Chief Judge Melissa Gillespie has announced new protocols for communication and testing related to COVID-19 in provincial courthouses.
The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately, after representatives of the three levels of the court and court services branch met with senior health officials.
There are five main components, featuring a public health guidance document that’s publicly posted, and a webpage created by the BC Centre for Disease Control. Each regional health authority is responsible for investigating COVID-19 related incidents at courthouses within their jurisdiction as well as “response and timely communication” with the courts, Court Services Branch and “where appropriate” the public.
“If there is to be group testing at a courthouse, notice will be communicated by the regional health authority to those court participants relevant to the investigation,” the announcement reads. Moreover, there will be “targeted access” to COVID-19 testing related to “anticipated or ongoing court proceedings where, for example, a court participant is experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms and testing is required to determine whether the court proceeding can continue as scheduled.”