A juror who reported Monday, March 29, for jury duty has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Hall County Courthouse officials.
Courts coordinator Margie Reed-Payne said the juror developed symptoms overnight and tested positive for the disease.
Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin canceled all trial proceedings for her court for the week, while Judge Jason Deal will use a jury panel that was not exposed for a separate trial.
“Thankfully, our protocols were written for such an event as this,” Court Administrator Jason Stephenson said in a statement. “Health screenings, socially distanced seating, masks, frequent disinfecting, as well as staggered report times, controlled check-ins, sanitizer stations, minimized surface contact – all of these precautions were and continue to be taken in order to minimize the risk and comply with every public health recommendation available.”
Clerk staff are working to notify all jurors who may have been exposed to the juror who tested positive, officials said. Reed-Payne said “no jurors or court staff are required to quarantine at this time.”
Court staff and judges became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine March 17, more than a week before all Georgians over 16 could get the shot March 25.
The courthouse’s committee for resuming jury trials came up with a plan last year on how to safely resume these proceedings, which included putting plexiglass around the witness stand and having the audience watch on a livestream in another room.
The jurors are outside of their typical box and sit spread out across the gallery, according to this new plan. Witnesses now use the jury box which has the plexiglass shield, allowing the person to testify without wearing a mask.
The first Hall County trial of 2021 was held March 10 in Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver’s courtroom.