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Access restricted to county buildings, including courthouse, amid COVID-1 concerns

On just about any typical morning, the parking lot at the McHenry County Courthouse would be full, but with social distancing caused by the coronavirus, the parking lot is less than halfway occupied just after they open on Monday, March 16, 2020 in Woodstock.
On just about any typical morning, the parking lot at the McHenry County Courthouse would be full, but with social distancing caused by the coronavirus, the parking lot is less than halfway occupied just after they open on Monday, March 16, 2020 in Woodstock.

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The spread of COVID-19 has prompted officials to limit the functions of several county buildings, including the courthouse, jail, and administration building.

In adherence with an Illinois Supreme Court Order tied to COVID-19 concerns, the McHenry County courthouse has scaled back the number of cases that will be heard in the coming days.

Effective Tuesday, the Woodstock courthouse, 2200 North Seminary Avenue, will be open for the following matters: criminal trials with speedy trial demands, summary suspension hearings, bond hearings and arraignments for people who have been arrested, and bond hearings for people currently detained at the jail.

The courthouse also will hear petitions for emergency orders of protection, civil no-contact orders and firearm surrender orders, juvenile detention hearings, shelter care hearings for children who might be abused or neglected, and mental health hearings for involuntary commitment or treatment.

Anyone who attempts to enter the courthouse for a matter not listed above will be turned away, according to a news release. Those granted entry will be permitted to bring in only keys, a wallet, court papers, and and ID, according to a news release. Medical masks can be worn inside the building, however no other form of masks including bandanas will be allowed until further notice.

Anyone with a pending case before the 22nd Judicial Circuit, should contact their attorney and visit the the Circuit Clerk of the Court’s Website, at www.caseinfo.mchenrycountyil.gov on or after March 23rd to see when their next court date has been scheduled. All scheduled weddings at the courthouse have been canceled until further notice.

In a similar effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, access to the McHenry County Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, has been limited to the front lobby beginning Wednesday, according to a news release.

Visitors will be asked to remain in the lobby while an employee is brought down to assist them. work with them. Many county functions, such as permit applications, can be done online by visiting mchenrycountyil.gov.

Across the street at the McHenry County jail, the front lobby will be closed for the next 30 days starting Wednesday. The vestibule area will remain open for bond posting and anyone wishing to add money to an detainee's commissary account, according to a separate news release. Lawyers are encouraged to schedule visitations 24 hours in advance by calling (815) 334-4745. Video visitation will remain available online at mchenrysheriff.org/corrections/video-visitation.aspx.

The jail's lobby closure is merely a precautionary measure and there are no cases COVID-19 at the facility, according to the release.

As of Tuesday evening, McHenry County was home to four confirmed cases of COVID-19. The first two patients diagnosed with the disease have since recovered, according the McHenry County Department of Health. Two additional cases were identified Tuesday.

For local volunteer opportunities in McHenry County, visit the Volunteer Center McHenry County.

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