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COVID-19 surge causes closures of Luzerne County senior centers and courts

Magistrate's offices will close for ten days and no jury trials will take place in December and January.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — With nearly 200 new cases of the coronavirus reported on Thursday in Luzerne County, officials are closing courts and senior centers.

All 16 senior centers across Luzerne County and one in Wyoming County are set to close Monday.

"It's sad, but I think it's for our own good with these precautions. Older people especially, who have these conditions, it's better to be safe than sorry," Becky Chackan of Larksville said.

Luzerne County officials said they will stay in touch with the hundreds of seniors who depend on these centers.

"Our staff will be calling these people, making sure they are okay, doing the welfare checks the best way we possibly can. It's the best thing we can do right now, but most importantly, we have to stay safe," County Manager David Pedri said.

Even during these closures, officials said seniors can still stop by these facilities and pick up meals.

"We will be able to still provide meals for every single senior that goes there. If they go there on Monday, they will get seven meals for the week," Pedri said.

Exercise classes will be offered online.

"They'll still have the interaction. They'll have the social interaction. So, it sounds like they will be well cared for. It sounds like a robust plan," Wayne Schwartz of Forty Fort said.

The precautions are also affecting the court system in Luzerne County. Magistrate's offices will close for ten days, and no jury trials will take place in December and January.

Only essential court proceedings like family court, applications for protection from abuse, mental health proceedings, bail postings, and preliminary arraignments will be normally processed.

"In Luzerne County, we have a workforce of over 1,500 people. Unfortunately, yesterday, we found out three of those individuals tested positive. After consultation with our President Judge Michael Vough, we decided to take the safe approach," Pedri said.

The magistrate's offices will close on Friday.

As for the senior centers, they are set to stay closed from Monday through early January.