January 21, 2022

Marion County delays jury trials' return amid COVID-19 cases

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The resumption of jury trials has been pushed back in Indiana’s most populous county after officials say about 90 court employees tested positive this month for COVID-19.

Court officials in Marion County announced Thursday that jury trials would resume “with a phased in approach” starting Jan. 31.

Earlier this month, court officials announced that all jury trials had been delayed and would be reset to dates after Jan. 21 amid a statewide surge driven by the fast-spreading COVID-19 omicron variant.

At that time, nearly 40 court staff members, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, had tested positive for the virus during the first week of January.

About 90 court staff, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, have now tested positive for the virus since Jan. 3, The Indianapolis Star reported. The courts employ about 500 people.

Marion County's jury trials were previously put on hold in late 2020 but they resumed again in March 2021.

This week, all 92 of Indiana’s counties reached the highest-risk level for COVID-19 spread for the first time since state health officials began releasing a statewide risk map during the pandemic.

Indiana’s color-coded coronavirus risk map on the Indiana Department of Health’s dashboard showed that as of Wednesday the entire state was in the highest-risk red category, which indicates very high community spread of COVID-19.

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