Howard County court employee tests positive for COVID-19

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The District Court of Maryland In Howard County located in Ellicott City. Image via Google Street View.

An employee at the District Court of Maryland in Howard County tested positive for coronavirus, the Maryland Judiciary announced today.

The employee last worked at the Ellicott City courthouse on March 12. Some time later, they sought medical attention, eventually leading to a test for COVID-19 on March 17.

The employee told their supervisor today that they tested positive.

The court system has reported the case to the Howard County Health Department, the Maryland Department of Health, and the Maryland Department of General Services.

On March 13, Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera ordered the courts closed to the public from March 17 to April 3 and delayed all jury trials scheduled to be heard in that time.

But the court system is still open for emergency matters, such as bail reviews, arraignments for detainees, protective orders and other cases, and courthouses remain staffed with essential personnel.

In a video message to lawyers, Barbera said many of the hearings taking placed under the emergency order are being conducted over the phone or online. She said that as the pandemic continues, the Maryland Judiciary “will assess what may be possible while safeguarding due process.”

The Maryland Judiciary said it is notifying employees who may have come in contact with the infected individual and sanitizing parts of the courthouse where they worked.

As of this morning, state officials reported 61 new cases of the disease, bringing the statewide total to at least 349 people.

Brandon Weigel


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