Reporter's note: This article was updated at 12:31 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, to add more information about the estate's office.
BEAUFORT — Carteret County court rooms and the clerk’s office will reopen for business Thursday morning following three days of deep cleaning after Clerk of Court Ken Raper was diagnosed with COVID-19.
The Carteret County Courthouse in Beaufort was closed Monday through Wednesday for the cleaning and will reopen at 8 a.m. Thursday.
In a phone interview with the News-Times Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Raper said he had been experiencing what he thought were allergies but sought testing for his symptoms. He received the positive COVID-19 confirmation Sunday afternoon and consulted with the state Administrative Office of the Courts, the state oversight agency for operations of courts, County Manager Tommy Burns and County Health Director Stephanie Cannon about closing the county courthouse.
“I was concerned for the well-being of the public and all the personnel in the building and didn’t want to take any chances,” Mr. Raper said.
The clerk expressed appreciation for the willingness of local agencies to respond to his concerns.
“Stephanie Cannon at the health department along with CVS Pharmacy were quick to provide COVID testing,” he said.
Mr. Raper noted there could be some delays in operations when the courthouse reopens because only about half the staff have gotten results back from COVID-19 tests. As of Wednesday afternoon, 11 staffers, about half the full-time department, had been cleared to return to work.
“Others have told me they’ll be back at work as soon as they’ve been cleared,” Mr. Raper said.
In an effort to protect the safety of customers and staff, Mr. Raper asks anyone who has business with the estates office to make an appointment in advance by calling 252-504-4455.
Mr. Raper said his COVID-19 symptoms are mild and he intends to return to work following recovery.