Georgia Federal Courthouse Closed After Guard Is Hospitalized

(CN) – As courts across the country respond to the spread of the coronavirus by postponing jury trials and limiting who enters buildings, a federal courthouse in northern Georgia closed Tuesday after a security officer was hospitalized with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. issued the two-page order Tuesday afternoon after he was told a court security officer who was working at the courthouse in Rome “has been hospitalized with symptoms being treated as a presumptive positive for COVID-19.”

Although he was feeling ill, the officer worked the week before being hospitalized, Thrash wrote.

“The duties of the court security officer … brought him into direct contact with court and agency staff throughout the courthouse as well as members of the public entering the courthouse,” the order states.

A view of Rome, Ga., from Myrtle Hill Cemetery. (Photo via Thomson200/Wikipedia)

Thrash, a Bill Clinton appointee, wrote it will take several days to confirm that the officer has the coronavirus.

It is believed to be the first federal courthouse to close directly because of an infection. The Northern District of Georgia allows electronic filing.

Thrash’s closure order comes a day after he issued a general order providing guidance how the four federal courthouses in the Northern District of Georgia should respond to the outbreak of COVID-19: postponing jury trials and grand jury proceedings 30 days, but keeping courthouses open.

When Thrash wrote his first order Monday, about 100 cases of COVID-19 cases had been confirmed in Georgia. One person died. By Tuesday, the total number of Peach State cases rose to 146, according to state health officials.

The General Services Administration and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Georgia did not return a request for comment. A spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service said the agency did not have a comment for now.

The Rome federal courthouse will remain closed until further notice.

Across the country, the Northern District of California on Monday night announced a full closure of all its courthouses through May 1.

%d bloggers like this: