CAMDEN, NJ — Following two confirmed presumptive positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Camden County as of Saturday, measures are being taken locally.
Today, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced that New Jersey courts will suspend all new jury trials until further notice to help minimize community exposure to COVID-19.
“Although the risk posed by coronavirus in New Jersey is still considered low for the general public, suspending these and other activities helps to reduce the likelihood of exposure for residents who would otherwise be required to spend several hours in crowded facilities,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli. “Our administration is working tirelessly to ensure that government services remain available to Camden County residents while we combat the spread of coronavirus. We share the state’s goal to minimize the risk posed to our residents while causing the smallest possible disruption to daily life.”
Statewide 69 people have been reported presumed positive as of Saturday afternoon, one person has died, and a state of emergency is in effect. Bergen County currently has the most presumed positive cases at 25 — with the CDC yet to officially confirm tests for any of the NJ cases.
Those scheduled to appear in municipal court between this upcoming Monday and Friday, March 27, will receive notice of a new court date.
In announcing the cancelation of all reporting for petit jury service, Rabner said no new civil or criminal jury trials would be conducted until further notice. Ongoing jury trials and grand juries are set to continue as of this report.
Jurors who are sick or at risk of exposing COVID-19 are asked not to report.
"New protocols have been implemented throughout Camden County to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the county’s workforce and residents," Camden County officials said in a statement Saturday.
Officials said they are working to maintain cleaning and screening protocols at all county facilities — mindful of particularly sensitive "exposure areas" such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, and handrails.
All work-related travel for municipal officials has also been cancelled at this time.
In-person visits at the Camden County jail have also been nixed, as it works to implement a "pandemic response policy."
"Additionally, all inmates will have their temperatures taken upon booking and release," officials said. "Both the staff and inmate populations have been briefed on proper practices to reduce their risk of exposure and protect themselves from contracting coronavirus."
After consulting with the Commissioner of Health, Gov. Phil Murphy recommended earlier this week a cancelation on all public gathering that exceeded 250 people to mitigate the threat.
“We are in full support of the Judiciary’s response to this public health emergency," Murphy said in support of Rabner's decision.
Murphy and New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator Sue Fulton also announced that the MVC would extend expiration dates for driver licenses, registrations, and inspection stickers in light of recent events.
The NJMVC will grant a two-month extension for the following effective immediately: driver licenses expiring in March, April, and May; Registrations expiring in March, April, and May; Inspection stickers expiring in March, April, and May.