OCA issues guidelines on court quarantine, lockdowns

The Office of the Court Administrator on Thursday released a circular prescribing that first and second level courts, which have been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19 during rapid testing, should neither be closed or placed under lockdown.

In Circular No. 101-2020 signed by Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, it stressed that this was to “ensure that courts will not be unnecessarily or indiscriminately closed to the public on the basis of inconclusive test results.”

The circular pointed out that only after results of swab testing (RT-PCR) and it showed positive result, that courts shall be closed and undergo a 14-day quarantine.

” In view of the DOH (Department of Health) updated Interim Guidelines on Expanded Testing which states that” rapid antibody test kits should not be use as a standalone tests to definitively diagnose or rule out COVID-19… courts or halls of justice shall not be closed or locked down on the basis solely of the results rapid antibody tests, ” the circular reads in part.

The circular continued that judges and personnel who tested positive during rapid testing should immediately undergo confirmatory swab testing which can be undertaken in coordination with their respective local government unit or local COVID-19 Response Team.

Pending release of the results of the swap test, anyone who tested positive during the rapid testing should undergo self-quarantine, or upon the recommendation of the physician who adminisrered the rapid testing, referred possible admission to a hospital for treatment.

“Once the confirmatory RT-PCR swab test yields a positive result, the concerned court which was exposed to the confirmed COVID-19 case shall be closed for fourteen (14) days and shall be immediately disinfected,” the circular added. #

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