County Reopening Policy/Info

Please refer to this page for updates on Warren County Government’s strategy and protocol for reopening in a safe and effective manner, to both protect the County Staff and to also make sure the public can access services in a protected environment. If you have any questions, please call the Chief Clerk, Pam Matve at 814-728-3402 or email her at pmatve@warren-county.net, and she’ll do her best to forward your question/comment to the correct party.

PROTOCOLS FOR THE REOPENING OF WARREN COUNTY PUBLIC FACILITIES WHILE UNDER COVID-19 EMERGENCY DECLARATION

April 30, 2020

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. General Principles
  2. Screening
  3. Logistics Facilitating Social Distance and Reducing Risk of Spread of COVID-19
  4. (Protocol for County/Court Staff)
  5. (Equipping of County/Court Staff)

I. – GENERAL PRINCIPLES

a. STATEMENT OF BALANCE OF INTERESTS

In implementing this Protocol, it is the intent of the Warren County Commissioners and the President Judge of the 37th Judicial District of the Court of Common Pleas:

To make available to the constituents of Warren County the services of its public offices while balancing the known means of spread of the coronavirus identified as COVID-19 counteracted with practices recognized by the CDC and other guiding health organizations as minimizing the spread of the virus.

b. DEFINITIONS:

i. “County/Court Staff” shall include all employees, department heads, and elected officials.

ii. “Facilities Open to the Public” shall include the following:

  1. Warren County Courthouse;
  2. Warren County Magisterial District Court Offices;
  3. Domestic Relations Office of the 37th Judicial District;
  4. Warren/Forest County Human Services;
  5. Warren County Children & Youth; and
  6. Warren County 911 Center in Youngsville, PA;

iii. “Members of the Public” shall include all other members of the public, regardless of business, including but not limited to attorneys at law, independent contractors, and law enforcement other than Sheriff’s Deputies and staff.

c. AVAILABILITY OF SERVICES: If any Member of the Public is denied access to a facility due risk factors relating to COVID-19, the office should continue to offer “curbside service”, which to date has involved:

i. A phone call by the Member of the Public to the office where they wish to conduct business to coordinate services without personal contact.

ii. Original documents delivered by a person denied entry shall be placed in a manila envelope. Single point staff will write the person’s name, phone number (if available), appropriate department and date on the envelope and leave it in a basket at single point of entry. The Chief Clerk will check the basket several times a day and deliver the envelopes to the appropriate offices. The Member of the Public who was denied access will also be given a card with a list of department contacts so they may schedule a follow up appointment with the appropriate office once they no longer have symptoms.

II. SCREENING

a. Persons to be Screened:

All Members of the Public and all County/Court Staff will be screened upon entering the building. Members of the Public will be screened by the single-point staff and County/Court Staff will be screened by their direct supervisors.

>b. Screening Protocol: The Screening Protocol will be the one provided by the CDC, including the following:

  1. A Member of the Public will be required to answer a questionnaire regarding any symptoms. If they have any of the symptoms listed on the questionnaire, they will have their temperature taken by infrared thermometer. A flowchart showing the functioning of this questionnaire is attached to this protocol as APPENDIX A.
  2. If a Member of the Public is found not to pass the Screening Protocol, the individual will be denied entry. Individuals denied entry will be given the opportunity to follow procedures under I(c) Availability of Services for access to the requested office.

III. LOGISTICS FACILITATING SOCIAL DISTANCE AND REDUCING RISK OF SPREAD OF COVID-19

  1. Social distancing protocols will be followed by all individuals entering a County facility including the use of masks. Lines and directional arrows may be placed in offices to direct traffic and facilitate social distancing.
  1. County/Court Staff are advised to touch common surfaces/areas as minimally as possible and after doing so, use precautions to sanitize.
  1. Water Fountains and coat racks will be closed off for use.
  2. County/Court Staff are reminded to follow CDC guidelines to protect themselves and others including:
  • Social Distancing (within about 6 feet)
  • Washing hands with soap and water or utilizing hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a mask when around others.  Every employee will be required to wear a mask when having contact with other at work including fellow employees and Members of the Public.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use inside of your elbow.
  • Throw tissues in the trash and immediately sanitize your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  1. Public spaces will be regularly sanitized including restrooms.

IV. OFFICE CAPACITY
a. Members of the Public will be required to comply with any limits on office space personal capacity placed in effect by specific departments within the Courthouse. Members of the Public are encouraged to call ahead to the Departments of interest to schedule appointments and reserve their capacity. APPENDIX B lists the quotas to be maintained for each office. It will be the responsibility of each department director to maintain the number of Members of the Public in their department at or below the number listed in APPENDIX B. If an issue arises with individuals not complying with this regulation, it will be the responsibility of the Department Director to report the issue to the Sheriff’s Office, who will respond and enforce the order.

