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Ott, others in court system test positive for COVID-19
Judge feeling well, planning to conduct hearings by video from home
Newton County Judicial Center

MONROE, Ga. — Chief Judge John M. Ott said he and an undisclosed number of other employees in the court system have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Ott, who was reelected June 9 without opposition, said he felt light symptoms a few days ago including a low-grade fever and tested negative. However, after colleagues in “various offices” at the Newton County Judicial Center tested positive for COVID-19, he decided to get tested again Tuesday morning, June 30.

That test came back positive.

Ott said he’ll be quarantining at home for the next two weeks, but court will continue. He said IT professionals set up a computer at his home so he can conduct hearings unabated.

He’ll even wear the judicial robe.

“We’ll keep things operating, as we’ve been doing all along,” Ott said.

Some in-person proceedings have resumed, but jury trials have remained on hold since mid-March when the state’s chief justice declared a judicial emergency.

Newton County Probate Judge Melanie Bell survived COVID-19 after being diagnosed in March. She was just the seventh case in the county, which had 599 cumulative cases as of Tuesday afternoon.

Georgia passed 80,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. According to numbers released by the Department of Public Health at 2:50 p.m., the state had 81,291 cases since early March.

There have been 2,805 Georgia residents to die from the illness with 11,051 people hospitalized.

Walton County had 399 cumulative confirmed cases as of Tuesday with 28 deaths and 57 hospitalizations.

Newton County had 11 deaths and 87 hospitalizations.