Cook County Chamber: The Case of the Misguided Pandemic PushbackOct 28, 2020 10:19AM ● By Editor
By Jim Boyd, Executive Director of The Cook County Chamber of Commerce - October 28, 2020
As the number of COVID-19 cases in Cook County grew quickly over the past week, public-health workers found themselves confronting a new form of pushback in some county businesses: Workers who were identified as close contacts of those with COVID questioned the strong public health recommendation that they quarantine for 14 days. Instead, they wondered about the ability to continue to come to work, thus potentially spreading the virus to customers and fellow employees – and endangering the business owner’s ability to continue operating.
Clearly, refusing to quarantine doesn’t do anyone any favors, least of all the county businesses that employ these people. Too, continuing to come to work when you’ve been advised to stay home neutralizes the sacrifice made by all those who do quarantine. They see that as their necessary contribution to bringing the pandemic under control, and they are right.
Ultimately, a refusal to quarantine puts everyone in the county at risk – including those most vulnerable to the virus and likely to develop life-threatening symptoms. It also puts at risk the continuing existence of numerous county businesses. The more the virus spreads – and evidence is that it is spreading widely now in Cook County – the more frequently businesses will find themselves so short of staff they have no choice but to close. Or, worse, the more likely it becomes that this fall wave of pandemic forces Gov. Tim Walz to reimpose severe closures on state businesses – something no one desires.
We all want a return to normal life, with our kids in school, our businesses thriving and our friends and neighbors maskless and free to enjoy life. But the surest path to that normal life runs through a prolonged period of careful adherence to the rules of this COVID era, including the very strong public health request/recommendation that if you are exposed to the virus, you need to quarantine for 14 days. About 5-7 days following your exposure, taking a test may be recommended. But whether that test turns out positive or negative, you need to finish out your 14-day quarantine. Public health experts tell us it’s the only way to keep everyone safe.
If you or your employees have questions about quarantine or workplace safety, please call Cook County Public Health at 218-387-3605. If you or an employee has questions about symptoms or testing, call Sawtooth Mountain Clinic at 218-387-2330.