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Non-emergency in-person hearings will remain suspended at the Cole County Courthouse until Nov. 30 after a courthouse employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The courthouse went into this status at the beginning of the month just as it did in August when another employee tested positive.

"Additionally, there will not be any jury trials until the first week of January," Cole County Presiding Judge Pat Joyce said. "In the case of criminal dockets, defendants are urged to contact their lawyers about their court dates until Nov. 30. Any defendant that is not represented by a lawyer needs to appear at the courthouse on their court date to obtain a new court date and to avoid the issuance of a warrant."

Hearings may still be conducted by video in lieu of in-person. Joyce said the parties involved will be notified by email and mail if the next court date in the case is being conducted this way.

All litigants are urged to check the status of their case on www.courts.mo.gov/casenet and sign up for "track my case."

Emergency requests may be brought to the courthouse and will be processed.

Priority has been given to felony cases, juvenile cases, orders of protection, custody cases with allegations of abuse and emergency guardianships, judges said.

Any person who would be allowed into the courthouse will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Temperatures will be taken. Contact information will be gathered. Family members and friends will not be able to enter with a litigant unless prior approval is obtained.

Every person will be required to wear a mask except while testifying, and they should bring their own mask. Enhanced cleanings of the courthouse will continue.

Anyone who needs an order of protection or continuance is encouraged to submit the form by email to [email protected]

Those who need to contact the Cole County Circuit Clerk's Office should do so via email to [email protected] when possible, including a case number. Those without access to email may call 573-634-9171.

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