Clayton closes courthouse, quarantines staff after COVID-19 outbreak

Operations have been suspended and staff quarantined at Clayton County's main courthouse building after testing on several possible coronavirus cases came back positive.

The Harold R. Banke Justice Center was closed earlier this week because of the detection of COVID-19 in some at the courthouse, which is home to state courts, magistrate courts, the Clayton District Attorney’s Office, detention facilities and more.

“Multiple cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the Harold R. Banke Justice Center, despite the courts and clerks’ offices therein having made every attempt to limit access to only essential functions,” Clayton Superior Court Chief Judge Geronda Carter said in a court order closing the facility.

As a result, staff has been quarantined for 14 days and cases and operations suspended unless they can be continued through teleconference, the notice said. Staff is quarantined from April 6-19.

“Given the nature of the emergency as declared throughout the state, there is no other physical location for public access to each of the courts and clerks’ offices within the Justice Center, except for those services that can be conducted virtually,” the court said in the note.

Court officials did not say how many people have tested positive and whether any of them were staff members.

Clayton had 297 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 11 deaths, as of Thursday afternoon.

The building will be decontaminated and disinfected during the quarantine, the court said.