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Courtroom closed for disinfection after H1N1 scare

September 11, 2009
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CLEVELAND, OH — The Cuyahoga County Courthouse was closed for disinfection after a woman wearing a surgical mask appeared at a hearing claiming to be carrying the H1N1 influenza A (swine flu) virus, according to The Plain Dealer.
Within minutes of the plaintiff''s proclamation, the courthouse cleaning crew was called in and signs were put up on doors around the courtroom on the 17th floor, saying: "Courtroom is being disinfected," and "Do not use computer, phone or desk. Swine flu scare," the story stated.
Cuyahoga County Sheriff Bob Reid said: "If there is a situation where we believe there is any infectious disease, we''ll call central services, the maintenance personnel for county offices. That''s the protocol we''ve had in the 90 days I''ve been in office."
Matt Carroll, the director of the Cleveland Department of Public Health, said disinfecting the courtroom is not something they would recommend because it does not provide meaningful protection against the spread of the illness, and instead stressed that the best prevention is for people to wash their hands frequently and avoid people who appear to be ill, the story noted.
According to the story, about five years ago, a person spit in a courtroom; officials had the room disinfected then as well.
This incident appears to be the first time a county office was closed because of fears related to the H1N1 virus, the story added.
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