Downtown's Potter Stewart Courthouse at 100 E. Fifth St. has been temporarily closed after a security officer there tested positive for COVID-19. Chief U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley signed the order to close the building Wednesday night.
In the closure order, it says the unnamed Physical Security Officer (PSO), employed by the Federal Protective Services, last worked the morning of Sunday, April 19 and became symptomatic on Sunday evening. He was later diagnosed with the coronavirus.
His duties are described as that of a "rover," meaning he had access to all public areas of the courthouse on all floors, as well as the guard shack, snack bar and security stations.
"In effect, the PSO's responsibilities were such that he could have come into contact with Court employees throughout the Courthouse," wrote Marbley.
"In order to ensure the health and safety of the judicial officers, Court and agency staff, and to prevent possible exposure to the COVID-19 virus, and the spread of said disease, it is hereby ordered that the Potter Stewart Courthouse is hereby closed pending further Order of this Court."
The Clerk of the Court will work with General Services Administration and federal agencies to determine when it is safe to reoccupy the building.
The court is already closed to the public through June 1. Any cases the court was still hearing, including felony plea or change of plea and sentencing hearings, were being conducted through video and teleconferencing technology.