County Services During the time of COVID-19
Mar 27, 2020 10:00AM
By Interim Administrator Rena Rogers of Cook County Minnesota - March 27, 2020
At the Tuesday, March 24 board meeting, the Cook County Board of Commissioners took action to restrict public access to county government buildings during the Coronavirus outbreak. This resolution was the next logical step in protecting employees and the public as this highly contagious virus spreads across the state, nation and world.
As stated last week in our County Connections article, we have been preparing for several weeks to ensure the delivery of essential services while keeping our employees and the public safe. Many county office workers, equipped with technology, are now working remotely, resulting in better social distancing within our workspaces. Workers who have less to do because of the shift in public-facing jobs are being reassigned to emergency management support activities.
Most county services will be available during this emergency. What will change is how you will get answers to your questions or engage with county staff. Many of our forms and services are available online at www.co.cook.mn.us, and many questions can be addressed via a phone call.
Following are some basic ways to access county services in the near term.
Please remember to call during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Emergency Management and Public Health – 387-3668
Clearly this is currently our highest priority. Please refer to the Cook County website and local media outlets for daily updates. The number listed above is for general information.
Court Administration – 387-3610
The courthouse will be open for court hearings. For paying fines or obtaining general information such as court schedules, please refer to www.mncourts.gov.
County Attorney’s Office – 387-3670
Call this number if you need general information, have requests for discovery or have data requests. For specific information related to crime victim services, please call 387-3669.
Human Resources – 387-3676
Call this number if you have questions regarding open positions or the status of an employment application.
Highway – 387-3014
Residents needing to report road conditions or apply for permits are advised to call for customer service or visit the department's webpage.
Land Services – 387-3630
Applications related to land use can be made online through ePermitting. Vacation rental licensing is also available online. General questions related to other services, such as environmental health, can also be directed to this phone number.
Public Health and Human Services – 387-3620
During the current public health emergency, the services provided by PHHS will become more important. For health care or economic assistance, please call the office, or you can apply online at www.applymn.dhs.mn.gov/ for economic assistance or www.mnsure.org for health care assistance.
Call the 387-3620 number with questions or to schedule a meeting with a social worker.
Recorder’s Office – 387-3660
Call the office or check the website to get access to vital records or to apply for a marriage license. Real estate documents back to 1950 can be found online for a minimal fee at www.idocmarket.com. Most transactions can be done online, over the phone or via the mail.
Sheriff – 387-3030
As always, call 911 in an emergency. For other questions, please call 387-3030.
A Permit to Purchase must be dropped off in person. To do this, call and schedule an appointment. Permits to purchase are only being accepted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Soil and Water Conservation District – 387-3648
Refer to the website or call the general number with questions about services and projects.
Veterans Services – 387-3639 or [email protected]
Veteran services can be completed by phone.
County Board Meetings
The county board will continue to meet as scheduled and may schedule meetings on an emergency basis. County board meetings will continue to be livestreamed and archived on the county website. The courthouse will be accessible during these meetings to accommodate open meeting law, but we encourage the public not to come unless necessary. Instead, please mail or email your public comments to the administrator at 411 W. 2nd. Street, Grand Marais, MN 55604 or [email protected], and they will be read at the next commissioner meeting.
Please know that we are doing our very best to serve you during these unusual times. We look forward to the day when we can greet you in person.
County Connections is a column on timely topics and service information from your Cook County government. Cook County – Supporting Community Through Quality Public Service