County Updates and Resources

commissioner marion greene

March 21, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Hennepin County is responding quickly and thoughtfully as we successfully change the way we serve you. A big round of thanks to our tremendous staff who are providing continuity and leadership. 

The swift and decisive actions made over the last few days by county, state and city are designed both to protect our residents and manage the strain on our healthcare system -- the healthcare workers, emergency responders, and human service employees who are anchoring the state's response to COVID-19. I thank them for what they’ve done so far and their work ahead. 

The measures we are all taking will slow the spread of COVID-19 and will contribute to keeping our region as safe and as functional as possible in this constantly evolving time. I want to thank Governor Tim Walz, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan and their administration, our partners in our cities and neighboring counties, and last but not least at all, you our residents, who are all pulling together at this time.

Below you'll find the most recent updates from around Hennepin County and the state. Please stay in touch with questions, and be on the lookout for communications and updates on my District 3 page, the Hennepin County COVID-19 response page, and my Twitter and Facebook pages. 

My best,

marion signature

The State of Minnesota has kicked off a “Stay Home MN” initiative. Not all Minnesotans are able to work remotely or stay at home, and collectively we thank front line and health care workers. For those who can stay at home, do. As Lt. Governor Flanagan says, “Staying home if you're able is how we keep our friends, family, and neighbors safe. This is about all of us

Governor Walz Announces Three New Executive Orders

Governor Walz announced three new Executive Orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first bans sellers from price gouging necessary goods. The other two aim to loosen regulations around programs and services administered by the Department of Human Services to ensure they are available to Minnesotans.

Hennepin County continues to work closely with the Governor and Lieutenant Governor's administration, and we are grateful for these actions which will immediately make it easier for us to provide services safely and efficiently to Hennepin County residents.

Read Star Tribune coverage here. 


Housing County-Dependent Residents During COVID-19 Pandemic

On Tuesday, the Hennepin County Government Board of Commissioners approved $3 million to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among folks experiencing un-sheltered homelessness.

As of yesterday, Hennepin County's Office to End Homelessness has located and acquired a hotel to shelter seniors and other vulnerable people who are experiencing homelessness. They are working with shelters to transport approximately 150 people to the new site. The site provides for separation in space to mitigate risk to our most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness.

This has been a massive and urgent undertaking of staff and the shelter community. I am thankful to them for getting as many people to safety as quickly as possible.

That being said, Hennepin County recognizes that shelters are not the answer to the homelessness crisis we continue to experience in the Twin Cities, and our housing providers are still working to find folks permanent housing.

Read Star Tribune coverage here. 


Human Service Center Operations During Closure

Even though county face-to-face visits have been suspended for now, we are still available to help you via phone. Please call 612-596-1300 to speak to a Human Services Representative. We will continue to process applications and respond to phone calls during the closure.

If you need to apply for public assistance, visit ApplyMN or call 612-596-1300 to get an application mailed or faxed to you.

We will have commonly used applications and renewal forms for pickup at our downtown Minneapolis, Northwest suburban, and West suburban human service centers. These sites will have a drop box.

If you need to submit documents, please fax them to 612-288-2981. Fax Child Care Assistance documents to 612-288-2982.

Hennepin County WIC offices are currently closed. WIC is serving participants over the phone. Call 612-348-6100 for assistance.

Read more here.


Licensing Service Centers

County licensing service centers are processing some requests by mail.

Read more here.

Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicle is addressing driver and vehicle services-related challenges that residents may be facing.

Read FAQs here


Hennepin County Library Operations During Closure

Hennepin County has closed all public-facing services at all 41 libraries, human service centers, and licensing service centers through April 6.

Get help from library staff

  • Contact us by email, chat or text.
  • Currently, you are unable to reach library staff at 612-543-KNOW (5669) or library building phone numbers. We are working to have staff available to answer phones, if possible.

Managing your library account during the closure

Due dates for physical materials

  • Due dates for all physical materials have been extended. No items will be due before April 28.

Fines during the closure

  • No new fines will accrue during the closure, because due dates for all physical materials have been extended.
  • Previously assessed fines will still be on your account, but please talk to us about your fines – we’ll be ready to help.

Holds that are ready for pickup

  • Holds that are listed as ready for pick-up at your library will be held there until at least April 15.

Placing new holds

  • At this time, you can continue to place library materials on hold. Existing limits still apply.
  • You will not receive notices about holds during the closure.
  • Once libraries reopen, holds will remain available for pickup for at least one week.
  • If you’re not ready to place holds, remember you can keep track of items you want to read later with the For Later shelf in My Account.

Returning materials

  • Book drops are now closed. Please do not return materials at this time, because staff are not on site to process returns.
  • Due dates for all physical materials have been extended. No items are due before April 28.
  • Thank you for keeping library materials safely in your possession until we reopen.

Library resources available from home

Remember that the library is here for you, even throughout the closure.

Additional details about reduced library services

  • Library events remain canceled through April 30.
  • K-12 Homework Help in-person tutoring remains canceled until further notice.
  • Meeting and conference room reservations remain canceled with no new reservations allowed through April 30.

