A sign on a door at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta explains why the facility was closed to the public Tuesday and Wednesday. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

AUGUSTA — The Capital Judicial Center in Augusta was closed to the public Tuesday and Wednesday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

An official with the the Maine Judicial Branch’s Administrative Office of the Courts said the facility was open only to employees.

Amy Quinlan, director of court communications, said the building was closed to the public due to a staffing shortage created when the employee was diagnosed with the coronavirus — not because the building was unsafe.

She said cases scheduled for court hearings Tuesday and Wednesday will be rescheduled.

“The court will reach out with new dates for the proceedings that needed to be rescheduled as a result of the closure,” Quinlan said.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Maine, and the nation, has been rising recently, and the courts have taken additional measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The court’s announcement said those who have come into close contact with the employee who tested positive have been notified, consistent with guidelines from the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention.

A sign on the ground outside the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta reminds people to stay 6-feet apart. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“Once notified of a potential workplace exposure to COVID-19, the (Maine Judicial Branch) investigates to determine which employees might have been exposed,” Quinlan said, “and works with employees and with the Maine CDC, as needed, on the appropriate action plan.”

Many dispositional conferences and other court hearings had been scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Signs taped to the door of the courthouse said anyone seeking a protection from abuse order should contact Waterville District Court.

The Augusta courthouse was already scheduled to be closed Thursday and Friday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Quinlan said Tuesday the court was expected to reopen to the public Monday, Nov. 30, but officials will have to reevaluate staffing levels before then.

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