COVID-19 

The Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners declared a continued state of emergency at a special board meeting on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Services impacted are listed below. 

Updated: July 21, 2020, 9:15 a.m. 

Building Closures

Federal, state and county emergency declarations, and guidelines set forth by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) limiting interactions, has lead the county to change the way it delivers services to the public. 

The buildings listed below are open for public entry, but the County continues to limited face-to-face contact when possible.  The public is encouraged to use online services or utilize drop boxes on the exterior of County buildings. 

Masks are recommended when entering County buildings.  If you are sick or exhibiting symptoms, please stay home. 

The following buildings are open for public entry: 

  • Government Center
  • Historic Courthouse
  • Public Works main and satellite building locations
  • County offices within the Justice Center

The following buildings are restricted for public entry: 

  • County libraries

Service Interruptions 

Human Services 

  • Mental Health Center
    •  Individual therapy and psychiatrist appointments will be conducted over the phone or Telehealth if clients are able. For more information, call 507-304-4319.
  • Financial Assistance
    • Financial workers are available to answer questions. Please call your financial worker directly with questions or the agency at 507-304-4335.
    • To get an application to apply for services: 
      • Call 507-304-4335 for one to be sent to you by mail, fax, or email.
      • Pick one up at 410 S 5th Street in Mankato
      • Apply online for cash, food, child care at ApplyMN – applymn.dhs.mn.gov
      • Apply online for health care on MNSURE – mnsure.org
    • To return the application or any other documents for financial assistance, you can:
      • Email them to financialassistance@blueearthcountymn.gov
      • Fax them to 507-304-4336
      • Mail them to 410 S 5th Street, PO Box 3526, Mankato MN 56001
      • Drop them off at 410 S 5th Street in the drop box outside of Door A or in the lobby.
  • Licensing (adult, child foster care and family child care)
    • Licenses expired or due to expire have been extended.  Licensing staff are starting to conduct re-licensing activity.
    • Licensors will be conducting some work through mail, email, virtual visits, and some in-person visits.
    • Orientation events will have limited sizes and likely done virtually.  Contact licensing staff for more information.
    • Child Care providers:  additional information is available on the COVID-19 & Childcare web page
    • Licensed programs are following the direction provided by Mn Dept of Human Services.
  • Child Protection
    • If you have a concern about the welfare of a child/ren, please continue to make reports to our intake at 507-304-4444 (M-F 8-5; Sat/Sun/holidays 507-304-4319).
    • Some in-person appointments have been moved to virtual visits.
    • Contact Court Administration at 507-304-4650 for updates about hearings taking place during this time.
  • Public Health
    • Disease Prevention & Control
      • Focused on response to COVID-19. 
    • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Clinic
      • Almost all visits being done via telephone.
      • View our WIC phone appointment preparation guide to prepare for your visit. 
      • If a face-to-face contact considered on a case-by-case basis, employing social distancing.
    • Family Home Visiting (First Steps/Next Steps)
      • Almost all visits being done via telephone.
      • If a face-to-face contact considered on a case-by-case basis, employing social distancing.
    • Maternal Child Health
      • Most contacts via phone.
      • Face-to-face visits for high risk infants and employing distancing practices.
    • Home Community Based Services (for 65+)
      • Almost all visits being done via telephone.
      • If a face-to-face contact considered on a case-by-case basis, employing social distancing.
    • Child & Teen Checkups
      • Outreach via telephone.
    • Immtrack
      • Continue to provide and respond to phone inquiries.
    • Tuberculosis Response
      • Active Tuberculosis
        • Continue to provide one face to face visit weekly with social distancing practiced.
        • Still maintaining daily contact through various electronic means.
        • Case management being conducted via telephone whenever possible.
      • Latent TB
        • Medications being mailed.
        • Nursing case management monthly via telephone.
      • Contact Investigations
        • Contact with individuals via phone.
        • Testing for asymptomatic contacts postponed.
        • Testing for symptomatic contact determined on a case by case basis.
    • SHIP
      • Telephone contact with community partners. Face-to-face contact considered on a case-by-case basis, employing social distancing. 
  • Children’s Mental Health
    • Referrals will continue to be accepted for case management services. 
      • Call 507-304-4444 to make a referral. 
  • Substance Abuse Disorders (Chemical Dependency)
    • Referrals will continue to be accepted. 
    • Most providers are conducting Rule 25 Assessments using telehealth alternatives. 
    • SUD Assessment Provider List Link
    • Adult intake and referrals for SUD Assessments, call: 507-304-4145.
    • Adolescent intake and referrals for SUD Assessments, call: 507-304-4444
  • Adult Protection 
    • Continue to report concerns to Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center at 844-880-1574. 
    • Staff will use alternative methods for face-to-face interview to minimize the risks to the vulnerable adult’s health by:
      • Using reliable collateral sources of information. 
      • Coordinating with partners. 
      • Employing phone, pictures, video and other technology.
    • Face-to-face interviews will only be used when there is no other method to meet a critical health and safety need of the vulnerable adult. 
  • Disability Services 
    • Case managers are continuing to meet the needs of the people they serve using methods other than face to face. 
    • Case managers will continue to offer appointments using phone, or the Vidyo platform. 
    • Assessments and reassessments are being completed over the phone to ensure there will not be a lapse in services.
  • Second Step Clubhouse
  • Genoa Pharmacy
    • Medication services available by mail or curbside options.

