Koochiching County COVID-19 Resources

UWNEMN COVID-19 Crisis Funds raised in Koochiching County will stay in Koochiching County.  Click here for more information.

The financial assistance application for Koochiching County individuals who have lost their jobs or had reduced hours due to COVID-19 is now open. Click here for more information.

Koochiching County COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic affects every one of UWNEMN's Focus Areas: helping children succeed, empowering healthy lives, and stabilizing families and individuals. Our staff is hard at work to respond to this crisis in a thoughtful, responsible way. We are monitoring the situation closely and staying in regular contact with our schools, agencies, and other community partners to continue to be a resource to you.

Communication is key in times of uncertainty like this. Please check back to this page often as details are changing rapidly given the fluid nature of the situation. 

Scroll through for updates, or jump to a section using the links below:
UWNEMN PROGRAM UPDATES
UWNEMN AGENCY UPDATES
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - FOOD
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - CHILDCARE
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - EDUCATION
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - HEALTH
COMMUNITY RESOURCES - OTHER

 

UWNEMN PROGRAM UPDATES

  • All children enrolled in Buddy Backpacks will continue to receive them for the remainder of the school year. UWNEMN is unable to host volunteers to pack Buddy Backpacks at this time, but our staff will continue to pack meal kits for the foreseeable future.
  • Comforts of Home is currently unable to accommodate in-person appointments. If families or individuals in crisis are in need of home goods, referring agencies or caseworkers can email katy@unitedwaynemn.org to arrange for UWNEMN staff to pack requested items for clients that can be made available for pick-up. If families or individuals would prefer to wait for in-person appointments to resume, email katy@unitedwaynemn.org to get on a wait list for when the program resumes as normal.
  • Imagination Library will continue to mail books directly to children's homes on a monthly basis. If you have a child under 5 who is not enrolled in this program, this may be a good time to enroll them; click here to do soPlease keep in mind it takes 6-8 weeks for the first book to arrive. For the next 4 weeks, Dolly Parton will be reading a story from her Imagination Library every Thursday at 6 pm in an effort to comfort and reassure children during the shelter-in-place mandates. Click here for more.
  • Smiles United dental program has been suspended. 

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UWNEMN PARTNER AGENCY UPDATES

  • American Red Cross Minnesota is facing a severe blood shortage due to blood drives being canceled across the country. Red Cross has implemented additional precautions to ensure the safety of their donors and staff; if you're healthy and able, please consider scheduling a blood or platelets donation. To make an appointment, calll 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or click hereRed Cross offices in MN are closed, and free smoke detector instalation is temporarily suspended. Those in crisis can still reach Red Cross staff in our region by calling 218-722-0071. All disaster response services remain in place and available to those impacted by disasters such as home fires or spring flooding.
  • Falls Hunger Coalition food shelf grocery hours are the same; however, clients receiving food will no longer be able to come in and shop, instead they receive prepackaged food. Client service hours are Tuesdays 10:00am – 4:00pm and Thursday & Friday 10:00am – 2:00pm. 218-283-8020.  Clients can call when they get to the building, and food will be brought out to them.
  • Friends Against Abuse walk-in traffic for advocacy services has been suspended, meeting with individuals on a case by case basis. Trained advocates remain available by phone 24/7 at 285-7220 or  888-344-3264. 
  • Koochiching Aging Options office is closed to the public.  Messages left at 283-7030 will be returned daily. The Senior Wheels program (please call your health care provider). Memory Cafe is currently making contact by phone to develop a call buddies network. Caregiver Consultant Program and Dementia Support are available through email and phone. Senior Companion and Good Visit are available through phone only. Groceries to You! is currently continuing; must pre-register to use this program. Registered clients place orders Tuesdays between 9 am and 12 pm, and delivers are made Wednesday to the outside door/vestibule only. Clients will be pre-screened before order is accepted, and volunteers will be pre-screened before shopping and delivering. Call 283-7057 or email KoochichingAgingOptions@gmail.com for Groceries to You! 
  • Salvation Army International Falls office is closed to the public. Intake can be done over the phone. Limited funds are available for rent and emergency lodging, however ample funds are available through HeatShare and for medical expenses. The Salvation Army has packaged bags of food for kids and the elderly.  There are no income guidelines. Call 218-283-3394 to schedule a pick-up time. Food Pantry is still open by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursday. 
  • Servants of Shelter is operating normal office hours for the time being. The shelter currently has one two-bedroom apartment available. Agencies with clients in need of emergency shelter should call 218-285-2092. 

