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Star Tribune highlights Cook County's COVID-19 response efforts

Dec 21, 2020 07:44AM ● By Editor
Health care officials Andrea Orest and Grace Grinager stood “one moose apart” in Grand Marais. Photo: Alex Kormann, Star Tribune 

From Boreal Community Media - December 21, 2020

With the lowest number of COVID-19 cases in the state of Minnesota, the Star Tribune travelled to Cook County to report on how our communities have handled the pandemic despite record levels of visitors during the summer months.

In the article, Star Tribune reporter Katie Galloto writes, "Residents say collaboration across industry sectors and investments in public health — including the formation of a local contact tracing team — were key to success. The close-knit community recognizes the potentially devastating consequences a widespread outbreak could have on their fragile health care system and limited workforce. "It wouldn't take much to overwhelm us," said Grace Grinager, Cook County's public health supervisor. "So our strategy has really been to make this pandemic response something that's owned by the broader community."'

Galloto continued "
With so little known about COVID-19, officials encouraged extra caution. Right away in late March, most hotels and lodging shut down and tourism promoters paused marketing as residents pleaded with visitors to stay away. Grand Marais' three grocery stores temporarily offered only curbside pickup; some had to take orders by phone or e-mail."

The article reported that many Cook County businesses had banner years during the summer tourism season and are now preparing for the visitors boom to carry on through the winter season.  It cited record sales of outdoor winter equipment at local retailers.  

But the article cautioned that the community needs to remain vigilant.  Quoting local pandemic medical director Dr. Kurt Farchmin, the article reports, 
"My biggest job right now is to be a wet blanket. If people are wanting to come up here this winter, I say bring a lot of warm clothes," Farchmin said. "Because we don't want you inside."

Congratulations to public health officials, front-line workers, local businesses and all community members for keeping us as safe as possible during this deadly pandemic.  The Star Tribune article reminds us all to keep up our efforts and to continue to practice the all the recommended behaviors to keep us safe.

To read the original Star Tribune article, follow this link.  However, a digital subscription to the Star Tribune may be required.

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