After weeks of lowered rates of COVID-19 transmission in the area, Rock County judges have approved some limited in-person court appearances in Rock County Circuit Court.
The judges issued an advisory stating that some in-person appearances will begin on March 1. Jury trials are scheduled to resume on March 15.
“The judges of the Rock County Circuit Court determined that the benchmarks needed for these limited in person appearances were met as of February 18, 2021. This decision moves the Rock County Circuit Court into Phase 2 of the court’s COVID19 operations plan,” the advisory states.
Rock County Public Health Department Epidemiologist Nick Zupan said in a media briefing last week the county was averaging about 28 new COVID-19 cases daily.
“We are continuing to see case activity decline,” Zupan said. “We are moving in the right direction, but we are still seeing ongoing COVID-19 spread in the community.”
The health department estimates there are about 300 active COVID-19 cases in the community, with the county having a recovery rate of 96%.
The news of restarting in-person appearances comes nearly a year after normal court operations were suspended due to the pandemic.
But still, a majority of hearings will continue to be conducted remotely via teleconference. Public access has been available throughout the pandemic. To view appearances in Rock County, visit www.wicourts.gov/courts/livestream.htm.
All individuals appearing for in-person court proceedings must wear a mask. Additionally, they must review health self-screening questions posted at the entrance to the courthouse before entering the building. Hand sanitizer and other health precautionary measures, consistent with the court’s operations plan, are available throughout the courthouse.
As jury trials resume, public access will be admitted in-person on a first-come, first-serve basis consistent with physical distancing constraints of each courtroom. Jury trials will also be live streamed online. Seating for certain interested parties such as victims, family matters, and the press will be reserved for each case.