As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is racketing up statewide, officials in the state’s criminal justice system are dealing with an increase in the number of offenders and employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
State Department of Correction officials announced Wednesday that five inmates at the Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution in Enfield have tested positive for COVID-19, the infection caused by the coronavirus which causes fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Two other inmates at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Uncasville have also tested positive, officials said.
DOC officials have locked down both prisons and are providing in-house health care to the seven men. Two staff members have also tested positive, officials said.
At the same time Judicial Branch officials announced the closing of two more courthouses amid concerns for the spread of the virus.
Gov. Ned Lamont said as of Wednesday, more than 3,557 people statewide have tested positive for the virus and there 85 COVID-19-related deaths.
The Stamford courthouse was closed Tuesday after two probation officers tested positive for COVID-19 and the entire staff of the probation office at that location has been self-monitoring for symptoms of the virus since March 19.
Chief Court Administrator Judge Patrick Carroll said Wednesday that at the close of business the Ansonia-Milford courthouse and the Middlesex Judicial District courthouse in Middletown would also be closed. Business from the two courthouses would move to Bridgeport and New Britain, Carroll said.
The move came after union officials representing thousands of Judicial Branch employees expressed concerns about the agency’s ability to keep courthouses clean and provide protective equipment to staff who interact with the public.
Carroll had already restricted court functions to high priority functions including criminal arraignments and the issuance of restraining orders and other emergency orders.
The lion’s share of the state’s 39 court buildings have been closed since mid-March as a step to limit the number of people in courthouses.
“Our overarching goal remains the same: To protect our employees and members of the public from the further spread of the virus by keeping as few courthouses open as possible,” Carroll said.