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES - FOOD

  • All Super One stores ask that the public allow the first hour of sevice to be the shopping hour for the elderly, immunocompromised, healthcare staff, and first responders. 
  • All Dollar General stores have dedicated their first hour of operations strictly to senior customers so they can purchase items when shelves are stocked and cleaned and avoid crowds. Stores ask other customers to plan shopping trips around that window of time.
  • ISD 361 is providing free breakfast and lunch for every child under 18 - no paperwork required. Meals can be picked up between 11 am and 1 pm Mondays-Fridays at Door #7. Meals should be eaten off-site. Food drop-off can be arranged for those with transportation needs. Email foodservice@isd361.org or call 218-283-2571 ext. 1102.
  • ISD 362 Food Delivery/Pick-up program is working well, and families interested in the service can still sign up by filing out the survey (click here). This service is FREE for ANY L-BF Student who would like to participate.
  • ISD 363 - Northome School has received word from the Minnesota Department of Education that all of our students in Pre-K through Grade 12 are eligible to receive a Free Breakfast and Lunch that the school will deliver to your home.  To sign up for that, and find more information, click here. Indus School lunch program is free for all students age 4-18. Meals can be delivered.  For forms and information, click here.
  • AEOA Meals on Wheels and Home Delivered Meals in International Falls and Northome continue as normal. Senior Dining in International Falls, Littlefork, Northome Jourdans Restaurant & Northome Shining Light Cafe are take-out only. AEOA may have a food service staff member going on leave in International Falls.  If anyone is interested and has ServSafe certification or food service experience, please contact marilyn.ocepek@aeoa.org or 218-748-7325.
  • Backus Community Center Community Café is serving pick up meals only, the dining room is closed.  Café guests can call 285-7225 by 4:00 pm the day of Community Café to reserve meals.  Pick up is from 5:00 to 6:00 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Falls Hunger Coalition food shelf grocery hours are the same; however, clients receiving food will no longer be able to come in and shop, instead they receive prepackaged food. Client service hours are Tuesdays 10:00am – 4:00pm and Thursday & Friday 10:00am – 2:00pm. 218-283-8020.  Clients can call when they get to the building, and food will be brought out to them.
  • Good Samaritan Society Homecare continues to provide Homemaking services, including errand-running, grocery shopping, light housekeeping, and meal prep. Call 218-283-4319 for more information.
  • Koochiching Aging Options' Groceries to You! is currently continuing; must pre-register to use this program. Registered clients place orders Tuesdays between 9 am and 12 pm, and deliveries are made Wednesday to the outside door/vestibule only. Clients will be pre-screened before order is accepted, and volunteers will be pre-screened before shopping and delivering. Call 283-7057 or email KoochichingAgingOptions@gmail.com for Groceries to You! 
  • KOOTASCA Community Action's Head Start staff are delivering meals to students
  • Salvation Army International Falls has packaged bags of food for kids and the elderly.  There are no income guidelines. Call 218-283-3394 to schedule a pick-up time. Food Pantry is still open by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursday.
  • USDA is warning of SNAP scams arising to steal confidential information like social seccurity numbers, bank information, or PIN numbers in order to qualify for COVID-19-related assistance. If you are unsure if a request for information is legitimate, call 1-800-657-3698. For a list of current potential scams, click here. If you belive you are the victim of identity theft, contact your local police department; you may also file a complaint online with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by clicking here.

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES - CHILDCARE

  • The six Minnesota Initiative Foundations have created an Emergency Child Care Grant Program to provide immediate financial support to licensed child care providers in Greater Minnesota. Applicants must be a licensed family- or center-based child care provider, be located within a Greater Minnesota community, and serve children of essential and emergency workers. Click here for more information.
  • First Children's Finance conducted a webinar for child care businesses in our region to explore crisis management strategies for their businesses during COVID-19. To view the webinar - or for technical support, consulting, training, financial analysis and more - click here.
  • For questions about school closures and childcare, contact the state information hotline between 7 am and 7 pm: 1-800-657-3504.
  • Local schools will provide childcare for elementary-age children of health care professionals, first responders, and other emergency workers, including grocery store staff  during previously planned school days. Please contact your local school for more information.

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES - EDUCATION

  • Minnesota Afterschool Advance is offering Chromebooks for 75% off to Minnesota families with students in grade K-12. To be eligible, household income must be $33,500 or less. Limit one per household. Click here for more information. 
  • For free Imagination Library activities for children at home, click here.
  • Scholastic is providing free grade-level-specific activities online for children while schools are closed - click here.
  • For a list of education companies offering free subscriptions during school closures, click here.
  • Ballan's iSpace is available for students starting online classes March 30th to reserve time for FREE. Call or text 324-1136 to reserve time. Click here for more information.
  • International Falls Public Library is streaming live story time Thursday mornings at 10:30 am. on their Facebook page. Click here!
  • Koochiching County 4-H programs have been canceled through May 15. While the local office is closed, Extension Educator Stacy Hall is still available at smhall@umn.edu or 218.324.2709. There are multiple online 4-H programming opportunities being offered for youth during this time. For more information, click here or follow the Koochiching County 4-H Facebook page
  • KOOTASCA Community Action's Head Start classrooms are closed at this time and staff are working with families on distance learning.  Head Start staff are delivering meals to students. Early Head Start children continue to be served through EHS via video/phone conferencing.  If you know of somebody who is pregnant or has a child under 3 years old, please encourage them to apply for the program

