BEMIDJI -- Beltrami County is ramping up its social distancing efforts at all of its department offices as the state of Minnesota encourages more precautions to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The governmental unit's headquarters is downtown on a multi-facility campus, with many offices housed in the Beltrami County Administration Building at 701 Minnesota Ave. NW. According to a release, the whole campus is limiting in-person contact and asking the public to call ahead and stay home if they're sick.
At Beltrami County Health and Human Services, residents are asked to call the office at (218) 333-8300 first. The office will remain open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but the public is still encouraged to use email, fax, telephones and drop boxes to communicate.
Face-to-face visits are being limited with Health and Human Services, but decisions are being made on a case-by-case basis. Staff will remain available to provide the necessary services and answer questions.
The office providing income maintenance, employment services and child support are also limiting in-person contact. The office will remain open, but social distancing is in place. Residents are encouraged to process needs online, with cash, SNAP and emergency programs available at www.applymn.dhs.mn.gov and health care at www.MNsure.org. If online resources are unavailable, citizens can call the office at (218) 333-8300.
At the Veteran Services office, work will continue, but all business will be done by phone and/or mail only. The office is currently closed to the public, to get in touch with the office, call (218) 333-4178.
The Family Health office will continue offering its Women, Infants and Children services with phone contacts, with the number being (218) 333-8140. The office is requesting participants have their WIC cards available to verify their household ID. Visiting staff at the office is working with clients to transition to telephone and online.
Beltrami's social services, child and adult protections, as well as the adult and children's service units are continuing to stay open. However, they are also using social distancing, and are asking residents to make child protection reports by calling (218) 333-4223 and adult protection reports to the state's Adult Abuse Reporting Center at (844) 880-1574.
At the attorney's office, efforts are underway to reduce the amount of court time by working with the judiciary and defense bar. The auditor/treasurer's office, meanwhile, announced it will mail 2020 property tax statements the last week of March, with the first half due May 15 and second half on Oct. 15.
Another office remaining open is the shared Environmental Services and Soil and Water Conservation District space. However, while the office is open to assist residents with business, work is being conducted by phone, email and paper mail. The office can be reached at (218) 333-4158 or by email at email@example.com.