Many courts are not currently operating as they did before during this shutdown. They are, however, open, and processing some cases. Here, in Texas, our state courts are holding “essential” hearings, via Zoom. Essential hearings, in the context of Texas Family Law cases, consist of those concerning matters such as temporary restraining orders, CPS child removal, and applications for protective orders (due to allegations of family violence). All others, such as routine divorce temporary orders hearings, are presently not occurring before June 1, 2020.
It was reported earlier this week that with the number of Covid-19 corona virus cases increasing, the 11 regional presiding judges in Texas earlier this week began appointing judges within their respective region to be available to process cases where infected people refused to self-quarantine. The Texas Office of Court Administration is in charge of this project. When can someone be forced into quarantine, and what are the criteria for making that decision? That is what we will discuss today.
Since there have been no reported cases in Texas where a person infected by the Covid-19 coronavirus has refused to self-quarantine, this week’s actions are merely precautionary. According to personnel at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas who I spoke with on March 5, 2020, they have previously had to require patients infected with tuberculosis to be quarantined, when those patients refused to self-quarantine themselves. So, the potential refusal of a patient infected with Covid-19 to self-quarantine should not be surprising.