All nonessential functions in Douglas County’s building are closed to the public to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, the Douglas county administrator and County Board chairman announced Friday.

The majority of the entrances to the Government Center and Douglas County Courthouse will be locked and anyone needing to do business with Douglas County is encouraged to call or email instead of meeting in-person.

Residents can arrange appointments and will receive information on how to enter the buildings by contacting individual departments.

Douglas County Circuit Courts will remain open for essential functions like bail hearings, criminal court proceedings for defendants in custody, emergency detention hearings, delinquency and mental health commitments, guardianship and protective placement hearings, termination of parental rights, restraining orders and other time-sensitive hearings.

All jury trials scheduled through June 1 have been canceled.

Hearings for noncustodial defendants will be rescheduled for a date after June 1 either by mail for unrepresented defendants or through attorneys in cases with representation. Anyone scheduled to appear in court is advised to check Wisconsin CCAP online or call the Clerk of Courts Office at 715-395-1203 before leaving home.

The Clerk of Courts Office and Probate Offices will continue to accept filings when the courthouse is open, but litigants are encouraged to file pleadings and other documents electronically. Call the appropriate office in advance, an order issued by Judge George Glonek said.

Signs are posted on an entrance to the Government Center in Superior Monday, March 23, explaining the limited access due to the COVID-19 health emergency. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)
Signs are posted on an entrance to the Government Center in Superior Monday, March 23, explaining the limited access due to the COVID-19 health emergency. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Anyone with a court appointment should enter the courthouse on the east side (Cumming Avenue) entrance from 8:30-10:30 a.m. or 1-3 p.m.

The Clerk of Courts Office has information on its website for making payments, filing new cases or documents and requesting records at douglascountywi.org/ClerkofCourts.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department and Jail information and guidelines can be found on its website, sheriffofdouglascountywi.org.

Human Service functions such as child protective services, adult protective services, crisis services, adult mental health and substance abuse, children long-term support, juvenile intake and economic support will continue in a limited capacity.

Voting services for Superior residents will continue, and the public can enter at the Government Center at the small door to the right of the main entrance.

It is important to note that the coronavirus outbreak and public response is extremely fluid and subject to change, County Administrator Ann Doucette said. County officials are continually assessing conditions in consultation with the Douglas County Health Department, she said. Regular updates will be posted on the county’s website at douglascountywi.org/Covid19.

The county is also following guidance from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

While the measures being implemented are disruptive, they are essential to mitigate the impact of coronavirus and protect the health of the public and county employees, Doucette said.

“We are all in this together, and we all need to do our part to slow the spread of this virus,” Doucette said. “As we continue to closely monitor the coronavirus outbreak, we urge Douglas County residents to keep distance from others, avoid gathering in groups of 10 or more, and stay home, if possible.”

For the latest guidance, visit the CDC’s COVID-19 website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website at www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19.

To reach county offices, go to www.douglascountywi.org/departments.

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