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Ottawa County Pauses Jury Trials Amid Surge in COVID Cases

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — Jury trials have been paused in a western Michigan county due to a surge in coronavirus cases, court officials said Monday.

Ottawa County Probate Court and the 20th Judicial Circuit Court, based in Grand Haven, will not summon the public to courthouses to serve as jurors, according to a statement released by the court. The courts expect to resume trials Feb. 1. Any trial scheduled to begin before that date will be set for new dates.

Michigan health officials said last week that the state’s record-high COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations could peak in late January or early February, and they urged the public to take steps to help control the spread.

Ottawa County court officials said their decision was made in consultation with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. Circuit Court Administrator Susan Franklin said judges don’t want to bring large numbers of people into the courthouses given the current rates of COVID transmission.

Courts across the U.S. have paused jury trials at various points during the pandemic. The highly contagious omicron variant has prompted additional pauses in recent days, including in Indiana’s largest county and in the state’s second most-populous county.

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