COVID-19 response

Masks required in county buildings

You can access services by phone, online, email, mail, drop off, or fax.

If you need to come in person, you must wear a mask or face covering and stay 6 feet apart from others. Do not enter county buildings if you are sick.

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Service updates

Hennepin County is reopening in phases to lessen transmission of COVID-19 within county facilities for resident and employee safety.

Cash and food

We are processing applications and responding to phone calls.

Ways to submit documents

Please include a case number on every page of items submitted.

  • Email hhsews@hennepin.us
  • Fax 612-288-2981 (for childcare assistance documents, fax 612-288-2982)
  • Mail to Hennepin County Human Services Dept. at P.O. Box 107 Minneapolis, MN 55440

If you do not have access to these options, there are document drop boxes available at any Human Service Center.

Available drop boxes for residents.

Northwest Human Service Center (Brooklyn Center): First floor labeled Hennepin County available 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays only

Health Services Building (Downtown): Main floor lobby 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays only

West Human Service Center (Hopkins): Inside the building lobby

South Suburban Human Service Center (Bloomington): Outside building by Hennepin County entrance

South Minneapolis Human Service Center: Outside building near main entrance on Lake Street side of the building

North Minneapolis Human Service Center: Outside building near main entrance

Powderhorn (1201 East Lake Street, Minneapolis): Outside building

Renew cash assistance/SNAP

Renewal requirements for SNAP and cash assistance programs have been suspended for December, January and February. If you received a re-certification packet, please disregard it, but continue to report changes.

Complete, sign, and return the Combined Application Form (CAF) or 6-month Report, which you will receive in the mail. Send required proof of changes, with case number on each page.

Application and re-certification forms

The following forms are available for residents at the Health Services Building (downtown), Northwest Human Service Center (Brooklyn Center) and West Human Service Center (Hopkins). They will be located on a table near the drop box.

  • Health Care Programs Application for Certain Populations (DHS-3876)
  • MNsure Application for Health Coverage and Help Paying Costs (DHS-6696)
  • Application for Payment of Long-Term Services (DHS-3531)
  • Application for Certain Populations (DHS-3876)
  • Combined Annual Renewal for Certain Populations (DHS-3727)
  • Combined Application (DHS-5223)
  • Minnesota Health Care Programs Renewal for People Receiving Long-Term Care Services (DHS-2128)
  • Minnesota Health Care Programs Renewal (DHS-3418)
  • Household Report (DHS-2120)
  • Combined Six-Month Report (DHS-5576)

Speak to a human services representative

You can get help via phone while Human Service Centers are closed to the public.

Call 612-596-1300, Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Jail

  • Inmates are receiving a limited number of free phone calls each week so they may stay in touch with loved ones by phone.
  • Visiting hours are temporarily suspended in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Visit Hennepin County Jail

Libraries

Locations and hours: Find a library near you

Grab and Go service: Select locations are welcoming patrons into library buildings for short visits through a new Grab and Go service. Keep in mind, a visit to the library will look and feel different while the need for physical distancing continues.

Computer use by appointment: Many libraries can also accommodate computer use by appointment.

Recycling and hazardous waste disposal

Work continues with business hazardous waste licensing and renewal.

County business recycling staff are available remotely for businesses and organizations to improve their recycling programs. Find full information on remote technical assistance, including funding and training assistance.

Rent help

Residents financially harmed by COVID-19 may be eligible for emergency rental assistance.

Evictions and mediation

Get tested for COVID-19

If you're a Hennepin County resident and who has recently tested positive for COVID-19 and need help remaining in isolation, please email essentialservices@hennepin.us

Have you tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19? Hennepin County's COVID-19 Calculator will help you decide if you need to quarantine or isolate and for how long.


COVID-19 community testing

Hennepin County works in collaboration with communities to provide safe and free COVID-19 community testing events in areas with outbreaks, increasing cases, or other barriers to access.

For additional community testing events in Minnesota, visit:

Upcoming Hennepin County events

If your organization would like to collaborate with Hennepin County to run a COVID-19 testing event, fill out the survey here and we will be in touch.