Learn more here.


MNsure COVID-19 Emergency Special Enrollment Period

MNsure is Minnesota's health insurance marketplace where individuals and families can shop, compare and choose health insurance coverage that meets their needs. It is managed by the State of Minnesota.

MNsure is offering a special enrollment period (SEP) for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance in response to the potential growth of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. This SEP will allow uninsured individuals 30 days to enroll in health insurance coverage through MNsure. 

This SEP runs Monday, March 23 through Wednesday, April 21.

Who Qualifies

  • This special enrollment period is for eligible Minnesotans who do not have current health insurance. 
  • You do not need to be sick to qualify.
  • If you are currently enrolled in a plan through MNsure, you cannot use this special enrollment period to change plans.

Have you lost or will you lose your employer-sponsored health insurance? 
This also may qualify you for a special enrollment period through MNsure. See more about this qualifying life event

How to Enroll

Create an accountcomplete an application and enroll in coverage

  • You must do this on or after March 23 and by 11:59 p.m. April 21.
  • You must select a plan by April 21. Coverage will start Wednesday, April 1. (If you enroll after April 1 and by 11:59 p.m. on April 21, your coverage will have a retroactive start date of April 1.)

If you are currently enrolled in a qualified health plan through MNsure and have questions about adding an uninsured household member to your plan using this SEP, call our Contact Center at the number below.

Help is Available

  • MNsure has a statewide network of expert assisters who can help you apply and enroll, free of charge. 
  • Get online help to access frequently requested services.
  • The MNsure Contact Center is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday at 651-539-2099 (855-366-7873 outside the Twin Cities).


State Sales and Use Tax Grace Period

In line with the state’s continued response to COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) is granting a 30-day Sales and Use Tax grace period for businesses identified in Executive Order 20-04. During this time the department will not assess penalties or interest.

Identified businesses with a monthly Sales and Use Tax payment due March 20, 2020, have until April 20 to make that payment. These businesses should still file their return by March 20. At this time, this grace period for penalty and interest is only for monthly filers and only for the March 20 payment. Businesses can request additional relief from penalty and interest for reasonable cause after April 20.

If you have questions or wish to request more time, call the DOR at 651-296-6181 or 1-800-657-3777, or email

Read more here. 


Metro Transit Suspending Overnight Service due to COVID-19

As part of the ongoing, shared effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, Metro Transit will suspend bus and light rail service from 11 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. beginning Tuesday, March 17.

The exception is the METRO Blue Line airport shuttle between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, stations, which will continue to operate overnight. Trips that are scheduled to begin before 11 p.m. or to end after 4:30 a.m. will operate as scheduled.

“We are doing this to help focus our limited resources on times when demand is greatest,” Metro Transit General Manager Wes Kooistra said. “It is also an important safety measure as the region and nation works through this pandemic.”

Metro Transit's ridership is at its lowest overnight, meaning the fewest number of people will be impacted by the loss of service. Overnight ridership is expected to further decline as businesses reduce hours or close.

Additionally, Metro Transit’s existing operator shortage is expected to worsen due to strong recommendations to stay home in the event of illness, school closures and other factors. The move will also provide more opportunity to clean and disinfect buses and trains, helping to protect riders and operations staff.

For the latest information and service updates visit

Read more here. 


Bethesda Long-Term Care Hospital in St. Paul to Become a COVID-19 Facility

As reported by the Star Tribune, the Bethesda long-term care hospital in St. Paul will be converted in the next few weeks into a COVID-19 treatment center, providing specialty intensive care for severe cases and keeping infected patients from other hospitals.

M Health Fairview had cut operations at the hospital in half this winter due to budget constraints and reimbursement challenges but announced Tuesday that it would now expand Bethesda from 50 beds to 90.

The facility will include 35 intensive-care beds and ventilators. Ventilators have proved to be crucial tools in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic because patients with severe cases often suffer pneumonia and struggle to breathe.

Read the Star Tribune story here. 


Update from Public Defender's Office

Due to the COVID-19 restraints, Hennepin County District Court is limiting its operations between March 16, 2020 and March 30, 2020. If a resident has a court case scheduled during this time, please call your attorney at the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office to determine if your case will be heard or scheduled to a future date. If you do not know your defender’s direct number, please call 612-348-7530 during normal business hours (8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday - Friday) and district court staff will assist you.


Hennepin County District Court Limits Operations

Due to the COVID-19 restraints, Hennepin County District Court is limiting its operations between March 16, 2020 and March 30, 2020.

Find the most up-to-date information from the Minnesota courts here. 

The Brookdale and Ridgedale Court locations, including the courtrooms and court counter, shall temporarily close beginning Monday March 23, 2020 continuing until Monday April 20, 2020. In-custody cases regularly scheduled at these locations shall be heard on the morning calendar at the Public Safety Facility, Courtroom 141, 401 South 4th Street Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Marion Greene
Commissioner, 3rd District

Elie Farhat
Principal Aide

Laura Hoffman
District Aide

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