks,” the release said.
The staff member was not assigned to any jury trials, but worked a criminal docket on July 27 in Division 15 and a four-hour proceeding on July 29 in Division 19. Anyone who appeared in Division 15 or 19 on these dates is asked to email 04Administration@judicial.state.co.us for more information and to assist with contact tracing.
“After notifying the El Paso County Department of Public Health Deputy Medical Director Dr. Leon Kelly about the exposure, he [Kelly] instructed us to notify all individuals in the courtrooms where the staff member was present to quarantine for 14 days from date of exposure,” Bain said in the release. “We are working closely with the Department of Health to gather additional information and to make these contact tracing notifications. To do so most effectively, and in the interest of public safety, all jury trials and most other in-person hearings are now postponed until further notice.”
Bain said that while the court is focused on making notifications and determining the scope of the exposure, it will continue to offer limited emergency services.
Find more information at tinyurl.com/ElPasoCountyJailCOVID.
“We will use this experience to enhance our safety protocols so the community may safely continue to conduct business in El Paso County’s courthouse,” Bain said in the release. “In the meantime, we will continue to practice the safety protocols established by the health department for any necessary in-person hearings.”
According to the release, El Paso County Public Health recommends that affected individuals watch for symptoms of COVID-19 and quarantine for 14 days from their time in court, in addition to making all efforts to avoid interaction with high-risk populations.
“If people begin experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the agency recommends they seek testing,” the release said. “Information about where to get tested may be found at Public Health’s website. People who have questions about their potential exposure or risk may contact the agency’s Communicable Disease program at 719-578-3220.
Meanwhile, El Paso County Public Health says the department identified one confirmed case of COVID-19 associated with the Charis Christian Center (CCC), located at 10285 Federal Drive in Colorado Springs. Public Health, according to the release, “has been made aware that other individuals affiliated with this church are now symptomatic and experiencing illness since July 19, 2020. As of Aug. 1, Public Health had not successfully established with CCC who or how many individuals are affected, or if they have been tested for COVID-19.
“For the safety of the congregation and the community, Public Health has recommended that CCC leadership notify its members that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 through close contact with the case and therefore should quarantine and isolate as appropriate,” the release said.
Public Health has also recommended to CCC that ill individuals notify leadership and be tested for COVID-19 to further protect church members and the community.
“All individuals, especially those who are at a higher risk for severe COVID-19 infection (those over 65 years or with underlying health conditions) are advised to exercise extreme caution,” the release said. “If you are in a high-risk population, you are advised to be aware of your risks of contracting COVID-19 if you have entered or plan to enter this facility.”