All sheriffs at Surrey courthouse tested for COVID-19 after 20 days of possible exposure
Surrey Provincial Court is seen in this photo from the B.C. provincial court website.
VANCOUVER -- Fraser Health has implemented ‘widespread’ testing of Surrey Courthouse staff, including all sheriffs, after people connected to the worksite tested positive for COVID-19, according to the B.C. Ministry of the Attorney General.
The ministry also reports that exposures to COVID-19 at the courthouse took place over a period of twenty days, but says the health authority has found no evidence transmission is happening at the worksite.
Details of the testing and response comes from a news statement released late Friday night by the Ministry of the Attorney General, after the courthouse staff’s union confirmed eight cases of COVID-19 among people connected to the court. The union also said an additional 25 people are self-isolating due to exposure, twenty-three of whom are sheriffs.
“On Nov. 26, 2020, Fraser Health provided widespread testing at the Surrey Courthouse, including all sheriffs,” reads the statement from the Attorney General's office.
Despite the numerous cases, Fraser Health has not declared the site an “outbreak.”
“We understand that this has been a stressful situation for the staff,” continues the statement.
“Recently, Fraser Health notified Court Services Branch staff at the Surrey Courthouse that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 from Nov. 5, 2020 to Nov. 25, 2020.”
The ministry says that all close contacts have been directly notified and told to self-isolate and that “self-monitoring letters have been issued to all staff in the BC Sheriff Service department at the Surrey Courthouse.”
The Fraser Health region has been the hardest hit by COVID-19 infections, and despite 8 cases among staff and 20 days of possible COVID-19 exposure at the courhouse, the ministry says the health authority reports that there are no indications that transmission is happening at the courthouse.
“COVID-19 cases are occurring in the broader community. According to Fraser Health, there is no evidence that there is transmission occurring at the work site.”
The court is continuing to operate and has many COVID-19 precautions in place.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
Nov. 28, 2020: This story has been updated from a previous version that incorrectly identified the Fraser Health Authority of releasing the referenced statement. It has been updated to reflect the correct author of the statement, which is the B.C. Ministry of the Attorney General.