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Federal court proceedings in Maryland suspended until Jan. 15 due to coronavirus

All in-person federal court hearings and proceedings have been suspended through Jan. 15, due to the steady surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the state, according to an order filed by Chief Judge James Bredar on Thursday.

The order comes nearly a week after the U.S. District Court of Maryland had reduced operations significantly for a minimum of two weeks in response to constant spread of coronavirus.

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“Since that time, the situation in the State of Maryland has continued to deteriorate,” Bredar wrote in the court order.

The statewide seven-day positivity rate was about 7% Friday, and “continues on an upward trajectory,” Bredar wrote.

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Bredar also acknowledged that the situation could be exacerbated by the coming holidays.

“The Court also notes the upcoming holiday season and recognizes the likelihood of greater community spread and worsening data in the coming weeks,” Bredar wrote.

Cases have grown rapidly in the state since the previous ruling. On Friday, Maryland reported 2,353 coronavirus cases and 25 deaths, marking it as the second-highest daily case total and the second-most deaths in the state as a result of the virus since June.

Criminal and civil trials on the state level also have been suspended until at least January, an order Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued last week. Some court functions will continue to operate on a limited basis.

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