Court buys air-cleaning machines to fight COVID-19 spread

Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Steven Dankof, left,  and Dr. David Kirschman, President of Aerobiotix, display the Illuvia air recirculation machine that the courts bought to run during jury trials and hearings. 
Implementing the air recirculation machines in courtrooms is one of many precautions the common pleas court has taken to keep jurors, defendants, lawyers and court staff safe during the coronavirus pandemic. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Caption
Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Steven Dankof, left, and Dr. David Kirschman, President of Aerobiotix, display the Illuvia air recirculation machine that the courts bought to run during jury trials and hearings. Implementing the air recirculation machines in courtrooms is one of many precautions the common pleas court has taken to keep jurors, defendants, lawyers and court staff safe during the coronavirus pandemic. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Technology built in Montgomery County that recirculates and cleans air is being placed in downtown courtrooms as judges and court staff continue to take precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Illuvia HUARIS air re-circulation system, built by Miamisburg based Aerobiotix, uses ultraviolet light to eliminate viruses, said Dr. David Kirschman, president of the company. He said the demand for the machines has increased substantially since the coronavirus outbreak, with hospitals, schools and businesses trying to be proactive in fighting the spread.

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The Montgomery County Common Pleas Courts, which handles felonies and civil cases, bought eight of them to place in courtrooms and other shared spaces as it attempts to restart after slowing down because of coronavirus.

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Dankof said the purchases were made to protect jurors and court staff.

“A lot of people have the impression that their government couldn’t care less about them. I can assure them that the common pleas court cares about them. We care about the safety of our staff and our employees. Most importantly the parties that come before us and the safety of our jurors,” Dankof said.

Caption
Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Steven Dankof, left, and Dr. David Kirschman, president of Aerobiotix, display the Illuvia air re-circulation machine that the courts bought to run during jury trials and hearings. Implementing the air re-circulation machines in courtrooms is one of many precautions the common pleas court has taken to keep jurors, defendants, lawyers and court staff safe during the coronavirus pandemic. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Steven Dankof, left,  and Dr. David Kirschman, president of Aerobiotix, display the Illuvia air re-circulation machine that the courts bought to run during jury trials and hearings. 
Implementing the air re-circulation machines in courtrooms is one of many precautions the common pleas court has taken to keep jurors, defendants, lawyers and court staff safe during the coronavirus pandemic. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF
Caption
Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Steven Dankof, left, and Dr. David Kirschman, president of Aerobiotix, display the Illuvia air re-circulation machine that the courts bought to run during jury trials and hearings. Implementing the air re-circulation machines in courtrooms is one of many precautions the common pleas court has taken to keep jurors, defendants, lawyers and court staff safe during the coronavirus pandemic. MARSHALL GORBY\STAFF

Each unit costs about $5,000, Dankof said, with much of the expense being paid for by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, (CARES Act).

“I don’t think we have a tremendous backlog in Montgomery County because we have been pretty thoughtful about it. The judges have been proactive, but there is no question that this technology will allow us to move forward in a much safer fashion, and prospective jurors should feel good about that,” Dankof said.

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The court has also taken other precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19. Plexiglass surrounds witness stands and other areas of the courtroom, large dockets that once filled the courtroom no longer do so as defendants appear via teleconference or are asked to wait outside for their case to be called, masks are mandated inside and so is social distancing.

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