License Center

  • In-person Driver’s License and ID services are available by appointment only. Click here to make an appointment. 
  • A drop box will be available outside the main License Center doors for community members to drop off appropriate paperwork.
  • The following services are available:
  • Call the License Center at 507-304-4340 for additional information. 

Veteran Services

  • In-person visits are being conducted by appointment only.  Please call 507-304-4246 to schedule an appointment. 
  • Transportation services to Minneapolis VAMC will continue on odd days of the work week as long as drivers are willing to drive.
    • Rides can be scheduled by calling the County office at 507-304-4246.
  • Contact with staff can be made through the following ways: 
  • Veterans Services Office is now located in the Government Center located at 410 S 5th Street in Mankato. 

Safety & Justice 

  • Sheriff’s Office
    • Administrative staff is limiting contact. Forms should be filled out prior to arriving to the office or filled out online if available. Visit the permits web page to see if it can obtained online or visit the documents and forms web page for print options. 
  • Attorney’s Office
    • All services are available online or over the phone. Call 507-304-4600 for more information.

Probation & Corrections

  • Some in-person appointments have been moved to virtual visits.
  • Group programming has been suspended. 
  • Sentence to Serve program has been suspended.
  • Volunteer opportunities have been suspended.

Property, Taxes, Land Records, Elections and Passports

  • Property tax payments and program applications are being accepted. We prefer they be delivered via mail, online, or drop box located at Door B of the Government Center at 410 South Fifth Street in Mankato. Call 507-304-4251 for more information.
  • Passport applications are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Call 507-304-4251 for more information.
  • Documents needing to be recorded are being accepted. We prefer they be delivered via e-recording, mail, or drop box located at Door B of the Government Center at 410 S Fifth Street in Mankato. Call 507-304-4251 for more information.

Environmental Health

  • Household Hazardous Waste Facility 
    • Facility is resuming normal operating hours.  Appointments are no longer necessary.
    • Product Reuse area will be closed until further notice.
  • Ponderosa Landfill 
    • Ponderosa Office is locked. Customers should use the on-scale intercom or drive-up window to interact with scale operator. 
  • Recycling Center is open.  Textile recycling bin is not available at this time due to COVID-19.
  • Water sample collection has been suspended.  Call 507-304-4251 for more information.

