COVID-19 Information

Announcement (dated May 18, 2020)—

Big Stone County is reopening its courthouse and other public-facing facilities, effective today, to members of the public. All county offices have been operating to continue their missions of serving the public even as facilities were closed to outside traffic for the past eight weeks. Until further notice, to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the following policy is in effect for the reopening.

-Individuals in county facilities are expected to comply with social distancing (keeping at least 6 feet away from others). The number of visitors allowed in a county office at one time will be limited so that distancing between members of different households can be observed.

-Individuals with COVID-like symptoms should seek medical attention and should not come to County facilities in person. Please abide by quarantine recommendations of medical professionals.

-It is recommended that visitors wear a cloth face mask or covering for the protection of others. Also, everyone (including county staff), is encouraged to wear a mask or covering in situations where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
-County staff will meet with visitors by appointment only. Appointments are necessary for County offices to limit the number of people visiting at one time. Please arrange an appointment by phone, mail, or email before coming in. If your business can be handled by phone without an in-person visit, please do so to help keep everyone as safe as possible.

-The drop boxes at the Courthouse (at the north entrance) and Family Services are still available if you need to drop something off for a County office without an appointment.

-Meetings of the County Board of Commissioners will be held in the courtroom on the third floor of the Big Stone County courthouse unless otherwise specified. Meetings will be open to the public. Individuals wishing to listen to a meeting by phone instead of attending in person should contact the County Auditor’s Office for information on how to call in, or call-in information can be found on the County website by looking up the agenda for the meeting. (Agendas are listed by date under the page for the Board of Commissioners.)

-The Veterans Services Office is not open to the public at this time but is being staffed remotely. If you are seeking assistance from the Veterans Service Office, please call or email the office and you will receive an answer or response as soon as possible.
-The reopening policy does not affect court matters, which are under the authority of the judicial branch. Please contact Court Administration at 320.839.2536 regarding court matters. The Court Administration window will not be open for visitors to conduct business until ordered by State Court Administration. If you have a court appearance, you will receive a notice from court telling you whether you should call in or be at the courtroom in person.

This reopening policy is being implemented to allow for appropriate access to County services while protecting public health and safety. Please be aware that during this pandemic, rules for public access to County facilities may change in the future based upon orders from the judicial or executive branches, changes in state or federal law, or action by the County. Contact information for County offices and other information on services can be found on the County website: https://www.bigstonecounty.org/

Information and recommendations on COVID-19 is available from Countryside Public Health, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The website for Countryside Public Health is https://www.countrysidepublichealth.org/




Pursuant to the authorization provided at the March 17, 2020 meeting of the Big Stone County Board of Commissioners, Board Chair Wade Athey has announced that effective at 4:30 pm on Friday, March 20, 2020, Big Stone County facilities will be closed to the public. This action is being taken as an appropriate prevention and protection measure in response to the spread of COVID-19.

Due to the current public health emergency, current recommendations from Countryside Public Health (CPH), Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are all recommending social distancing and limited interaction with other individuals.  In closing to the public, we can comply with these measures and work to keep our staff healthy to continue to serve the public in the coming days.

Until further notice, access to all county buildings will be restricted to staff only.  Members of the public will be met in person by appointment only, where deemed necessary. In accordance with an Eighth Judicial District court order, courtroom access will be limited to the parties in the case who are participating in a court hearing, attorneys who represents those parties, any necessary court staff, and other individuals the presiding judge determines are necessary to conduct the hearing. Representatives of the media are permitted to attend hearings held in courtrooms, coordinated through the Judicial Branch Court Information Office at least 24 hours before the time of the hearing. All questions relating to the Court system can be made by calling Court Administration at 320.839.2536.

We encourage citizens to access services in the following order: First, Online/Phone/Email; Second, use of a drop box (at Family Services or at the north entrance of the courthouse); Third and last, exchange of documents at door if necessary.

 All conference rooms and meeting rooms will be reserved for emergency operations only.

County Departments will continue to operate and provide services during this time.  All citizens should access department pages on this website,  for further information regarding ways to access departments for needed business.  Please call or email if you are struggling to find ways to access services.

Big Stone County is taking this action to support Federal and State orders and guidance to practice social distancing and ultimately protect our families and communities.

For information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) click on the link below:
https://www.countrysidepublichealth.org/

Big Stone County Minnesota - Public Meeting 3-23-2020 - Emergency Declaration



Important Information:

CISA Guide on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce

Cleaning and Storing your Personal Flotation Devices (PFD)

COVID-19 Preparedness Plan Template and Instructions

Covid-19 Resources

DPS Commissioner Harrington explaining “Stay at Home"

Facemasks: Interim Guidance on Alternative Facemasks

Facemasks: Interim Guidance on Facemasks as a Source Control Measure

Minnesota Executive Orders (COVID Orders starting from 20-01 and up)

Minnesota Critical Businesses List

Pollution Control Agency COVID Response for Ag

Pollution Control Agency Excess Milk Guidance

Pollution Control Agency Regulatory-flexibility

Prairie Five Information

USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Press Release

Useful Links:

https://mn.gov/deed/
 - (MN Department of Employment and Economic Development)(Resource for unemployment, jobs, and business information)

 https://mn.gov/dhs/ - (MN Department of Health and Human Services) (Resource for various forms of assistance)

 https://www.countrysidepublichealth.org/  - (Countryside Public Health)  (Local Public Health Resource)

 https://www.ortonville.k12.mn.us/ - (Ortonville Public School)

 http://www.graceville.k12.mn.us/ - (Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley School)

 https://oahs.us/  - (Ortonville Area Health Services)

 https://www.essentiahealth.org/find-facility/profile/essentia-health-holy-trinity-hospital-graceville/  - (Essentia Hospital – Graceville)

Security Tips - Exploiting the Coronavirus: Watch out for These Scams!

Look out! The bad guys are preying on your fear and sending all sorts of scams related to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

 Below are some examples of the types of scams you should be on the lookout for: 

  • Emails that appear to be from organizations such as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), or the WHO (World Health Organization). The scammers have crafted emails that appear to come from these sources, but they actually contain malicious phishing links or dangerous attachments.
  • Emails that ask for charity donations for studies, doctors, or victims that have been affected by the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Scammers often create fake charity emails after global phenomenons occur, like natural disasters, or health scares like the COVID-19.
  • Emails that claim to have a "new" or "updated" list of cases of Coronavirus in your area. These emails could contain dangerous links and information designed to scare you into clicking on the link.

Keep in mind, these are only a few examples and these scam artists are constantly coming up with new ways to fool you.

 What Can I Do?

 Remain cautious! And always remember the following to protect yourself from scams like this: 

  • Never click on links or download attachments from an email that you weren’t expecting.
  • If you receive a suspicious email that appears to come from an official organization such as the WHO or CDC, report the email to the official organization through their website.
  • If you want to make a charity donation, go to the charity website of your choice to submit your payment. Type the charity’s web address in your browser instead of clicking on any links in emails, or other messages.