We have been receiving questions from members of the Bar regarding precautions and plans for the El Paso County Courthouse due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. I'd like to share a brief update with you to share with the Association.
Our team at the courthouse has been in daily contact with El Paso County and State Judicial to coordinate a response and prepare for local impacts on court operations. The most immediate changes were to increase the cleaning and sanitization of high traffic locations throughout the courthouse. Teams responsible for customer service areas at the courthouse are also sanitizing and ensuring prevention measures are in place. Although increased sanitization is an integral part of prevention, common sense personal measures (e.g., frequent handwashing with soap, avoid touching face, and social distancing) are still the best protection against transmission. In line with CFC and public health agency recommendations, we have instructed employees that are showing symptoms of respiratory illness to remain home.
This week we modified juror reporting information to instruct jurors showing any symptoms of respiratory illness to request a postponement of their service. We are continuing to place a lot of emphasis on jury service, and we are considering plans to significantly reduce the number of jurors summoned and the number of jury trials scheduled for the foreseeable future.
On our website today, we announced additional information for litigants and visitors to the courthouse. We are asking those that are showing symptoms of an acute respiratory illness or those that meet requirements for self-quarantine to avoid the courthouse. Instructions are provided for how cases or matters can be addressed over the phone or by email. This will be an evolving process, and we will continue to keep this information current. You can view the notice by following the link below.
We are working hard to balance the need to keep the doors of justice open, while also recognizing the importance of limiting close personal interactions to stop the spread of COVID-19. I expect that our daily court operations will continue to adapt as it may be necessary to shift our resources to support functions that must continue to take place. To the greatest extent possible, we will encourage telephonic or video appearances, when appropriate.
We will continue to post updates regarding our response to COVID-19 and its impact on court operations on our website. I will also keep the El Paso County Bar Association informed of any significant changes to the status of the courthouse.
Scott Sosebee | Court Executive
4th Judicial District
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