Counties across central and southwestern Minnesota have declared states of emergency in the past day or so that allow them to close their offices and change some of their business practices to protect employees and the public.

Kandiyohi, Swift, Chippewa, and Sterns Counties joined Redwood and Renville Counties yesterday in shutting down most or all county buildings to the public. In all counties, most services are still available, but the public is asked to communicate with county staff through phone calls or Internet.