January 2021 newsletter: Information on COVID-19, budget update, Winter Reads

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January 2021 Newsletter

In this issue:

- Coronavirus/COVID-19 update.
- 2021 budget and legislative update.
- Winter Reads. 
- Scavenger hunt.
- Snow removal tips.
- Newsletter subscription.
- Upcoming events.
- In the news.

two people cross county skiiing

COVID-19 updates

Restrictions to loosen for restaurants, bars and sports

Gov. Walz has announced several changes to Stay Safe, Minnesota. Beginning Monday, Jan. 11, indoor service at bars and restaurants will resume at 50% capacity with establishments closed between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Movie theaters, bowling alleys museums and other indoor entertainment venues can also reopen at 25% capacity. All venues must limit the total number of people inside to no more than 150, and masks are required, with no food served after 10 p.m.

Gyms, personal fitness and yoga studios and martial arts sites can operate at 25% capacity, with the total number increased to a maximum of 150. Youth and adult organized sports will be able to resume games on Thursday, Jan. 14.

Visit mn.gov/COVID19 to learn more.

Updated quarantine guidance

Updated quarantine guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health

The Minnesota Department of Health has updated quarantine guidelines based on recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. While the guidance shortens quarantine times in some cases, a 14-day quarantine is the safest.

Read about the guidelines.


Saliva testing and other community testing sites

Woman giving a COVID-19 saliva sample

Testing for COVID-19 is an important strategy in slowing the spread of the virus. The state of Minnesota is offering free saliva testing at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in Saint Paul. Testing is available seven days a week and free to all Minnesotans who believe they need a COVID-19 test, including those who are asymptomatic. 

View all COVID-19 testing sites in Ramsey County.

No-cost at-home COVID-19 saliva testing is also available. 

Read test at home information.

COVID-19 vaccine update

Vaccine phase

Ramsey County is following federal and state guidelines to distribute COVID-19 vaccine in phases to have the greatest impact and prevent further spread to those most at-risk. The amount of vaccine now available is limited and not enough to vaccinate the general public.

We currently are in Phase 1A of the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)’s vaccine distribution plan. State and county public health departments are working with partners to vaccinate staff in health care who could get COVID-19 through the work they do, and people who live in long-term care settings like nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities. Individuals in these groups are being notified by their employers or the facility where they live when and how they will get the vaccine.

When more vaccine is available, the next groups able to get the vaccine (Phase 1B) will include frontline essential workers and adults 75 years and older. We do not know when these next phases will begin. MDH will communicate when there is enough vaccine for that to happen.

Eventually, all Minnesotans who want to be vaccinated will be able to do so. It just won’t be right away for everyone. No one will be required to get the vaccine by the government or public health.

Learn more about vaccine distribution and what phase you might be in.


COVID hotline launched for refugees and immigrants

A new COVID-19 care hotline for refugees and immigrants is now available through the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Resettlement Network.

Residents can call 651-318-0989 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday to get accurate, timely information about the COVID-19 pandemic and other services offered through the Resettlement Network.

Hotline staff speak Amharic, Anuak, Arabic, French, Hindi, Karen, Lingala, Luganda, Mashi, Oromo, Somali, Spanish and Swahili. Language line help is available for callers needing any other language.

Learn more from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Community Career Labs continue into 2021

Six Community Career Labs will continue into 2021, including the labs at the Ramsey County Service Centers in downtown Saint Paul and Maplewood.

Learn more about Community Career Labs.

Board of commissioners approves 2021 supplemental budget and legislative platforms

The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners approved a 2021 supplemental budget of $748,919,298 during their Dec. 15 meeting. The 2021 budget includes a 0% increase to the property tax levy 

Watch board meeting and view documentation.

During their Dec. 22 meeting, the board approved the 2021 federal and state legislative platforms, which are available to view in PDF format.

Read the 2021 platforms.

Discover new books during Winter Reads

Winter Reads is a program from Ramsey County Library that encourages busy adults to delight in reading. The program runs Jan. 2-Feb. 28.  Read four books and you will be entered for a chance at a grand prize.

Learn more at rclreads.org.

Winter Reads for adults

Opt outside for a family fun scavenger hunt

Download the beanstack app

Join an exciting new adventure through our local parks! This winter, challenge yourself to get out of the house and participate in a scavenger hunt that you track on your phone.

Learn about Fall Into Winter with Parks.

Tips to help improve snow removal

county snow plow on road

Ramsey County is responsible for maintaining a 293-mile system of county roads including snow removal. Please help the operators of our fleet of 30+ plows improve the quality and speed of snow and ice removal by keeping these guidelines in mind:

  • Avoid travel during heavy snowfall. If you must travel, slow down, drive safely and stay several car lengths back from plows.
  • When shoveling or snow blowing, move the snow into your yard. Don't push snow from your driveway into the street, boulevard or shoulder. Piling snow in the street, boulevard or shoulder creates sight line and distance issues, which can create dangerous conditions.
  • Make sure your trash and recycling containers are away from the curb and located in your driveway or yard. The arms of the collection truck will still be able to reach them if they're a few feet off the street.

More snow and ice removal removal info.

Stay connected and get involved

Subscribe to newsletters on up to dozens of different topics or update your subscriptions in 2021 to receive updates on programs, services and initiatives from across Ramsey County government, along with upcoming events.

Subscribe to newsletters.

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Upcoming events

resident cross country skiing on trail

Board of Commissioners Meeting
Tuesdays, Jan. 12, 19 and 26.

Meditation Series
Saturdays, Jan. 9, 16 and 23.

Tuesday with a Scholar Series
Tuesdays, Jan. 12, 19 and 26.

Foster Care Parent Orientation
Thursday, Jan. 14.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day - holiday
County offices and Library locations closed.
Monday, Jan. 18. 

StrengthsFinder Online
Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Racial Equity Virtual Town Hall
Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Explore Your Career Personality
Wednesday, Jan. 20.

How To Successfully Work With Recruiters - The New Secret Sauce
Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Newspaper icon on blue colored divider bar.

In the news