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Hall County courthouse closes after employee’s family member tests positive for COVID-19

The Hall County courthouse was ordered closed Friday, March 27, to clean and disinfect after a courthouse employee’s family member tested positive for COVID-19.

The family member has not been at the courthouse, and the employee has not shown symptoms and has not been tested, court administrator Jason Stephenson said Friday morning.

Stephenson said the family member tested positive late Thursday night, and the employee was there for a regular work day Wednesday, March 25.

“When the family member became sick on Wednesday night, the employee was instructed to stay home Thursday morning while they sought medical attention,” Stephenson said. “Once we had confirmation late last night that it was the virus, then we notified our employees and made the plans to close for today.”

Stephenson emphasized that the employee had no contact with the public.

“Our policy is 14 days of self-quarantine after exposure or contact with someone who has tested positive. If an employee becomes symptomatic or tests positive themselves, they would not be permitted to return until medically cleared to do so,” Stephenson wrote in an email.

Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“There hasn’t been anybody with any symptoms or any positive test, employee or visitor, that we know of in the building,” Stephenson said. “There is no direct exposure that we know of, but out of an abundance of caution and with some cleaning that we had already planned to do, this just kind of moved up the timeline with the screening measures that we implemented yesterday at the entrance to go ahead and get a fresh start on Monday in the main building after this.

A judicial emergency order filed Wednesday, March 25, enacted temporary security measures, including courthouse deputies screening all employees and visitors by using an infrared thermometer.

They are also asking three questions:

  • Have you or anyone you have been in contact with in the last 14 days tested positive for COVID-19/coronavirus, or have/has contacted a medical professional or otherwise been concerned that you may have been exposed or infected with COVID-19?

  • Are you currently experiencing or have you experienced any symptoms of difficulty breathing, a persistent cough, or a fever of 100.5 degrees (Fahrenheit) or greater in the past 14 days?

  • Have you traveled out of the state of Georgia in the past 14 days? If so, where?

Anyone registering a fever or who answers yes to the first two questions “shall be directed not to enter the courthouse,” according to the order.

Anyone reporting travel to areas deemed high-risk, both internationally and domestically, will not be allowed in either.

These measures are in place until another order by the court or the end of the statewide judicial emergency.

The courthouse annex and other facilities will remain open, and the clerk of courts will conduct business in the deed room found in the annex.