V. PROTOCOLS FOR COUNTY/COURT STAFF.
The following conditions will be required of all County/Court Staff at County facilities open to the public.

  1. Mask. Every employee will be required to wear a mask when having contact with others at work including fellow employees and Members of the Public.
  2. Hand washing. Employees are encouraged to wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer as frequently as possible or at any time it appears reasonable or necessary.
    1. Sanitization
      a. A Sanitization shall consist of:
      1. Application of bleach water mixture or other disinfectant wipes on the following areas
        1. The main exchange table where business is conducted
        2. Other areas common to public access (doorknobs, door edges, pen holders, etc.)
        3. Any other areas known to be contacted by the public in the last business day.
      2. Supplies for sanitization shall be provided by the county or may be supplied by employees at their preference.

b. Sanitizations should take place as necessary after a Member of the Public visits common areas (i.e. a conference table, desk, or chair) in any facility/office.

  1. Reporting:
    Employees shall report to their Department Directors, and subsequently the Director shall report to the Sheriff’s Department the following events:
    1. A report of an ill worker or member of the public.
    2. A member of the public who refuses to maintain social distance or comply with any other conditions.
  1. Self-Reporting
    1. If an Employee begins to experience any symptoms while at work, they shall report to the head of their department.
    2. The head of department may grant sick leave.
    3. The Employee shall give a report of every individual they have been in contact with at the individuals place of work for the last five business days to their department head.
  1. All reported incidents will be forwarded to the Sheriff’s Office, County Commissioners and President Judge. Court Employees shall continue to follow the exposure protocols as established by President Judge and the Commissioners.
  1. EQUIPPING OF COUNTY/COURT STAFF.

In order to conduct Screening at the Courthouse or other facility, Security

Staff or office personnel shall be equipped for the following:

  1. The wearing of masks during screening is mandatory. Cloth masks should be washed regularly. Medical-grade masks can be sprayed with a disinfectant.
  2. A supply of gloves to be replaced regularly. Any material requests or equipment requests (gloves, masks, cleaning products) shall be directed to the Chief Clerk, who will coordinate with the Emergency Services department for fulfillment.
  3. Proper training on how to conduct the screening. Questions on the proper conduct of screening shall be directed to the Sheriff’s Department.

APPENDIX A

COVID-19 SCREENING FLOWCHART

SYMPTOMATIC INQUIRY:

  1. Are you experiencing any cough or shortness of breath that seems abnormal to you?
  2. Have you been experiencing at least two of the following symptoms?
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

If they answer yes to either of the previous two questions, please test the individual’s temperature.

Infrared Temperature: Do they have a fever of over 100.4?

If yes to any of these questions and a temperature of 100.4 or over, DENY ENTRY.

COMPLAINT PROCESS

Any person who believes that they are being unjustly denied access to the Warren County Courthouse and/or a Magisterial District Court may immediately:

  1. Contact Linda Critzer, District Court Administrator of the 37th Judicial District of Pennsylvania by telephone at 814723-3530 or by email at lcritzer@warren-county.net. To address being deprived of access to the Warren County Courthouse or a Magisterial District Court; and/or
  2. File a petition with the Court of Common Pleas, which may be done by the “Curbside Service” set forth in Section I.c. in the Protocol

Any County/Court Staff or Member of the Public who believes that this policy is not being adhered to by any department may submit to the Warren County Commissioners a written report at 204 Fourth Avenue, Warren, PA 16365, or by telephone to 814-728-3402.

APPENDIX B

OFFICE QUOTAS FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING

Below is the chart showing the maximum number of visitors per department for the purpose of social distancing. It is the Department Director’s responsibility to maintain these levels with enforcement available from the Sheriff’s Department.

Department Max # of Visitors
Adult Probation Court’s Discretion
Assessment 6
Auditors 2
Commissioners/Finance/Human Resources 3
Court Hearing Office Court’s Discretion
District Attorney 5
Domestic Relations Court’s Discretion
Elections 1
Courts Court’s Discretion
Juvenile Probation Court’s Discretion
Maintenance 4
Planning & Zoning 2
Prothonotary 3
Public Defender 2
Register/Recorder 2
Abstractors 10
Treasurer 2
Tax Claim 1
Veteran’s Affairs 4
Sheriff Office No Visitors
MDJ Bauer Court’s Discretion
MDJ Woodin Court’s Discretion
MDJ Zydonik Court’s Discretion
Info Technology 2
Crime Victims Office Discretion