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES - HEALTH

  • Click here for a list of mental health resources during this time of self isolation from Mental Health Minnesota. 
  • Accra offices are closed to the public, but operations run as normal. All visits are conducted by phone or teleconference at this time.
  • Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging office is closed until further notice.  Call 1-800-333-2433  Monday - Thursday from 8 am to 4 pm. Outreach and training events are postponed including Senior LinkAge Line presentations, speaking engagements, health fairs, 1:1 options counseling and Evidence Based Health promotions classes and trainings offered through Juniper.
  • Essentia Health International Falls is enouraging patients not to come into the clinic for routine appointments. E-visits, telephone visits, and virtual visits available. COVID-19 screening available at no cost with an e-visit online. Call 1-833-494-0836 for more information. 
  • Fairview Range Homecare and Hospice continues to see clients in their homes and is taking new referrals and admits for both home care and hospice daily.  Nurses immediately screen for COVID-19 and have protocol in place.  Hospice care continues to be provided at Littlefork Care Center. 
  • Good Samaritan Society of Int’l Falls has implemented a no visitor policy unless a resident is at end of life. To send a note to a resident click here
  • Good Samaritan Society Homecare continues to accept clients for Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Nursing, and Homemaking. (Homemaking services include errand-running, grocery shopping, light housekeeping and meal prep.) Call 218-283-4319 for more information.
  • I Falls Family Planning is currently not taking walk-ins at the clinic. Call 218-283-6188 before coming to the clinic, and do not come to the clinic if you have any of the following symptoms: temperature 100 F or higher, respiratory symptoms, cough, difficulty breathing, known exposure to COVID 19, or awaiting test results for COVID 19.
  • Koochiching County Public Health and Human Services building is closed to the public.  For Human Services, contacts are made via phone or video conferencing (where available).  All critical services are still being provided, including Child Protection and Vulnerable Adults protection. Call 283-7000 for more information. Programs continue as usual, but most are available only by phone or email. Click here for more information on each program. Stay up-to-date with the county public health department by liking their Facebook page (click here). 
  • Northern Options for Women continues to meet with clients one on one for urgent needs (screening required).  Immediate needs include: diapers, wipes, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, baby items, someone to talk to, cribs, etc.  Call 218 285-7673, call Vickie Bernard via Facebook, or message through the Facebook page (click here). 
  • Northland Crisis Counseling Center office is closed Fridays.
  • Northland Crisis Response Team services will continue to be 24/7/365; however, the delivery of the crisis services (ie. Face-to-face) have changed to phone and video only. When calling for crisis services, 211/First Call for Help will be notifying callers that services are phone or video only. Transportation by the crisis team is not available for any reason. The team is always available for calls. The crisis bed is unavailable at this time due to a sewer line break.
  • Rainy Lake Medical Center has postponed non-urgent/routine appointments.  Medically necessary procedures and appointments are still being conducted. RLMC currently is enforcing a “No Visitor” policy. Call 218-283-5503 to request screening from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. After hours, please call 218-283-4481. Rainy Lake Medical Center is suspending its inpatient labor and delivery services effective April 15. In order to ensure that patients are able to establish prenatal care locally, Dr. Scott Johnson and OB-GYN providers from Sanford Health will be seeing patients at Rainy Lake Medical Center so expectant mothers can work with a provider of their choice to develop a birth plan.
  • Rainy River Recovery is doing meetings via telehealth.  The office is open, but staff is staggered. 
  • West Falls Estates is currently closed to all visitors. Family members doing wellness checks, medical personnel (nursing, therapy), and deliveries are permitted.  All other visitors must be approved by management.