More about COVID-19 community testing

Who can get tested

  • Community testing is free, and you do not need insurance, identification, or citizenship.
  • If you have insurance, we will your bill insurance. There will be no patient responsibility to pay.
  • You can get tested if you have symptoms or if you don’t have symptoms but think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.

What to bring

  • Wear a face mask. Face masks will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • If you pre-registered online, bring your confirmation text or email if you can. If you pre-completed a paper registration form, bring that form to the event.
  • You do not need to show insurance, identification, or citizenship information. However, insurance will be accepted if it’s available.

What to expect at an event

  • If you did not pre-register online or pre-complete a paper registration form, you will complete a registration form at the event.
  • You will need to provide your name and contact information so we can reach you with your test results.
  • Testing sites follow physical distancing and proper cleaning to keep you safe.
  • If this is a drive-up testing event, please stay in your car and follow all signs and staff directions in order to keep everyone safe.
  • If the event allows drive-up and walk-up appointments, walk-up appointments will be done in an area away from the vehicle lanes to keep you safe.
  • A health care worker will gently insert what looks like a long Q-tip into your nose and swirl it for a few seconds. It will then be removed, put in a vial, and sent to a lab for testing.

After you are tested

  • Follow these instructions: What to do while you are waiting for your results (PDF)
  • You should get your results back within three days. Sometimes there are delays.
  • You will get a text or email telling you how to view your test results when your results are ready.
  • If your test is positive: You will also receive a phone call from a nurse, health care worker or epidemiologist. Please make sure to answer your phone.
  • The results of your test are not shared with anyone outside of your public health department.

COVID-19 vaccine: frequently asked questions

Updated: 1/12/21

When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Other COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers are in earlier stages of development and testing.

The COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed in phases to different groups of people. In the first phase, phase 1A, the vaccine will be given to people who work in health care settings and people who live or work in long-term care facilities. As vaccine supply increases in the months to come, more people will have the chance to get vaccinated. Ultimately, all Minnesotans will have an opportunity to get vaccinated.

How will we know that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective?

COVID-19 vaccine development requirements are the same as for all other vaccines. Experts from federal agencies, including the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), review the information collected during the vaccine manufacturers’ testing process to determine whether a vaccine is safe and effective.

Experts continue tracking vaccine safety information once vaccines are given in real-life conditions to make sure they are working as expected.

I have recovered from a lab confirmed case of COVID-19. Should I still get vaccinated?

Yes, people who had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated. This is because COVID-19 is a new disease, so:

  • We do not know if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again (how long they are immune).
  • We do not know if being previously infected will make the next infection better or worse.

Are people who have recovered from a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 required to wait to be vaccinated?

If you have had COVID-19, you should get vaccinated even if you have had COVID-19 disease. We are not sure how long a person is protected after they have had COVID-19 disease. Some people have reported a second infection after 90 days. If your illness was confirmed by a PCR test in the past 90 days, it is okay to wait to get vaccinated. In order to conserve doses when they are limited, you may be asked to wait for the 90-day period.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine be required?

No one will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine . However, vaccination is highly encouraged because we know that these vaccines are very effective in preventing severe COVID-19 disease. Getting the vaccine will protect your health and help reduce the strain on the health care system.

I’ve heard that there is pork and gelatin in the COVID-19 vaccines. Is this true?

No. There is no pork, gelatin, or other animal products in the COVID-19 vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and can prevent you from getting a severe case of COVID-19.

I've heard that there are tracking devices in the COVID-19 vaccines. Is this true?

No. There are no tracking devices in the COVID-19 vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and can prevent you from getting a severe case of COVID-19. 

Are there any side effects from getting the vaccine?

The most common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines are fatigue, headache, and muscle aches. These side effects are most likely to occur one or two days after getting the vaccine. Although most people will not have significant side effects, some people may wish to schedule their vaccination to allow for a day or two of rest afterward. Side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are a sign that your immune system is working well.

