Updates on county preparations and response to COVID-19

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 Administration • 100 North Fifth Avenue West, Room 202 • Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: (218) 726-2450 • www.stlouiscountymn.gov

Kevin Z. Gray
County Administrator




March 15, 2020

MEDIA CONTACT: Dana Kazel, Communications Manager

218-725-5049 (office) • 218-591-2219 (cell)


St. Louis County details preparations and response to COVID-19 situation

As efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 continue, and Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order directing schools to close beginning Wednesday, St. Louis County leaders announced a series of updates.


The County activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) this weekend, involving multiple department heads and community partners. The EOC serves as a centralized staging area to ensure unified planning and response as the situation evolves.


County Administrator Kevin Gray announced that at this time, all county buildings will remain open. The leadership team will continue to follow the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Health on best practices for public spaces.


A point worth highlighting from the governor’s executive order: This initial closure of schools is a proactive measure to allow time for adequate planning, and is not being done as a public health prevention and control measure. The order notes continued support for family- and center-based child care providers to remain open.


The county’s work force and service delivery may be impacted by school closures and recommendations for immuno-compromised individuals to isolate themselves. Anyone coming to any county building is asked to please follow the recommendations to minimize risk of spread. County employees have been advised to do the same.

  • If you’re sick, stay home.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes using a tissue or elbow.
  • Avoid touching face and mouth.
  • Practice social distancing.

Administrator Gray also announced he will activate the county’s emergency sick leave policy for employees effective Wednesday, March 18, the timing of which is consistent with the executive order. This policy, which the County Board approved last week, allows employees to advance up to two weeks paid sick leave that they can use to stay home if they or an immediate family member is sick, or if they need to care for a child during a school closure.


To learn more about the work of St. Louis County Public Health in preparing and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to find links to the Minnesota Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and other credible health organizations, visit stlouiscountymn.gov/covid19.