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Court: Jury trials canceled due to spike in COVID-19 cases
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The Hall County court system has canceled its upcoming jury trials out of health concerns related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Courts coordinator Margie Reed-Payne said Wednesday, Nov. 25, the jury trial week for Nov. 30 was canceled for “safety reasons.”

“After a careful review of the most recent Georgia (Department) of Public Health data, it appears Hall County is experiencing a spike in COVID cases,” Reed-Payne wrote in an email.

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Anyone who was required to report for jury duty in Hall can contact the Hall County Clerk’s Office at 770-531-7025 or visit the court’s website, nejc.org, for more information.

A competency trial was scheduled next week for Talon Lowery, who was charged in a Nov. 6, 2017, murder indictment of shooting Bryan Ramirez, 18, four days earlier at the Texaco station on Cleveland Highway. 

A defendant is deemed competent if he “understands the trial process and whether he can cooperate with his attorney,” Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh previously told The Times.. 

According to data from Northeast Georgia Health System, there are 146 confirmed positive patients currently being treated Wednesday, Nov. 25, and another 36 patients awaiting test results. The confirmed patients total is the highest on record for NGHS since Aug. 17, when there were 153 confirmed patients and 96 patients awaiting test results. The system reported on Aug. 10 a peak of 179 COVID-19-positive patients. 

Meanwhile, the Georgia Department of Public Health has so far reported more than 12,000 cases in Hall since the start of the pandemic, as well as more than 1,200 hospitalizations and 191 confirmed deaths.

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