State reports 2 more cases of COVID-19 in York County Judicial Center

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 23 other such employee infections in the county's courthouse.

The latest employees to test positive for the coronavirus hadn't worked in the judicial center for the past two weeks, according to the AOPC's announcement on Wednesday.

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.

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, the 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.

York County Judicial Center

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 25 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 judicial order requires that masks be worn in public areas of the York County Judicial Center by both employees and visitors. That order runs through March 31.

The order also limits in-person access and proceedings and allows "advanced communication technologies" such as Zoom for certain court hearings.

New York County President Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook said she thinks those working and visiting the judicial center have "mostly gotten on board" with mask-wearing.

"It's still a week-by-week call as to what we think is safe to do in this building, and we'll have to continue to monitor that because we don't want to put people at risk," Cook said last week.

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