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Leon County Public Defender’s Office closed after employee tests positive for COVID-19

(AP)
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 4:15 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Public Defender’s office at the Leon County Courthouse will be closed at least through next week after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.   

Second Circuit Public Defender Andy Thomas confirmed to WCTV that the employee informed him of the positive test on Sunday, and he shut down the office Monday.  

“We had been very fortunate. Up until Sunday, I knew of no one in our office who had contracted anything,” Thomas said. 

Thomas says the employee actually got the test last week after coming in contact with someone with the virus, but made the mistake of coming into the office three times before receiving the results.

Thomas says two employees who came in direct contact with the employee have tested negative for COVID-19 and several others who had indirect contact are planning to get tested.

Thomas says the office has been disinfected and its operations rolled back. He says only a skeleton crew will be allowed to come into the office from 9 a.m. until noon to facilitate calls and messages between attorneys and inmates.

The office has also halted all plea hearings through July, Thomas said.

“We will re-evaluate next Wednesday or Thursday” Thomas said. “If this continues to accelerate, we may have to keep it closed even further.” 

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