London

2 more London courthouse employees suspected of having COVID-19, total now 4

Two more employees of the London courthouse are suspected of having COVID-19, bringing the total number in that workplace to four and further delaying the opening of the courthouse.

The courthouse has been shut down since last week when a lawyer tested positive

The courthouse in London, Ontario. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

Two more employees of the London courthouse are suspected of having COVID-19, bringing the total number in that workplace to four and further delaying the opening of the courthouse. 

The London courthouse has been completely shut down since March 17, when a lawyer tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The lawyer had recently travelled, according to officials. 

Days later, another lawyer tested positive for the virus. 

On Friday, the Ministry of the Attorney General sent out a notice saying two more employees of the courthouse are suspected of having COVID-19, though their cases have not been confirmed. 

The two newest patients are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and are in self-isolation. 

Everyone feels a lot of compassion for our colleagues and we are all worried for the safety of the people infected," said Erin Rankin-Nash, the president of the Middlesex Law Association. 

The first employee was on the ground floor civil area of the court services office between March 10 and March 16, and the second employee was in the secretarial area on the 12th floor, the Family Law Information Centre, as well as the chambers of two judges.

The second employee may also have been in Courtroom 11 and the chambers of a third judge, according to the ministry.  

Both employees have not returned to the building since March 16, 2020.

Since Tuesday, criminal cases that would have been heard in the London courthouse have been moved to St. Thomas, and six London defence lawyers out of London's more than 70 have volunteered to deal with the cases, to minimize the number of people who are going into the St. Thomas courthouse. 

London's court system is working on a remote, teleconferencing system to be able to handle cases, said Cassandra Demelo, a London criminal defence lawyer and a vice president for the provincial Criminal Lawyers Association. 

There is not enough bandwidth to be able to facilitate a video conferencing system, Demelo said. 

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