FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — A Fresno County courthouse closed Wednesday after representatives said employees were exposed to the coronavirus.
Officials from the B.F. Sisk Courthouse reported two people had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. They said everyone working at the courthouse was sent home and both employees have been tested.
“It’s just a question of when somebody was going to be exposed and could we nip it in the bud and still keep operational because one of the pillars of society is a legal system that is functioning,” attorney David Mugridge said.
COVID-19 already has courts operating on a scaled back basis, and for many like Charles Magill, everything’s been turned upside down.
“I’ve had trails the were set and I’ve set those way out. I’ve had preliminary hearing that have been set and I’ve set those way out until June and July because we’re all just waiting for this to pass,” he said.
Mugridge said this indefinite closure could impact local proceedings.
“Thats a blow, yes, because the Sisk courthouse was handling what we call absolutely necessary civil matters,” he said.
Mugridge said it’s possible the judge could move those cases to the main courthouse.
Magil said everything is operating on a skeleton crew, but still anticipates a handful of people still worked in the civil courthouse.
“I would expect there to be at least two to three Fresno county sheriffs that are there, I’d expect that there are at least tow or three of the civil judges and I would expect that there’s probably for each judge two to three staff people,” he said.
Despite the challenges and setbacks Mugridge says the legal system will continue to adapt as needed.
“The absolutely most critical cases are getting attention. People are getting arraigned on new arrests. Preliminary hearing will be held.”
The court has not announced what role the employees filled or who how they came into contact with a positive case. Officials said the court will remain closed pending COVID-19 test results.
COVID-19 resource links:
- Fresno County
- Tulare County
- Madera County
- Mariposa County
- Merced County
- Kings County
- Kern County
- World Health Organization
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response