STEPHEN MURNANE | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE
Several Whitman County offices have closed for public availability due to COVID-19 precautions.
The offices that are closed until further notice include the Auditor’s Office, the Elections Office, the Assessor’s Office and the County Clerk’s Office, according to a press release from March 22.
More offices with closures include the Treasurer’s Office, Probation Department, the Juvenile Office, WSU Whitman County Extension Office and the Pullman and Colfax Health Departments, according to the press release.
The county requires a call or email in advance before coming to these offices.
The Department of Licensing Desk closed on March 18. Those who need to renew their licenses can do so online, according to a press release from the Auditor’s Office.
The Recording and Marriage License Desks are also closed. Those with questions regarding these services can call the Auditor’s Office.
Bill Tensfeld, county emergency management director, said the Whitman County Emergency Operations Center activated a level three response to the COVID-19 virus, which means partial activation.
The office operations were decided by each department head and elected officials, Tensfeld said. Each department evaluated risks posed for those coming into their offices.
Business hours will continue Monday through Friday, he said.
If the number of cases continues to rise in the county, level two and level one could be activated, Tensfeld said. Level one means there would be 24/7 staffing for emergency management.
Some county departments will remain open to the public including the Prosecutor’s Office, the Public Works Office and the Sheriff’s Office. The County Commissioners’ Office is open with some restrictions.
Troy Henderson, county public health director, said the Public Health Department is constantly monitoring test results and hospital emergency room supplies.
“We’re talking to community leaders, partners and businesses,” Henderson said. “We’re following state and national recommendations.”
County court cases
Civil jury trials and criminal jury trials will not continue until after April 24, however, trials currently in session can continue with social distancing, according to a report from the county clerk.
Emergency cases, such as restraining orders, will be held over the phone or through other methods.
Telephone appearances are available with no fee at this time, according to the report.
Those with hearings in the superior court and district court need to call the Clerk’s Office to check their case status.
The Clerk’s Office also has suspended processing passport applications. The Pullman Post Office can process passports and is accepting applications online.
“It just allows our departments to provide the service to the public longer,” Tensfeld said. “If someone on the team gets sick, it jeopardizes our ability to provide the services.”
The full list of operations for court cases can be found here.