HIBBING — Police Chief Steve Estey in Hibbing on Tuesday announced law enforcement plan on triaging calls during the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota.

“As you are all aware this is new territory for everyone in the country so please try to be patient with one another and our officers during this stressful time,” Estey wrote in a press release. “Our officers will continue to serve the community to the best of their ability like they do everyday.”

The police department is moving forward to implement the following guidelines.

•Officers will respond to calls that are priority one, meaning crimes in progress or those in which the Captain feels requires a face-to-face response.

•Traffic accidents and other calls will be handled by phone unless they result in injuries.

• Officers will continue to be visible and patrolling the community as usual.

In recent days, Estey told the Hibbing Daily Tribune that if a call to 911 is initated due to an illness, especially one consisting of a high fever or breathing problems, the caller should make the dispatcher aware, so the officers know before arriving on the scene. He also suggested that people call 911, before coming into the police station located in the St. Louis County Courthouse in Hibbing. The county administrator has said all county buildings will remain open until the state suggests otherwise.

The chief’s announcement comes one day after the St. Louis County Jail suspended visiting hours to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect people in the jail in Duluth and the holding cells in Hibbing and Virginia. That suspension of visiting hours does not apply to attorneys or other professionals needing to visit a client at the jail.

St. Louis County did not report any coronoavirus cases as of Tuesday afternoon.

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