Two more York County Judicial Center workers test positive for COVID-19

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

Two more York County Judicial Center employees have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, which has previously alerted the public to 17 other such employee infections in the county's courthouse.

The latest employees to test positive for the coronavirus last worked in the judicial center on Dec. 15 and followed guidelines of using personal protective equipment and practicing social distancing when interacting with the public, the AOPC announced on Monday.

The AOPC has said it cannot make public in which judicial center offices the  coronavirus-exposure cases are being reported.

The state agency isn't notified of every case of COVID-19 exposure in York County's courthouse. It's notified only in cases where affected employees' jobs are considered part of the state court system, AOPC spokesperson Stacey Witalec has said.

York County Judicial Center

The judicial center offices and departments that are considered part of the state court system, according to Witalec, are court administration, adult and juvenile probation, county bail agency and its support office, court appointed special advocates (CASA), court interpreters, court reporters, the court's self-help center, divorce masters, domestic relations and county judges' judicial chambers. 

Employees in York County's 19 magisterial district judge offices also are considered part of the state court system, Witalec has said.

She said offices in the judicial center not included in AOPC news releases are the clerk of courts office, district attorney's office, facilities management, protection from abuse advocates, prothonotary's office, public defender's office, register of wills/recorder of deeds and the sheriff's office.

At least two of those offices — the DA's office and the clerk of courts office — have made public announcements about employees who have tested positive for exposure to the virus.

Safety guidelines: In all 19 cases the AOPC has notified the public about, the infected York County employees "adhered to health and safety guidelines including the use of personal protective equipment and social distancing when interacting with coworkers and the public," according to AOPC news releases.

In all cases, court administration alerted public-health officials, who have coordinated efforts to do contact tracing, and continue to do so for the new cases, according to the releases.

Work areas where affected employees had physical contact were cleaned, and such cleaning will be done in the new cases, the AOPC said.

A number of judicial center employees and visitors still remove or pull down their face masks after entering the building, despite York County President Judge Joseph C. Adams' order requiring masks be worn in public areas by both employees and citizens.

His emergency judicial order, which runs through March 31, limits in-person access and proceedings and allows "advanced communication technologies" such as Zoom for certain court hearings.

Adams' order also states:

"All persons must wear face masks at all times in all areas of the building directly accessible to members of the public, while elected officials may establish their own protocols regarding the wearing of masks by employees within areas of their respective departments not directly accessible to members of the public."

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.