Update - March 20, 2020
Currently, South St. Paul parks and trails remain open. Public parks and open spaces provide a critical connection to the outdoors and green space as well as opportunities for physical activity, which studies demonstrate reduces stress and improves mental health. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) flagging mental health as a top concern associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, we believe our parks and open spaces are needed now more than ever! If you choose to visit local parks and trails, the National Recreation and Park Association offers a few recommendations on observing social distancing in parks and on trails:
Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to heading to parks and trails — wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, do not use public areas if you have symptoms, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
Observe at all times CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Keep it as you walk, jog, bike or hike.
Warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass to allow proper distance. Step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times. Signal your presence with your voice, bell or horn.
Follow CDC guidance on the recommended size of social gatherings including outdoor picnicking, pick-up sports and other group hangouts, and maintain proper physical distance at all times.
Bring water or drinks — public drinking fountains should not be used, even if operable.
In South St. Paul park users will find public restrooms closed — be prepared before you leave and time outings so that you are not dependent on public restrooms.
Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash, take everything out with you to protect park workers.
You are discouraged from using playgrounds and other outdoor equipment as surfaces are not able to be properly cleaned and disinfected during and after each use.
South St. Paul’s parks, trails and open spaces have always served as places where people can find respite and seek peace and restoration. During this time of uncertainty, we are working hard to maintain these spaces and keep them safe, accessible and benefiting our community. Let us all do our part to use them in a way that respects each other and public health guidance.
Update - March 17, 2020
The City of South St. Paul continues to closely monitor the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During the City Council meeting of March 16, 2020, Mayor Francis addressed the residents of South St. Paul on the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and actions the City will be taking (follow this link to read the Mayor’s announcement). Following this, the City Council passed a local Declaration of Emergency.
What does this mean? City Council meetings will continue to be held, however, they will be held via telephone or by other electronic means. All City buildings will be closed to the public through March 31, 2020. The City of South St. Paul urges residents to pay utility bills online, or by using the Dropbox located by the alley side entrance doors. Payments may also be mailed to the City at 125 3rd Ave N, South St Paul, MN 55075.
All essential services for the City will continue, with added precautions taken by staff.
The City of South St. Paul would like to remind you that if you are not feeling well or have any symptoms please stay home to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
As always you can call the City with any questions at 651-554-3200, or continue to watch the City’s website and Facebook page for updates.
Update - March 13, 2020
We want to assure South St. Paul residents that City Officials and staff are closely monitoring the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and MDH (Minnesota Department of Health) recommendations for current advisories and we request that all residents do the same. Accordingly, the CDC and MDH advise that all of us should take the following precautions:
- Stay home when you are sick (i.e. fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, chills or fatigue).
- Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your mouth with tissues whenever you sneeze, and discard used tissues in the trash.
- Avoid people who are sick with respiratory symptoms.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces.
Additionally, the CDC recommends that persons remain at home for at least 24 hours after they are free of fever and fever symptoms without the use of fever-reducing medications.
The MDH is currently recommending the public start moving toward the practice of Social Distancing, especially for those at high risk. As such, the City of South St. Paul has made the determination to temporarily close the Central Square Community Center, Doug Woog Arena, and the Library to the public through March 23, 2020, as of close of the normal business day on March 13, 2020. (Note: there was a large Minnesota Hockey Tournament scheduled at the Doug Woog Arena March 13-15. However, Minnesota Hockey made the decision to cancel the tournament and we therefore, included the Doug Woog Arena in closures following close of business on March 13, 2020).
As this situation continues to evolve, the City is prepared to make changes under the guidance of the CDC, MDH and Dakota County Public Health. Thank you for your support and understanding as we work through this health challenge. Be assured the City will be relying heavily on guidance from MDH and CDC and we will do our very best to keep the community informed and to continue to provide services to the community.
Dakota County is working with local, state and federal health officials in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that has infected more than 80,000 people worldwide. There have been 14 confirmed cases in the United States, but none in Minnesota.
“We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak," said Christine Lees, Dakota County Public Health’s disease prevention and emergency preparedness supervisor. “We have several plans in place to respond to COVID-19 if we have a confirmed case in the county."
Dakota County Public Health and Emergency Preparedness has activated a system that assigns emergency roles to staff and involves regular meetings to share COVID-19 updates. County staff are also communicating with the Minnesota Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Health care providers in the county are screening patients for signs and symptoms of the virus. All suspected virus specimens are sent to the state Health Department and the CDC for testing. There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19.
“We know that this outbreak is scary and that many people are wondering what they can do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe," Lees said. “It’s a good idea to talk with children, spouses and grandparents now to discuss what you would do if one of you were sick."
Despite not having any cases in Minnesota, health officials recommend individuals and families make a plan in case someone gets sick. They also suggest following the same steps for avoiding the flu:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap
- Cover your cough
- Stay home from work or school when you’re sick
Visit www.cdc.gov and www.health.state.mn.us for more information about COVID-19.