All courts in 14th Judicial Circuit operating in phase one, no in-person proceedings

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)–As cases of the coronavirus continue to rise around the panhandle, the court system is feeling an impact. The 14th Judicial Circuit announced all courthouses are reverting back to phase one.

In recent weeks, Gulf and Holmes County were conducting limited in-person proceedings as their positivity rate over a two week period was less than 10%. But now, they’ve shut their doors once again.

In order to move to phase two, each county must achieve improving health conditions over a 14 day period as well as a positive rate of less than 10% during that time.

“We also have to have a declining case threshold downward trajectory for at least 14 days so if on any of those given days, if we get a large spike in positive test results, that brings us to 0 in that 14 day downward trajectory,” said Chief Judge Christopher Patterson.

Patterson says the pandemic will impact the judicial system for months to come. He says Clerks of Court Offices’ around the state are facing severe funding shortages due to less court activity.

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