coronavirus pandemic

Judicial Branch Prepares to Begin Reopening Some Conn. Courthouses

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The Connecticut Judicial Branch is conducting safety inspections and making modifications at five courthouses, where operations have been suspended because of the pandemic, in hopes of reopening the locations by May 17.

In a statement released Friday, Chief Court Administrator Patrick L. Carroll III said the goal is to make the upgrades necessary to allow for the safe, and socially distanced return of judges and staff at courthouses in Derby, New London, Manchester, Putnam, and Rockville.

“As more and more COVID restrictions are being lifted or modified and as more and more Connecticut residents are being vaccinated against the virus, the Judicial Branch is now in a position to cautiously and incrementally move forward with plans to further increase the scope and volume of judicial business being conducted by its judges and employees,” Carroll said in a written statement.

As the U.S. is poised to expand coronavirus vaccine eligibility to all American adults, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that reopening communities before July 4 will not be an issue of vaccine supply but consumer demand, and encouraged all Americans to remain vigilant and get the vaccine as soon as they are able to.

A spokeswoman for the Judicial Branch said all but three courthouses will remain closed after May 17. Those three include Geographic Area courts in Enfield and Norwalk, and the juvenile court in Waterbury.

Meanwhile, Carroll said the branch is also planning to expand the scope and volume of criminal dockets in all open GA courthouses and reduce the backlog of pending cases.

“As the Judicial Branch embarks upon this effort to resume operations in more of its facilities and increase the volume of judicial business being conducted each day, we will continue to carefully monitor operations and make any adjustments that may be necessary,” he wrote. “The goal is to safely return to near normal operations over the next few months.”

Meanwhile, Connecticut on Friday edged closer to 8,000 COVID-19-associated deaths. Data released by Gov. Ned Lamont’s office indicate five more reported deaths since Thursday, for a total of 7,995. There were more than 1,000 new confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 as well.

Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has decreased by 105.3, a decrease of 8.2%, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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