Can I get vaccinated if I’m pregnant, breastfeeding, and/or immunocompromised?

It is important to know that for some populations -- like people who are pregnant, breastfeeding and/or immunocompromised — we don’t have much information about safety or how well the vaccine works, or it hasn’t been studied yet. In these circumstances, people may be vaccinated but should speak with their health care provider so they understand what is known about their situation and vaccination.

Do I have to get two doses of vaccine?

Two doses are needed for the two COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. The time between the doses depends on the vaccine you are getting. The Pfizer vaccine (ultra-cold vaccine) must be given 21 days (3 weeks) apart and the Moderna vaccine (frozen vaccine) must be given 28 days apart (1 month/4 weeks).

It is very important that someone gets both vaccine doses, the same product for each dose, and that the doses are given at the correct time apart. The vaccine is only fully effective with both doses of vaccine. If someone only gets one dose, they may not be protected (immune) against COVID-19. It is okay if you get the vaccine within four days of the 21 or 28 day mark (depending on which vaccine you get).

Will I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No, there are no live viruses in the COVID-19 vaccines. Therefore, it is impossible to get COVID-19 from the vaccines. However, by getting vaccinated, you can protect yourself from getting a severe case of COVID-19.

Will the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations protect me from the new strain of COVID-19?

Pfizer and Moderna are running tests but both manufacturers believe that their vaccines are effective against the new strain of COVID-19.

How much does a COVID-19 vaccine cost?

The COVID-19 vaccine itself is free. (The federal government has pre-paid for doses for all Americans.) When it’s their turn, most people will get the vaccine through their primary health care provider. By law, healthcare systems and clinics are allowed to charge vaccine administration fees and/or clinic visit fees. These fees will likely be covered by your insurance. If you do not have insurance or cannot afford these fees, other opportunities for fully free COVID-19 vaccination (e.g., community vaccination events) will become available later in 2021.

I want to get vaccinated but I’m undocumented. Could my immigration status become public?

Your status will never be made public. You are not required to provide immigration documentation to receive the vaccine and you will not be asked for them.

Will I still have to wear a mask and physically distance from others once I’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, we will all need to continue to wear masks and practice other prevention steps for some time -- even after receiving the vaccine. This is because, at this time, scientists are not yet certain that the vaccines prevents asymptomatic virus spread (i.e., you could get the vaccine but still get infected and spread the virus with mild to no symptoms). When public health experts know more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide, they will update the prevention recommendations.

For now, steps everyone should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include physically distancing (6 feet or 2 meters), wearing face masks, staying home when sick, covering your coughs and sneezes, and washing your hands frequently.

Will I still need to get my flu shot if I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes! The viruses that cause COVID-19 and flu are different. Benefits of flu vaccine include:

  • Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year
  • Flu vaccine prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year
  • Getting a flu vaccine may also protect people around you who are at higher risk for serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain health conditions

Where can I learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines?

Learn more about COVID-19

Cases and data

Helping school districts with COVID-19 planning

Hennepin County is large and diverse, with many school districts and varying demographics. The spread of COVID-19 varies across the county. We will look at county data and work with school districts and the state to help districts make safe and flexible plans for the school year.

Find up-to-date COVID-19 case data by county at the Minnesota Department of Health.

Learn more about the governor’s Safe Learning Plan.

County and state response

Hennepin County Public Health is working closely with the Minnesota Department of Health and other partners to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak including:

  • Offering testing and wrap-around services
  • Conducting contact tracing
  • Advising residents on how to isolate and quarantine effectively
  • Fielding questions and communicating to the public
  • Consulting with partners on public health policy including masks

If you have symptoms

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or think you've been exposed, it’s important to get tested.

Quarantine and isolation

Have you tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19? Hennepin County's COVID-19 Calculator will help you decide if you need to quarantine or isolate and for how long.

