Jury trials were suspended Monday in several courts across metro Denver because of the danger posed by the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19.

Jury trials will not happen in Boulder, Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties until at least Jan. 28, chief judges for those districts decided Monday.

Denver’s courts did not immediately follow suit. Most courts in the state suspended jury trials during the start of the pandemic in 2020, citing the danger of having large groups of prospective jurors gathered inside, but jury trials resumed in 2021.

The unprecedented stoppage of jury trials created a massive backlog of criminal cases that some in the justice system thought would take years to dig out from.

The suspension in the 18th Judicial District comes as the area sees the fastest spread of COVID-19 of any point in the pandemic, Chief Judge Michelle Amico wrote a Dec. 30 order that took effect Monday.

“Today, the hospitals in both Arapahoe and Douglas counties are under strain, with 100% of ICU beds full and approximately 99% of non-ICU beds full,” she wrote.

Amico wrote in her order for the 18th Judicial District that she would continue to closely monitor the spread of the omicrom variant and change the order as needed.

“The decision to suspend jury trials is not one undertaken lightly,” she wrote.

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