Signs outside the old Kennebec County Courthouse in Augusta on Wednesday say that District Attorney’s office is closed because of COVID-19. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

AUGUSTA — A person who works for the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office tested presumptively positive on Wednesday for coronavirus, the district attorney said.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney

Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney made the announcement in a news release around 2:30 p.m., without identifying the person.

At about the same time, the Capital Judicial Center was closed to the public so that cleaning and sanitizing could be completed.

Maloney said the Augusta DA’s office at 95 State St. has been closed to the public out of “an abundance of precaution.”

“All communication will be conducted electronically and via the telephone, Maloney said in the release. “We will have a skeletal crew present in the office to handle in-custody cases, motions to amend bail, and other emergency proceedings. When we are required to be in court we will keep a distance of at least six feet.”

Maloney said she has contacted the Maine Center for Disease Control, and she and her employees will follow all guidelines on hygiene and social distancing.

As of Wednesday, the Maine Center for Disease control had disclosed one presumptive positive case in Kennebec County.

“Clearly the ongoing situation is developing, but our office will continue working to ensure that criminal defendant’s rights are upheld and the public’s safety interests are met,” Maloney said.

She said the employee already had a doctor’s appointment, and told her physician she had a fever and cough, prompting the test to be administered.

“The employee said she had only mild symptoms and almost felt foolish getting tested,” Maloney said, “because her symptoms were so mild, and yet the test came back positive.”

That employee is now at home and has been home since Tuesday. Maloney said other employees in her office have asked to be tested, but they have been told they won’t be unless they start to exhibit symptoms.

She said her office had undergone deep cleaning on Tuesday as part of an effort across Kennebec County offices. Following the disclosure Wednesday, all the surfaces were being cleaned again.

Signs outside the old Kennebec County Courthouse in Augusta on Wednesday say that District Attorney’s office is closed because of COVID-19. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

The Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office employs 24 people and many have individual offices, but they interact regularly. While her staff started working from home on Monday, Maloney said they were all in the office together on Friday.

Even before Maloney closed her office to the public, the Kennebec County Courthouse, where her office is located, was also closed to the public.

Kennebec County Administrator Robert Devlin said public contact had been limited in Hill House, where several Kennebec County offices are located. But because of changing conditions, however, county commissioners decided Tuesday to limit public access even further.

The Maine Judicial Branch has created a web page, www.courts.maine.gov/covid19.shtml, where information about the coronavirus pandemic and the measures the court system is taking can be found.

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