Hennepin County COVID-19 Update - March 28

commissioner marion greene

March 28, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I’m pleased to let you know that on Thursday this week, the Hennepin County Board and county leaders met for a first-ever virtual meeting. I have spoken to you about county service delivery evolving, and the board’s methods of work are evolving too. Members of the public were able to call in, and over 300 attendees listened and/or watched from remote locations. The business we conducted and some new updates and resources from throughout this week are below. 

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. 

I have some sad news to share - we have learned of the first COVID-19 related death in Hennepin County. I want to express my heartfelt condolences to the loved ones at this difficult time. Here is a statement I made on behalf of the entire board.

Be well,

marion signature
StayHome MN County

Governor Walz's "Stay at Home" Order Begins

Gov. Tim Walz's “stay at home" executive order for Minnesotans became effective at 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 27, 2020, to combat the spread of COVID-19. The action, which creates a legally enforceable shelter-in-place order, will be in effect through Friday, April 10. The order directs all residents to limit their movements to essential services.  

Hennepin County will be matching Governor Walz's executive order and our libraries, human service centers, and licensing service centers will remain closed through April 10. 

Read more here.

March 26 COVID-19 Response

County Board Actions

On Thursday March 26, county leaders and the Hennepin County Board convened online to offer an update on actions that increase the welfare of employees and residents, and improve healthcare operations and how services are being delivered, including: 

Health resources and time accommodations for employees

Changes to how services are delivered

  • Working with state to relax/eliminate requirements for face-to-face interactions
  • Authorized employees to work from home
  • Authorizing operational changes at facilities
  • Increasing disinfecting in public areas

Mobilizing workforce to meet new needs

  • Hennepin County has set up private spaces for people experiencing homelessness/people living in congregate settings, to reduce their risk of exposure and to isolate those who are sick.
  • Hennepin County’s workforce is rising to the challenge to meet needs at these sites. Within two days of a callout being made to all county employees, more than 100 staff responded offering their help.

Continued exploration of new ways to deliver service

  • Mailing library patron material holds 
  • Using drop boxes where residents can drop off human services documents
  • Enlisting technology when remote work is recommended
  • Deploying resources where help is needed

Continued emergency response and coordination with the Minnesota Department of Health and other partners

  • Mailing library patron material holds 
  • Using drop boxes where residents can drop off human services documents
  • Enlisting technology when remote work is recommended
  • Deploying resources where help is needed

View a video of the presentation.


Accepting COVID-19 Funding

To ensure swift action and maximize grant and other aid funding opportunities, commissioners authorized County Administration to accept COVID-19 funding awarded to Hennepin County.

The unprecedented environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in streams of funding being made available sporadically with very short response times for application and acceptance.

This action will allow County Administration to receive and coordinate local, state, and federal funding to maximize the efficacy of Hennepin County's response to the pandemic. 


REAL ID Enforcement Postponed

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued notice that due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline beyond the current October 1, 2020 deadline. The new deadline for REAL ID enforcement is October 1, 2021. DHS will publish a notice of the new deadline in the Federal Register in the coming days.

Read more here.


Major Provisions in Minnesota Legislature’s COVID-19 Response Bill

The bill contains $330 million in one-time spending to provides financial support to shelter and housing, food supports, veteran’s services, childcare, small businesses, tribal nations and more.


Creation of a Minnesota Fund

The bill creates the COVID-19 Minnesota Fund ($200 million) in the state treasury to pay expenditures related to a peacetime emergency declared by the Governor related to COVID-19. Fund balances may be sent to state agencies responding to the epidemic. Left over funds revert back to the General Fund after May 11, 2020.


Homelessness and Housing

Provides $31.8 million total for housing and shelter needs:

  • $5.3 million for 15% Housing Support increase: rates for room and board limits and rates and supplementary service limits and rates
  • $26.5 million for Emergency Services Grants including:
    • $15.2 million for shelter space: for cost of hotel room or other housing options, in order to provide housing that promotes health and safety or isolate homeless individuals exposed to COVID-19 or experiencing a respiratory illness.
    • $5 million for hygiene, sanitation, and cleaning supplies to support compliance
    • $6.3 million for hiring staff necessary to protect the health and wellness of program recipients for increasing numbers served or staff when workers are quarantined or cannot work because COVID-19


Food Insecurity

Provides $9 million to Hunger Solutions (a statewide food distribution network).  Funds may also go toward transportation providers and to provide support for other items like diapers and toilet paper to meet the specialized needs of families and individuals.Three million dollars of the fund is earmarked for food shelves. 



Provides $29.9 million for childcare supports to be administering through Child Care Aware beginning starting April 1, 2020. Child Care Aware will determine need of recipients and asses provider access to additional funding sources. Priority will be for those who serve children of essential workers. Providers who serve children with special needs or whose first language is not English, and who are open outside of nonstandard hours, are eligible for increased funding. Center, home, family, and tribal care centers are all eligible. 

Read more at MPR News.


MPRB Announces Parkway Closures

In coordination with Governor Walz’s executive order directing Minnesotans to stay home, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) announced parkway closures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

  • Lake Harriet Parkway will be open for pedestrian on Saturday morning, March 28. The Lake Harriet Parkway closure will begin at 5 pm today, Friday, March 27 and will close completely when all vehicles have exited the parking lot and parking bays.
  • The Lake Nokomis Parkway will be open for pedestrians on Monday, March 30. The Lake Nokomis Parkway closure will begin at 12:01 am, Monday, March 30.

The closures will remain in place until the end of the Emergency Executive Order on Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5 pm.

Read more here. 


Hennepin Health

Hennepin Health, which provides health care coverage, is closing its Hennepin Health Walk-In Service Center to the public to protect the community’s health and slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Reach out a different way

Members can access many services via telephone (you may experience a wait). Call 612-596-1036.

Bus passes for members:

  • Call Member Services at 612-596-1036 to reload your current card or for instructions on lost cards.
  • To get a new bus card, go to Metro Transit located at 719 Marquette Avenue S and get a card. Then call Member Services at 612-596-1036 to activate the card.


While continuing to provide essential health care and social services, NorthPoint Health & Wellness is reducing hours beginning Monday, March 23. The clinic will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For the hours of all NorthPoint services visit northpointhealth.org/coronavirus-updates.

NorthPoint is seeing a dramatic increase in need for Food Shelf and are asking for financial donations to support the Food Shelf and the Mobile Food Program. Each dollar donated has at least three times the buying power because NorthPoint can buy food at bulk prices.

  • Donate online
  • Mail a check to: NorthPoint Food Shelf, 1256 Penn Ave. N., Suite 5300, Minneapolis, MN 55411

Hennepin County Mental Health Center

The Hennepin County Mental Health Center is closed. The center is providing many services by phone. Call 612-596-9438.


Hennepin County Services

We continue to provide many services by phone, mail, digital and fax.


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).


Property Tax Payments

The county will only accept tax payments through the website and by U.S. mail. 

The property tax office is currently closed to the public but we are processing payments and will respond to you questions and concerns.

If you need assistance:

  • For the most efficient service email taxinfo@hennepin.us
  • For delinquent tax questions call 612-348-3734
  • For all other property tax questions call 612-348-3011

To make a payment:


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. 

Resources and Access at Home

Immediate Community Updates:

Internet and Online Connectivity Resources:

Experiences Online:

Contact us

Marion Greene
Commissioner, 3rd District

Elie Farhat
Principal Aide

Laura Hoffman
District Aide


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