Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Hanover Family Court reopens following COVID-19 closure

Published:Thursday | October 29, 2020 | 12:13 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer
Hanover Family Court has reopened after it was ordered closed last week.
Hanover Family Court has reopened after it was ordered closed last week.


THE HANOVER Family Court, which was ordered closed by the Court Administration Division (CAD) last Thursday after a case of COVID-19 was detected there, was reopened Tuesday after it was deemed that the facility is once again safe to carry out its functions.

At the time that CAD ordered the facility close, a decision that was taken independently of the Hanover Health Department (HHD), the agency said it was to facilitate contact tracing by the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the HHD.

Hanover, the last of the nation’s 14 parishes to record a case of the coronavirus, has had a number of cases in recent months, despite the health and safety measures instituted to limit the spread of the deadly virus.

During the period of closure, the HHD had indicated that steps, including deep cleaning, would be done to ensure that the building was safe to use in the shortest time possible.

When The Gleaner visited the Lucea-based location yesterday, staffers reported that the Family Court had resumed operations following deep cleaning and other sanitising protocols, which has made the facility safe..

Kaushal Singh, the medical officer of health for Hanover, told The Gleaner on Tuesday that the HHD had no problem with the decision to reopen the court, while re-emphasising that the HHD was not a part of the decision to close the facility when the CAD ordered it closed.

“Our team, the HHD, is advising them (the Family Court) what to do, like how we would advise any other agency. All institutions have to follow the health protocols, so they need to comply with that,” said Singh. “As I said previously, we did not close them, and so it’s their decision if they are opened.”

Singh further pointed out that the contact tracing by the HHD with regard to the Hanover Family Court staffer that had tested positive for the disease is ongoing, with a view to identifying whether persons questioned are high or low risk. He said those that are high risk are tested and put under home quarantine.

At the latest check of the COVID-19 situation in Hanover, it was reported that the parish had registered four new cases, bringing the overall tally to 124. In comparison to the other three western parishes, Hanover is the least affected. Trelawny had 137, Westmoreland had 209, and St James had 811.