Learn more about COVID-19 and staying safe

Information in other languages

COVID-19: Español (Spanish)

COVID-19: Hmoob (Hmong)

COVID-19: Oromo

COVID-19: Soomaali (Somali)

Hennepin County helpline flyer

Hate crime resource flyer

Immigration resource flyer

Language resources from Minnesota Department of Health

The Minnesota Department of Health has more COVID-19 information in multiple languages.

How the county is using federal COVID-19 funds

Funding comes from the federal CARES Act. The county received about $220 million and is using the funds in several ways in response to COVID-19.

Recent actions

Business relief grants

The board voted to accept $25.3 million from the State of Minnesota’s COVID-19 relief grant to support businesses and organizations impacted by COVID-19.

So far this year, the county has approved $42 million of direct financial assistance from the federal CARES Act for more than 4,400 businesses impacted by COVID-19. It is distributing the money through the Hennepin County Small Business Relief fund.

The county has completed four rounds of applications for Small Business Relief funding in 2020. It continues to process applications and disburse funds through the latest application round, which closed earlier this month.

Applications for this new $25 million in funding are expected to open in January 2021.

Laptops for people affected by COVID-19

The board approved a measure to allocate $2 million in CARES funding to provide low-cost laptops to youth, adults and seniors who are participating in distance learning, pursuing employment or accessing county services and telehealth options. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus the technology barriers for residents who face multiple, interlocking disparities: education, employment, and income, among others. This action adds capacity to the “Connecting Hennepin” initiative, as we work to eliminate the digital divide. The board had previously approved more than $3.2 million in CARES funding to support this work in 2020:

  • $1.5 million to support distance learning initiatives for county-involved youth in June
  • $1.0 million for Chromebooks and other low-cost laptops for youth and adults in August
  • $700,000 to provide digital literacy training, peripherals and hotspots for adults, and support for individuals receiving devices in September

Safety measures for youth sports

The board agreed to allocate $175,000 in CARES funding to support safe participation youth in programs and organized youth sports. Funding will be allocated through an open application process for eligible expenses, including but not limited to facility adaptations, technology, equipment, supplies, and personal protective equipment necessary to safely provide youth programs and organized youth sports during the COVID pandemic, in compliance with public health measures.

Supporting food security

The board allocated $1 million to support food security for Hennepin County residents impacted by COVID-19.

Hennepin County has already approved $2 million of CARES Act funding grants to 68 organizations, including churches, non-profits, food pantries, food shelves and community organizations that serve people of color, immigrant communities, and seniors.

Items below include CARES-funded response efforts since March 2020.

Supporting bars and restaurants impacted by COVID-19

The board allocated $8 million of economic support to local restaurants, bars and food service establishments suffering business interruptions due to COVID-19.

Hennepin County is offering this support as COVID-19 infections continue to rise and public health measures are likely to further impact bars and restaurants.

Grants up to $15,000 will be available to businesses that are locally owned and operated; have a physical establishment in Hennepin County; have 100 or fewer employees; and have $6 million in annual revenues or less.

Since June, Hennepin County has given out more than $22 million in Small Business Relief grants in response to the economic impacts of COVID-19.

COVID-19 saliva testing events

The board is designating funding to expand COVID-19 testing events at long-term care facilities, large residential settings, and community centers to reach neighborhoods and communities most disproportionately impacted.

Hennepin County is on track to conduct more than 13,000 tests by the end of 2020 and is expanding to provide saliva testing.

The board allocated $1.9 million to purchase saliva test kits from Vault Health and Hennepin Healthcare and $425,000 to Hennepin Healthcare to increase testing.

Businesses

$27.9 million for small and self-employed businesses

Hennepin County Small Business Relief Program

  • Providing grants to 985 businesses totaling $9.3 million to date
  • Providing culturally specific outreach and technical assistance
  • Small business relief programs

$700,000 to establish a network that will aid businesses in COVID-19 recovery by providing peer-to-peer business roundtables, hosting critical topics series, and matching businesses with specialized technical assistance and coaching

Community organizations

$2.5 million to support non-profit and community organizations providing expanded safety net services due to COVID-19

Education

Funding is targeted for youth involved in county systems, such as child welfare and corrections.

