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Marion County jury trials halted after COVID-19 hits staff

marion co jail

(Skye Aitken/WFYI)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jury trials have been halted in Indiana’s most populous county after dozens of court employees tested positive for COVID-19 amid a statewide surge driven by the fast-spreading omicron variant.

All jury trials in Marion County will be delayed and reset to dates after Jan. 21, the Executive Committee of the Marion Superior Court and the Judge of the Circuit Court announced Thursday.

Jury trials were previously put on hold in late 2020 but started again in March 2021, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Court officials said in a news release that the use of face coverings will be “strictly enforced” and limits will be placed on occupancy capacity throughout the courthouse.

Nearly 40 court staff members, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, have tested positive for the virus since Monday. The courts employ about 500 people.

Judges noted in their news release that Marion County’s positivity rate stands at 35.45 percent, which places it in the “high risk” category.

"We will continue to monitor the status of the local health conditions and update our operations based upon those conditions in the future,” the release states.

The fast-spreading omicron variant has pushed Indiana’s number of confirmed COVID-19 infections to an average of nearly 10,000 a day, according to state Health Department tracking.

The surge has left Indiana’s hospitals facing their highest-ever overall patient loads.

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