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‘We’re literally, I think, on the verge of a real crisis': Allegheny Co. Courthouse employees worried about COVID-19 safety

PITTSBURGH — There are now at least two coronavirus cases at the Allegheny County Courthouse.

Earlier this week, Channel 11 reported an assistant district attorney was in the ICU. Now, other attorneys and courthouse employees are saying they fear for their safety.

“We’re literally, I think on the verge of a real crisis at the Allegheny County courthouse,” said defense attorney Patrick Nightingale.

Nightingale and many others continue to express their safety concerns at the Allegheny County Courthouse. There have now been eight confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 among attorneys and court employees in Allegheny County, the court administration said.

“We’re seeing an increase in COVID-19 positive cases out of the Allegheny County courthouse and we’re concerned that court administration is not notifying either people in the courthouse who are affected,” Nightingale said.

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Transparency is something Nightingale and other attorneys have been vocal about in the last few weeks.

“There’s a member of the DA’S office who has tested positive and he’s at home with his wife and his 9-week-old baby. The DA’s office released a statement on July 7 that a third member of their office had tested positive but nobody knew who that person was,” Nightingale said.

Nightingale told Channel 11 if the court is worried about privacy issues when it comes to releasing personal information, there are ways around that issue.

“Waivers from the individual who tested positive. For example, this third individual of the DA’s office did sign a waiver saying the court admin office was free to contact individuals,” Nightingale said.

A statement from the Court Administration to Channel 11 says they are now posting new positive results for court employees who work in public buildings on their website.

Their statement goes on to read in part, “We have assigned over 60 employees who were in contact with a positive testing person to work from home for an extended period of time even though they were outside of the 6 foot/15 minute CDC guidelines. To date, none of these employees assigned to work from home have tested positive.”

But Nightingale says the dialogue needs to continue, because right now not enough that can be done *is being done.

“I’m hopeful that this continued press coverage and the continued dialogue that we’re having challenges court admin to understand what are very real concern,” Nightingale said.