$1.5 million for distance learning

  • Purchasing devices, hotspots, and cell phones
  • Investing in broadband in places where many youth are without connectivity

$2.5 for educational support

  • Education planning, monitoring, coaching, and tutoring
  • Coordinating with school district staff, child welfare, Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation, Be@School staff, and related professionals
  • Arranging for other needed services
  • Building problem-solving and self-advocacy skills 
  • Developing support networks

Homelessness and Housing

$2.2 million to the Indoor Villages project, which will consist of 100 tiny structures inside a warehouse building (provides individual living space for each resident and connects them with supportive services)

$3.2 million to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at emergency shelters for people experiencing homelessness

$3.5 million to provide a low-barrier emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

More than $20.6 million for safer shelter at hotels

  • Operating three hotel sites for people who cannot safely self-isolate
  • Working with Americorps to operate two hotel sites for seniors and people with underlying health conditions
  • Operating two hotel sites for people staying in shelter who have suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 

$7.3 million for an affordable housing stabilization fund

$1.3 million for culturally specific support

Efforts are targeted for the Native American community, which is disproportionally affected by homelessness.

  • Providing crisis outreach and housing navigation to people experiencing unsheltered homelessness
  • Connecting people to housing and shelter more rapidly
  • Support low-barrier housing

$3.6 million to purchase alternative living spaces for people experiencing homelessness

Food security

$2 million to food banks and other organizations

  • $7,000 to $50,000 per organization to provide perishable and non-perishable food, including culturally appropriate food

Human services

$2.5 million for non-profits and community organizations

  • Supporting organizations that serve individuals, families, and youth involved in county systems
  • Providing funding for facility adaptations, technology, supplies, and PPE

Jobs

$2.5 million for job search resources

  • Allocating funding to organizations serving people who are experiencing income loss due to COVID-19
  • Partnering with Twin West Chamber of Commerce to create an app that connect people with open jobs/careers

Licensing service centers

$3 million to reduce backlog

  • Modifying spaces at Brookdale, North Minneapolis Hub and Ridgedale, and potentially another location
  • Hiring staff and providing PPE and cleaning supplies
  • Providing technology including an online payment system, electronic locker system, and chat/instant messaging

Outreach

$2.3 million for a public outreach campaign

Public health

$1.7 million for multidisciplinary approach to combat COVID-19

  • Hiring/contracting staff to provide mobile testing
  • Hiring staff for contact tracing and investigation
  • Supply PPE for staff

$44 million to Hennepin Healthcare for COVID-19 expenses from March through July

Rental and housing assistance

$15.7 million for emergency assistance for renters and homeowners

  • Targeting renters with incomes below 50 percent of the area median income
  • Helping an expected 9,000 residents maintain stable housing during the pandemic

$5 million to establish a program that will allow rental property owners to apply for emergency rental assistance on behalf of tenants who cannot pay due to COVID-19

Technology

$1 million to distribute low-cost laptops to youth, seniors, and others impacted by COVID-19

$700,000 to provide broadband access, digital literacy services, and technology support for youth, seniors, and other individuals impacted by COVID-19

Testing

$100,000 to provide increased COVID-19 testing, follow-up services, and education to long-term care facilities.

Voting

$3.5 million for absentee voting

  • Educating and encouraging voters to vote absentee
  • Counting increase in absentee ballots
  • Implementing public health measures in polling places
  • Recruiting polling place staff

$1 million for mailing absentee ballots and hiring additional seasonal staff to support absentee voting in the general election

$1.2 million to support the election, the majority of which Hennepin County will pass along to cities

Youth programs

$3 million to support summer youth programs

  • Helping organizations safely provide youth programs and organized youth sports
  • Supporting facility adaptations, technology, supplies and PPE

Additional funding

Hennepin County is using additional CARES funding to equip Hennepin County and Hennepin Healthcare staff to best serve residents during this pandemic.

Internal focus areas include:

  • Transitioning to new ways to deliver service
  • Time off/accommodations for employees
  • Health resources for employees
  • Emergency response
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