Parks, Campgrounds and Roads 

  • COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for County Park and Campgrounds
    Blue Earth County Parks is committed to providing safe and healthy workplace for all our workers and customers.  To ensure we have a safe and healthy workplace, we have developed a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for our campgrounds and parks.  
    • Campgrounds are located at Bray, Daly, and Rapidan Dam parks
    • Please note that cautionary measures are in place in accordance with Minnesota Department of Health, MN DNR and CDC guidelines. These include bathhouse restrictions, reduced site availability, and capacity limitations for beaches and pavilions/shelters. See Blue Earth County Parks COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and DNR Guidelines for the Public  for additional details.
  • Boat launches/fishing areas and portable restrooms will be open and available at the following parks:

    • Bray Park
    • Daly Park
    • Duck Lake Park
    • Eagle Lake Landing
    • Lake George Park
    • Lone Pine Park
    • Rapidan Dam Park
    • Red Jacket Trail & Weagel Park
    • Red Jacket Valley Park
  • The following amenities will be restricted for use according to State guidelines at all parks (including campgrounds):

    • Bathroom facilities (limited to single occupancy or one family unit at a time)
    • Beaches (must allow 6 feet of space per person)
    • Playground equipment (not sanitized, wash hands after using, and maintain 6-foot distance)
    • Pavilions/shelters (limited to 25% of maximum capacity, call park directly for details and reservations)
  • Walking paths throughout parks and campgrounds may be used by community members if practicing social distancing. Large gatherings are not allowed.

  • Trails currently open: Red Jacket, South Route, Minneopa, and Indian Lake.
  • Parks currently open for hiking: Wildwood, Williams, Schimek, and Red Jacket Valley Park.
  • County park buildings are currently closed for the season.  
  • Pesticide applicator testing has been reopened by appointment only. 
  • Public Open House meetings have been suspended.  Digital alternatives will be used in the coming months.
  • Drop-off payments have been reopened.

Library 

  • Books by Mail program is now available. 
    • Call the Library to arrange delivery at 507-304-4001.
    • Up to three items from the Library’s current catalog. 
    • All users must have a Library card, but those without one may register over the phone. 
    • There is no cost to participate and items can be returned at patrons’ convenience. 
    • There will be no fines for late materials.
  • E-books and audiobooks are available online on the Overdrive and Libby apps.
  • Homework tools and games are available online for kids and teens.
  • All events have been suspended.
  • Book Club discussion will be hosted online. 
  • Online storytime options are being reviewed. Updates will be posted on the Library’s website and Facebook page.
  • Expanding programs such as Rural Library Services and books by mail to home bound residents. More information is available on the Library’s website or by calling 507-304-4001. 
  • Library staff are available by phone at 507-304-4001 for:
    • Answering Library card and services questions
    • Reference calls
    • Set-up for rural and home-bound services 
    • Research and more
  • No-contact material pick up.
  • Lovelace Children’s Department visits by appointment.
  • Library visits by appointment:  use library technology, browse collection, and request reference assistance.
  • Call 507-304-4001 to make a request for materials or make an appointment to visit.

U of M Extension 

  • Face-to-face meetings, courses, PPAT workshops, and other events have been shifted online or will be held in a heavily modified format.
  • On-site technical service calls or meetings for the agriculture educator’s office are available but subject to strict COVID-19 guidelines.  These in-person activities must be planned at least two days in advance.  Most calls, however, can be handled over the phone or virtually.  Assistance is available through email at mnext-blueearth@umn.edu or by leaving a message at 507-304-4325.
  • For private pesticide applicator exams, we recommend either taking the exam online, or emailing ppathelp@umn.edu and requesting a paper one be mailed. Study guides can be obtained online for free.
  • For SNAP-Ed participants, you may contact Rachel Jones, SNAP-Ed educator at wedex001@umn.edu or 507-327-7369 for questions about local resources. You may also consider contacting United Way’s 211 hotline or visiting Second Harvest Heartland to learn more about available community resources, including food access.
  • Please contact Randi Schwartz, 4-H Extension Educator, at schw1553@umn.edu or 507-304-4142 for questions about local youth programs, 4-H member or club questions, or to learn more about what 4-H is doing in your area.  If your 4-H club or group is ready to start meeting, we have a way for that to happen!  Our safety procedures have changed in light of COVID-19, so volunteers must complete our on-demand training before hosting a 4-H experience.

Human Resources 

  • Human Resources remains available via phone and email.  We will also meet with individuals upon request and within social distance and/or mask recommendations. Call 507-304-4286 for more information.