RED WING -- Goodhue County received $5,657,070 this week in CARES funds funneled from the federal government through the state. A few local governments also received funds, bringing the pandemic relief package to more than $7.6 million.

“This is important recognition that COVID-19 has expensive consequences that need to be thoughtfully addressed. County-based public health programs are at the forefront of this medical emergency followed by carefully thought out programs for economic recovery,” County Board Chairman Paul Drotos said Friday.

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The state distributed nearly $600 million on July 6 and 7 to those local governments that have applied to date. Governments can use the money to support public services as well as to provide grants to businesses, hospitals and individuals hurt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are fortunate in Minnesota to have these specific resources available to continue to do something positive. As the situation continues, we can be proactive instead of just reactive in order to help people and businesses recover together,” Drotos said.

Counties must share the funds with any affected cities and townships that have populations under 200. Small towns are eligible for $75.34 per person while organized townships qualify for $25 per person, according to the state. Each county received $121.28 times its population.

“Local governments across the state are feeling the impacts of COVID-19 on their budgets and the services they provide,” Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans said Thursday. “The funds authorized by Governor Walz with input from the Legislature will help these local governments effectively respond to this public health emergency.”

The CARES Act requires that payments be used to cover costs that are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency. The timeframe is March 1-Dec. 30. Cities and towns must incur costs between March 1 and Nov. 15, 2020; counties must incur costs by Dec. 1. Unused funds must be returned to the state.

Local governments could begin applying on June 26, and the Minnesota Department of Revenue said it had received and certified applications for 64 counties and 196 cities and townships by June 29.

Checks totalling $596,086,068 went out this week.

“We were able to distribute over 70% of the allotted funds in less than two weeks, and we will continue to work with local governments to ensure they receive funds in a timely manner as more of them apply for their aid,” Revenue Commissioner Cynthia Bauerly said in the state news release.

Local governments can apply to continue through Sept. 15.