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Most Kona District Court proceedings postponed until Sept. 15

Most Kona District Court proceedings have been postponed to Sept. 15 after courtroom staff were directed to self-quarantine after a coworker tested positive for COVID-19.

Kona District Court traffic, criminal, small claims, and regular claims cases will not be heard until next week due to guidance from the state Department of Health that directed district court staff to self-quarantine, the Judiciary said Monday.

The only exceptions are temporary restraining order cases, preliminary hearings, and any emergency matters, which will be heard as scheduled​.

The custody cases will be heard in Hilo.

The Keahuolu Courthouse will be open for Family Court and Circuit Court matters, as well as general court services.

Individuals with cases needing to be rescheduled are being notified. In addition, staff will be stationed outside the courthouse today to assist those with District Court matters.

“We sincerely apologize to anyone who is inconvenienced,” said Third Circuit Chief Judge Robert D. Kim. “Unfortunately, our staffing limitations preclude us from conducting the vast majority of District Court cases while the core staff is on self-quarantine at home. We thank those who had cases scheduled for their patience and understanding during these challenging times.

“Our thoughts are with our staff members and we look forward to welcoming them back on Sept. 15.”

Kona District Court has been shuttered since Friday after an employee’s COVID-19 test came back positive.

The individual had last been at work on Aug. 31, the Judiciary said Friday. After getting tested on Sept. 1, the individual was initially told the result was negative.

However, the individual’s provider called two days later, on Thursday, to say that the result was actually positive, said judiciary spokesperson Jan Kagehiro.

The Kona District Court calendar had 103 cases Monday, however, because the employee always wore a mask and did not have close, prolonged contact with nonemployees. The Judiciary was told by the Department of Health that notification of defendants was not needed.

The courtroom was closed on Friday for thorough cleaning and disinfecting.

The Kona District Court employee who tested positive for COVID-19 is the second positive case for a Judiciary employee on Hawaii Island.

The first occurred in early August at the South Kohala District Court courthouse in Waimea, when an employee tested positive prompting the closure of the facility until Aug. 18.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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