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COVID-19 / Coronavirus

Coronavirus COVID-19 multilingual help and updates on Institute services

March 27 – April 10, Stay at Home Order: Governor Walz has directed that Minnesotans should stay home except to pick up essential items (like food, medicine, gas), to relocate for safety reasons, or to go to work if your job is deemed essential. If you leave your home, keep six feet between you and others. You can be active outside (walking, running) during this time but not close to others. By limiting social interactions, we decrease the chance of spreading COVID-19 and help our health care sector prepare for increased demands. Learn more: #StayHomeMN Frequently Asked Questions

Institute Updates

The Institute building is closed until further notice, but our team is working remotely to continue serving our clients and students as much as possible. Many classes and services have moved to online tools like Zoom and YouTube or are being offered via phone and email. We will continue to develop innovative ways to serve our New American community during these unprecedented times. Thank you for your support!

Program Updates

Stay tuned for daily/weekly additions.

English Classes

  • Find out how to learn English at home. Classes will happen on phones, computers, and through the mail between now and April 13, or until further notice.
  • Text @efws to 81010 to get news, updates, and homework from your teachers.
  • Connect with English resources at facebook.com/EnglishIIMN

Job Help

Additional Programs

  • Refugee Services, College Readiness Academy, Hospitality, financial coaching and other services have moved online.


If you think you are sick or have questions, you can call the Minnesota Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline at 651-201-3920,  7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

If you or someone you know needs help accessing food, paying housing bills or other essential services, dial 2-1-1 or text the letters MNCOVID to 898-211

COVID-19 Information

Resources from Minnesota Department of Health:

Basic overview of COVID-19

More languages coming

Language Resource Line

The City of Saint Paul has a new phone line and email address to answer questions about the City’s response to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Interpreters are available to answer questions in Hmong, Karen, Oromo, Somali, and Spanish. Learn more at stpaul.gov/coronavirus. Phone Number: 651-266-6000 Email: LanguageResources@ci.stpaul.mn.us

Videos (Multilingual)

Low-Cost Health Care or Health Insurance

For questions about your health insurance or to apply, you can contact the Institute’s MNsure Navigator at 651-647-0191, ext. 320 or by email at jpatrias@iimn.org. Please leave a voicemail at that phone number and you will receive a call back the same day before 5 p.m. Phone interpreters are available upon request.

MNsure is offering a special enrollment period for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance in response to the potential growth of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. This special enrollment period runs Monday, March 23 through Tuesday, April 21.

Stay Healthy

Close-up of hands being washed with soap

Tips to stay well

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Do not touch your face
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue or into your elbow, not your hands
  • Practice social distancing: stay six feet away from other people
  • Stay home as much as possible, especially if:
    • You are older than 60 years old
    • You are sick
    • You have problems with your heart, lungs or an autoimmune disease
    • You or a person you live with has left the U.S. in the last 14 days
  • Stay away from sick people
  • Clean and disinfect things and places you touch many times a day

If you are sick

  • Stay home if you are coughing, sneezing or have a fever
  • Have your doctor’s phone number ready if you get sick
  • Go to the doctor if you cannot breathe. Stay home if you can breathe.
  • There is no cure for coronavirus and no better way to keep you safe than the advice above. If someone tells you they have a “cure” or “treatment,” they are trying to take your money.

Be Ready


Have food at home

Have enough food at home for 2-3 weeks, in case you have to stay indoors.

