Douglas County court halts trials amid COVID-19 surges

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WATERVILLE — Criminal trials in Douglas County are once again on pause while the region deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Superior Court Judge Brian Huber signed an order two weeks ago canceling all trials through Jan. 31, as the omicron variant pushed local case counts higher. Yesterday, he extended the order through March 31.

The last time trials in Waterville were deferred was in the early stages of the pandemic, beginning in early 2020. They did not resume for a full year. Huber’s order says the key problem is lack of spacing in the courtroom and chambers for jurors to practice safe social distancing.