Local COVID cases falling fast; court eases restrictions

A security officer checks the temperature of a man entering the Imperial County Courthouse in El Centro on Wednesday.

Effective this week the local court has eased some COVID-19 precautions in the wake of a drop in cases. PHOTO CORISSA IBARRA

EL CENTRO — The county continues to see “a very drastic drop” in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, county Department of Public Health Director Janette Angulo reported Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors.

New cases for the week of Feb. 2-8 tallied 975, slightly more than half of the 1,795 from Jan. 26-Feb.1 and less than a third of the more than 3,400 from Jan.19-25.

The death total, however, continued to nudge upward, reaching 859, up from 852 reported the week prior.

There were 62 COVID patients in local hospitals as of Monday with 18 in intensive care. There were five available ICU beds.

The numbers arrive as California residents vaccinated against COVID no longer are required to wear face coverings at indoor public locations effective Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the county Superior Court reported that, effective Wednesday, physical distancing and restrictions to public access implemented in January were lifted. Appointments for the Civil Clerk’s office, Access Center, and Law Library will not be required, but are encouraged as patrons with appointments will have priority over walk-ins.

The court will continue to maintain its safety protocols, including COVID screening at court entrances, hand sanitizing stations throughout the courthouses, and daily sanitization of court facilities.

There was no reported change to Presiding Judge William D. Quan’s decision on Feb. 2 to extend to March 2 his previous order allowing the county’s 10 judges the option of postponing criminal trials for up to 30 days. The original order had been for Jan. 6 to Feb. 5. Both were issued under the authority of state court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.

Staff Writer Gary Redfern can be reached at gredfern@ivpressonline.com or (760) 337-3415.

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