Get help accessing food

Stay connected with phone and internet

  • The following companies will not cancel service for the next 60 days; contact your own phone/internet provider for details.
  • PCs for People provides affordable computers and low-cost internet. From home, you can apply, shop and sign up for internet.
  • EveryoneOn offers broadband service to income-eligible families (for example, those that qualify for free or reduced school lunch, or who live in public housing) at a cost of around $10-12 per month (varies from state-to-state). Some states also offer very low-cost laptops or desktops ($100-200).
  • Several internet providers are offering discounts or free internet services during the time of the pandemic:
    • Xcel Energy will not disconnect service to any residential customers until further notice. If you are having difficulty paying your bills, contact them and they will arrange a payment plan that works for you.
    • Comcast offers income-eligible families internet access at $10-12 per month. However, they are now offering this lowcost service for free for the next 60 days.
    • AT&T is waiving data overage fees to all customers so that families and students can stay connected during the pandemic. They will not terminate service of any customer over the next 60 days. All AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data. Additionally, AT&T will continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through the Access from AT&T program.
    • Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free—including non-Xfinity customers.
    • Verizon is waiving late fees and committing to no discontinuation of service during the next 60 days.

Emergency Assistance

Emergency assistance programs in Minnesota are short-term (usually a one-time payment) for people experiencing a financial hardship like an eviction or utility shut-off. If you are in this situation you should contact the county where you live to find out how to get the assistance.

Aid Networks / Resource Lists

Apply for Unemployment Benefits

Minnesota Unemployment Insurance

  • Institute Support: Get help applying for unemployment or another job
  • Minnesota Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program
  • Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits provide a temporary partial wage replacement (some of your normal pay) to workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own (like the coronavirus). If you have become unemployed or had your hours greatly reduced, complete the application process; the state will determine whether or not you are eligible and contact you.
  • Government websites are closed on Saturdays and Sundays; apply during weekdays, Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Unemployment claims last for up to 26 weeks; due to the coronavirus crisis, it may last longer.
  • People who quit (depending on the cause) can apply for unemployment.
  • People who are fired (depending on the cause) can apply for unemployment.
  • It will take about 2-3 weeks or longer for unemployment claims to be processed. The government is working on processing these claims sooner due to the pandemic, but the large influx will slow down claims.
  • If you are denied, you can reapply and appeal.
  • Information on payment process

Immigration Benefits Interviews

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services logo

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services temporarily suspended in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and Application Support Centers (ASCs) to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). USCIS offices will reopen on May 4 unless the public closures are extended further.
  • USCIS’ naturalization ceremony scheduled for April 9 has been canceled.
  • We will continue to provide updates as we receive them. Additionally, updates should be provided through the USCIS website.

Legal Help

For help with a legal issue, please call the Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN) at 612-752-6677 to request a phone consultation with a lawyer.

Taxes and Loans

Relief Checks (Economic Impact Payments)

  1. You don’t need to do anything. As long as you filed taxes for 2018 and/or 2019, the federal government likely has the information it needs to send you your money. If you haven’t filed taxes recently, you’ll need to submit a simple tax return to get your check. (More on who’s eligible here.)
  2. Do not give anyone your personal information to “sign-up” for your relief check. There is nothing to sign up for. Anyone calling to ask for your personal information, like your Social Security number, PayPal account, or bank information is a scammer, plain and simple. Also be on the lookout for email phishing scams, where scammers pretend to be from the government and ask for your information as part of the “sign-up” process for the checks.
  3. To set up direct deposit of your check, communicate only with the IRS at irs.gov/coronavirus. And you only need to do this if you didn’t give the IRS your bank information on your 2018 or 2019 return. In the coming weeks, the IRS will be setting up an online form available through irs.gov/coronavirus. But nowhere else, and never in response to an email, text, or call.
  4. No one has early access to this money. Anyone that claims to is a scammer. The timeline for this process is not exact, but it looks like funds will start going out in the next few weeks. Scammers are using the lack of detail to try to trick people into giving their personal information and money.

To get official updates and more information, visit the IRS’s page on economic impact payments. And if you come across a scammer trying to take your check, we want to hear about it. Report it at ftc.gov/complaint.

Information via consumer.ftc.gov

Más Recursos en Español

Viruses don't discriminate. Stigma will NOT fight coronavirus. Sharing accurate information will. LEARN MORE: health.mn.gov

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