Julieta Degracia kept the halls of the courthouse safe during her years of service at the King County Sheriffs Office.
Julieta Degracia kept the halls of the courthouse safe during her years of service at the King County Sheriff's Office. Lester Black

On Sunday Julieta Degracia, a screener at the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle, died with COVID-19 "on the same day her husband Lorenzo (Lorie) and daughter Vanessa were released from the hospital," according to an internal memo from the King County Sheriff's Office.

"She had a beautiful smile and always had a kind word and warm greeting for everyone," Sheriff Mitzi G. Johanknecht said in an email to the sheriff's office. "She was also incredibly thoughtful, often bringing back gifts for her co-workers from trips to her native Philippines."

Degracia is survived by her husband, to whom she'd been married for 47 years, three children, and three grandchildren. Her husband is also a screener at the King County Juvenile Court Youth Services Center.

Degracia is the first person from the King County Sheriff's Office to die from COVID-19. She's served as a screener at the KCSO since 1999.

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Though courts across the country began shutting their doors for non-essential operations in early March as the coronavirus spread, King County Superior Court, where Degracia worked, remained open and busy until March 19, when the State Supreme Court postponed "all out of custody criminal matters already pending" and some in custody cases through April 24.

On April 29, the Supreme Court extended the order but loosened some restrictions, allowing non-emergency civil hearings in person "with strict observance of social distancing and other public health measures," but encouraged remote hearings.

This is a developing story.

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