Item Coversheet

Board Action Request

Item Description:
County Board consent to Continued Local Emergency pursuant to Minnesota Statutes Chapter 12, regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus)

WHEREAS, there is an outbreak of respiratory illness, called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), in a growing number of countries, including the United States; and

WHEREAS, federal, state, and local public health authorities have identified the public health threat posed by COVID-19, which may be spread from person to person; and

WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization deemed COVID-19 to be a pandemic; and

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, President Donald Trump declared a Presidential National Emergency, and Governor Tim Walz declared a Peacetime State of Emergency in Minnesota, to authorize any and all necessary resources to be used in support of the response to COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, on Monday, March 16, 2020, the Chair of the Hennepin County Board declared a Local Emergency, pursuant to Minnesota Statutes § 12.29, based on the following:


  • As of March 16, 2020, more than 1,600 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the United States, including more than 50 confirmed cases in the State of Minnesota, and multiple confirmed cases in Hennepin County;

  • It is anticipated that the number of persons diagnosed with COVID-19 is likely to increase in Hennepin County and in Minnesota;

  • If COVID-19 spreads in Hennepin County at a rate comparable to the rate of spread elsewhere, an increasing number of individuals are at elevated risk of exposure and may require medical care and hospitalization;

  • Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure, and healthcare systems may become overloaded if COVID-19 becomes widespread in Hennepin County and surrounding communities;

  • Local, state, and federal health departments are strongly recommending community mitigation strategies to slow community spread of COVID-19;

  • The potential community transmission of COVID-19 threatens the health, safety, and welfare of the residents and employees of Hennepin County and surrounding communities;

  • It is imperative to prepare for and respond to suspected or confirmed cases in Hennepin County and to implement measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19;

  • The risk of community spread of COVID-19 requires extraordinary and immediate measures  to slow the transmission of COVID-19, to protect individuals at increased risk, to protect the healthcare and critical infrastructure workforces, to minimize morbidity and mortality, and to minimize the social and economic impacts of community spread;

  • The necessary resources to respond to and recover from this pandemic may exceed the resources available within Hennepin County, and additional resources may be needed from state and/or federal sources;


WHEREAS, a local emergency may be declared by the Chair of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, pursuant to Minnesota Statutes § 12.29; and


WHEREAS, a declaration of local emergency invokes Hennepin County’s disaster plans, including response and recovery aspects, and authorizes aid and assistance under those plans, pursuant to Minnesota Statutes § 12.29; and


WHEREAS, a declaration of local emergency also invokes Hennepin County’s powers to fast provide emergency aid, pursuant to Minnesota Statutes § 12.37; and

WHEREAS, the Chair’s Declaration of Local Emergency may not be continued for more than three days except by or with the consent of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, pursuant to Minnesota Statutes § 12.29; and


WHEREAS, the Hennepin County Board finds that the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential for outbreak in Hennepin County, and the need for extraordinary and immediate measures to protect the health, safety, and welfare of Hennepin County residents and employees will not be resolved in the immediate future; and


WHEREAS, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners further finds that the Local Emergency will last for more than three days.


BE IT RESOLVED, that the Hennepin County Board declares that the Local Emergency remains ongoing; and 


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Hennepin County Board consents to continuation of the Local Emergency until the passage of a termination resolution by the Hennepin County Board; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the County Administrator or his designee is directed to request and coordinate all necessary aid from local, state, and federal government; and 


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the County Board delegates to the County Administrator authority to exercise the emergency powers outlined in Minnesota Statutes 12.37, for the duration of this Local Emergency; and 


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the County Board delegates authority to the County Administrator of up to $2.5 million to purchase and contract for all necessary goods, materials, supplies, equipment, and contracted services as part of the Hennepin County’s COVID-19 response; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, all Hennepin County ordinances, rules, and policies that may inhibit or prevent prompt response to COVID-19 are suspended for the duration of the Local Emergency, in the sole discretion of the Hennepin County Administrator or designee, but any such suspension by the County Administrator shall be timely reported to the Chair of the County Board.  

Recommendation from County Administrator: Recommend Approval