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A Monterey County Superior Court employee who works at the Monterey courthouse has tested positive for Covid-19, and certain courthouse personnel are being told to self-quarantine for two weeks and get tested for the virus.

In an email sent to court personnel today, Sunday, June 14, Court Administrative Officer Chris Ruhl says certain court personnel who were physically at the courthouse starting on Tuesday, June 9 are being told to stay home, get tested and self quarantine for two weeks. The employees include all clerks area employees on the first and second floors of the courthouse.

Other employees, including bailiffs, private security staff, attorneys, probation officers and judicial officers who may be impacted, are being contacted directly today, June 14.

Cases for the Monterey courthouse will continue to be heard this coming week, Ruhl writes, and the courthouse underwent sanitization on Saturday. The clerk’s office windows will be closed to the public on Monday, June 15, but may reopen again on Tuesday for the rest of the week, depending on available staffing. 

Services that have been being provided remotely, such as the Self-Help Center, will continue to be provided remotely. 

The Marina courthouse, where traffic and small-claims cases are heard, was closed part of Thursday, June 11, and all day June 12 after an employee there showed symptoms of Covid-19 and then received positive test results. That courthouse was deep cleaned on Friday and will reopen to the public on Monday, June 15.

"As the employee who tested positive had limited and minimal direct interaction with the public, [the California Department of Public Health] has advised that notice to the public is not needed under these circumstances, because there is little to no risk that members of the public were exposed," Ruhl writes. 

In all, between the Monterey and Marina courthouses, 35 employees are being asked to self-quarantine and get tested. The system has about 190 employees altogether. 

As to the staffers on self-quarantine, "if their jobs are ones that can be done remotely, we will ask them to work remotely, or they have the option of taking leave," Ruhl tells the Weekly

The Superior Court is doing internal contact tracing, with advice from the county Health Department on what to ask. 

"We ask a whole series of questions, where they've been during the previous 48 hours, who they may have had contact with and who they've been closer to than six feet," Ruhl adds. 

"We've done everything we can to make the courthouse as safe for people as it possibly can be, and there is always an element of risk here that's heightened because we're now reopened to the public and our staff is back on site."  

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