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BOISE — After an employee's spouse tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the Ada County Board of Commissioners and Ada County Clerk ordered the courthouse to be evacuated immediately.

The order came in shortly after 1 p.m. Friday, according to Ada County spokeswoman Elizabeth Duncan.

"We've been operating with a skeleton staff since last Friday," Duncan said, but the positive test moved the county to close the courthouse down until the end of Friday.

Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane said the decision was made with the safety of the public and Ada County's employees in mind. 

"These are all cautionary measures to keep the public and all of our employees safe," McGrane said.

Administrators for the court system were meeting Friday afternoon to determine next steps, he added. 

"We're notifying everyone in terms of hearings, and there are some court proceedings still taking place," he said.

Juvenile Court, located in another facility, is still operational, and McGrane said "high-priority criminal matters" would continue.

"It is suspended for the remainder of the day, and there will be more information coming out moving forward," he said.

Ada County Commissioner Diana Lachiondo said Friday's evacuation was part of the county's preparation for a situation like this.

"We have planned, we have prepared and we have activated those plans," she said.

Commissioner Kendra Kenyon said the decision was made out of an "overabundance of caution."

"This gives staff a break and us a chance to go in and do cleaning," Kenyon said, and added the county would do its best to continue providing courthouse services as the outbreak continues.

"We'll carry on business as usual as much as possible," she said.

Editor's note: The Idaho Press is offering free online access to local coronavirus stories. Our ongoing coverage of the Treasure Valley relies on the generous support from our readers. To strengthen local journalism, please consider subscribing at iptoffers.com. For daily updates in your inbox, sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter.

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