Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.
CINCINNATI — Beginning Monday at the Hamilton County Courthouse, most court proceedings will be suspended to combat the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19.
"In response to the evolving public health emergency ... the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, General Division and the Hamilton County Municpal Court have limited operations at the Hamilton County Courthouse at 1000 Main Street to combat the spread of the virus," read an announcement from the courts.
All jury trials have been suspended until April 13. If you have been summoned for jury duty, court officials say not to report to the courthouse. Instead, call the Juror Hotline at (513) 946-5879 to listen to a recorded message with further instructions, or visit hamiltoncountycourts.org/juryduty.
Most criminal matters that involve incarcerated defendants will proceed as scheduled. All court employees should report for duty on March 16 for instructions.
Starting March 16, suspended proceedings include:
- Small claims
- Civil matters
- Traffic citations for Room B
- Citations for Room A
- Citations for room 121
- Cheviot Area Court
- Sharonville Area Court
- Any trial room on the first or second floor of the courthouse
For all Municipal Court cases, expect notice of future court dates by mail. For all Common Pleas Court cases scheduled between March 16 and April 13, contact the courtroom of the assigned judge for further instruction.
The Courthouse remains open at this time with court staff available by phone. Courts will continue to accept petitions for civil stalking protection orders and temporary restraining orders. Clerk of Courts operations involving contact with the public will be relocated to the Hamilton County Justice Center.
For more information, click here.
Hamilton County Juvenile Court, taking "proactive steps" to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 over the next 30 days, will move hearings to its 800 Broadway building, including those normally heard at the Youth Center, 2020 Auburn Avenue.
"Hamilton County Juvenile Court will continue to conduct hearings for cases directly impacting the safety and well-being of children or the community, including cases that address shelter care, hearings for residents at the Youth Center, medical emergencies, juvenile protection orders, and children alleged to be in immediate danger and/or public safety," read an announcement from the court Friday.
All other non-emergency cases will be scheduled out past the 30-day plan, including all diversion and unofficial dockets, community court hearings and Youth Court, and parties will receive notification for rescheduled hearing dates.
Following guidance from Gov. Mike DeWine, the Youth Center will suspend in-person visitation until further notice.
For more information on Juvenile Court's changes, click here.
Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:
- Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
- See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.
- State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
- See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.
- SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.
What is coronavirus, COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 45 countries across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.
The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.
What are the symptoms? How does it spread?
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.
The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.
Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.
The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.