Hennepin County COVID-19 Update - April 4

commissioner marion greene

April 4, 2020

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope you are staying safe in these unsettling times. My office wants to keep you informed of resources and relevant information on county operations during the COVID-19 pandemic – and that’s what’s in this newsletter. We know these are challenging times, but Hennepin County is here as we navigate this sea change.  

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. 

Be well,

marion signature
StayHome MN County

Governor Walz's "Stay at Home" Order 

Governor Tim Walz'sstay 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.  

Stay At Home should never mean you stay somewhere unsafe. There are places of sanctuary open for anyone facing abuse or violence. Please call Minnesota's statewide crisis hotline - available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - at 1.866.223.1111 or text 612.399.9995.

Hennepin County is one of the top counties in the state in social distancing – way to go! Please keep it up! Explore the data here. https://www.unacast.com/covid19/social-distancing-scoreboard The site loads best on a smart phone.

Please refrain from calling 911 for non-emergencies. Residents can report violations of stay at home" by calling 651-793-3746 or by emailing sahviolations@statemn.us

Read more here.

Census 2020


Census Work From Home Day is April 7

As we are all doing our part to respond to COVID-19, one practical thing we can do to help our community right now is respond to the 2020 Census.

The information collected from all of us in the 2020 Census will determine the resources available for our community for the next 10 years.

That’s why we’re encouraging you to complete the census for your household on April 7: Census Work From Home Day.

More than $15.5 billion a year is at stake for Minnesota for health care, education, transportation and other vital programs. That’s approximately $2,800 per person per year or $28,000 over 10 years!

Learn about options to complete the 2020 Census and watch a short video.

View Census 2020 important dates.


Minnesota Health Plans to Waive COVID-19 Related Expenses

Governor Tim Walz today announced that Minnesota’s health plans have agreed to waive cost-sharing for treatment of COVID-19. This move comes in response to the Governor’s Commissioners of Health and Commerce sending a letter on March 13 urging the health plans to remove barriers to coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minnesotans with commercial insurance—including individuals, small businesses, and some large businesses—are now eligible for the following benefits:

  • Minnesotans will have no cost-sharing charges for COVID testing.
  • Minnesotans who are hospitalized will have no cost-sharing charges for in-network hospitalization.
  • Minnesotans will have expanded access to telemedicine services. This will help people to stay home and access care if they need it.

Read more here. 


City of Minneapolis Gap Funding

More than $5 million in City funding and new programming is now being dedicated to help renters, families, small businesses and employees hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Jacob Frey and the City Council partnered on the creation of this special gap funding package. Among other things, the funding will provide housing assistance to low-income renters who have lost income and forgivable, no-interest loans for small businesses. The City is taking steps to make sure these funds complement, not duplicate, the work made possibly by new State and federal funding.

The gap fund for housing includes:

The gap fund for small businesses includes:

  • $2.2 million in forgivable and zero-percent loans to support small businesses and self-employed workers.
  • Modifications to the City loan program: The City’s existing 2% participation loan program for small businesses will be modified to set the interest rate to 0% and expand the eligible expenses to include working capital costs.

Read more about the gap funding package and eligibility information.


Hennepin County Environment and Energy Services

Although Hennepin County Environment and Energy staff are working remotely and limiting site visits, staff are still available to provide technical assistance on a variety of environmental topics, including: 


Library Online Access Update

With physical locations closed, there are still many ways to stay connected with our library.

Read with the children in your life, and keep them exploring and learning from home with resources like ExploraKids and World Book Kids.

From the New Yorker to ESPN to Good Housekeeping, browse and read hundreds of the most current magazines online.

An enormous collection of eBooks are at your fingertips with cloudLibrary.

You can access digitized material from Hennepin County Library's Special Collections. Browse Hennepin County maps from the mid-1800s, look through photos of your favorite Minneapolis neighborhoods or research your home’s background. Our county's rich history is open to view, download, and print!


Park Board Asking for Commitment to Social Distancing


The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is asking for the public’s help in keeping parks and trails open by staying 6 feet apart during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since Governor Walz’s "Stay at Home" order went into effect, MPRB staff, commissioners and park police have been flooded with reports of park users disregarding safety guidelines by crowding popular park locations and trails, not staying 6 feet apart, and participating in team sports and group activities.

The MPRB implores all its park users to strictly keep 6 feet apart to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep the park system open.

Read more here.

See an overview of what's open and closed in Minneapolis parks here


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

Mobilizing workforce to meet new needs

Continued exploration of new ways to deliver service

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

View a video of the presentation.


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.

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.

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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