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COMMUNITY RESOURCES - OTHER

  • For a comprehensive and timely list of updates on COVID-19 in our state, the state's response, and state resources, click here.
  • If you are unable to work, have had hours reduced, or have lost your job as a result of this pandemic, you can apply for unemployment benefitsClick here for more information.
  • The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has begun making Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments to people who are self-employed, independent contractors, and other eligible recipients who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Click here for more information.
  • Over the past few weeks, several state and federal programs have been built to assist small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for a guide.
  • LISC Small Business Relief Grants are opening for Round Two for small businesses affected by COVID-19 across the country, especially those in underserved communities, inlcuding businesses owned by people of color, women, and veterans. Applications open May 14th. Click here to learn more.
  • Beauty Changes Lives is offering $1,000 grants to beauty professionals or students of beauty programs who have been impacted by COVID-19. Apply here.
  • Local banks have largely closed their lobbies and are operating their drive throughs only. Call your local bank if you need to speak with a banker or make an appointment.
  • Many utilities, telecommuncations companies, and automakers are easing shutoffs and waiving late fees to accomodate customers who may be struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for a list of cable, utility, and other providers taking action.
  • Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans' Duluth office is currently open for walk-ins for veterans without access to phones or compouters on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If you are able to reach out from a phone or computer, please call 1-833-222-6228 or email mac-v@mac-v.org.
  • Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is offering $250 grants to service-connected disabled veterans who lost employment because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for more information.
  • State grant funds are available for veterans who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for more information.
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services continues to run the Telephone Equipment Distribution program (TED), which provides telephone/telecommunication equipment to eligible Minnesotans at no charge. They continue advocacy and consultation for those with hearing loss as well as workplaces unsure of how to make communication accessible and also provide FREE mental health counseling to anyone in MN with a hearing loss. Click here for more information.
  • Koochiching County buildings are closed to the public.  The transfer station which will remain open to the public during normal business hours for solid waste disposal. The Courthouse will remain open to the public for District Court cases. County Probation is requesting clients to report by phone on their assigned reporting day and further instruction will be given at that time. For more information, click here.
  • Housing & Redevelopment Authority of Koochiching County has halted inspections for the time being.  The office remains open for business as usual.
  • International Falls Public Library is offering pickup service of materials at the parking lot doors. This includes books, printed materials, tax forms. Call 218-283-8051, email ifallslibrary@gmail.com, or LiveChat on the library's web site (click here) between 9 am and 5 pm Monday-Friday. If community members have a library card they can use Hoopla (currently raised limit to 25 items/month) or Libby to get digital materials, as well as a variety of other digital resources that can be found here. OR click here to get a library card to access digital or physical materials.
  • International Falls Water Department will not be shutting off water services even if you’ve received a shut off notice. However, residents will continue to be billed though.  Call 218-283-9484 for more information.
  • KOOTASCA Community Action office in International Falls is closed, but calls are being answered (218-283-9491) 8 am - 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. A secure drop box has been installed next to the main (side) entry for clients to drop off applications or necessary information. Head Start classrooms are closed at this time. Staff are working with families on distance learning and are delivering meals to students Monday – Friday. At this time, there is no rental assistance funding available. Applications for Fairview Horizon continue to  be accepted. One unit of Transitional Housing is open - if you know of a homeless household with children, please encourage them to call 2-1-1.  Energy Assistance continues to process applications and provide grant and crisis payments for heating and electric. Only one month of income will be required (had previously been 3 months). Those who are self employed are encouraged to call KOOTASCA for a Self-Employment Income Cash Accounting Worksheet.  If an employed individual is having difficulty getting proof of income from their employer, please contact Energy Assistance at 218-999-0824.  Emergency heating system repair or replacement in emergency “no heat” situations is still available for homeowners on EAP.
  • Legal Aid Service of Northeastern Minnesota cancelled all community outreach, in-person intake, trainings, and clinics. Offices are now closed to the public.  LASNEM is still open for intake by telephone and online and is still providing legal representation remotely and in court.  Agencies looking for any form of guidance regarding the frequently changing rules/policies should e-mail Heather Lindula at hlindula@lasnem.org.
  • For a comprehensive list of your legal rights amidst this crisis from Legal Services State Support, click here.
  • Midco Lifeline Internet Service won't disconnect services to customers financially affected by the Coronavirus pandemic for the next 60 days (through May 15).  Customers are encouraged to contact customer care representatives. Midco would like to remind schools sand communities of the lifeline program, a federal program intended to put home phone and internet service within reach of qualifying families for as little as $5.70/month. Click here for more information. 
  • Minnesota Power has suspended disconnections and will extend the MN Cold Weather Rule protections until May 31. Contact them if you are having trouble paying your bill or have been disconnected and need to be reconnected: 1-800-228-4966.
  • Occupational Development Center's Habilitation and Training Center (HTC) is officially shut down until the Governor lifts the stay at home ban. The office will be closed until that time as well. To reach Mary Gibson, Program Specialist in I Falls, call 218-240-5836.

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Please remember, if you are ever in need of help, the 24-hour United Way 2-1-1 line is available to help you find local resources that best fit your needs. (Call 2-1-1 or visit www.211unitedway.org for more information.)

UWNEMN's mission is "to unite and focus our communities in creating measurable results to improve people's lives and strengthen our families." This unity and focus is needed now more than ever. Please practice patience, thoughtfulness, and preventive measures in the days and weeks to come to keep yourselves, your families, and your neighbors healthy and safe