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Jury trials paused in four out of five North Idaho counties as COVID cases surge

UPDATED: Tue., Aug. 24, 2021

The Idaho Supreme Court building. (AP Photo/Rebecca Boone)   (Rebecca Boone)
The Idaho Supreme Court building. (AP Photo/Rebecca Boone)  (Rebecca Boone)

The resurgent spread of COVID-19 has forced the halting of jury trials in four out of five North Idaho counties.

The four counties – Benewah, Bonner, Kootenai and Shoshone – officially suspended jury trials for the week of Aug. 30 because of the high incidence rate of COVID-19 cases in their jurisdictions, according to an order from first district administrative judge Rich Christensen.

The suspensions are mandated by a June order from the Idaho Supreme Court that requires jury trials to be postponed if a county has a seven-day moving average incident rate of 25 COVID-19 cases or more per 100,000 people.

Benewah County had a rate of 36.9, Bonner County a rate of 25.9, Kootenai County a rate of 39.9 and Shoshone County a rate of 42.1, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

In addition to the suspended trials, those conducting business at courthouses will have to wear masks and practice 6 feet of social distancing with people not of the same household.

The order could extend into future weeks. Each county will have to see their seven-day moving average incidence rate of COVID-19 drop below 25 for trials to resume.

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