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Clinic CEO says COVID-19 a serious issue after conflicting reports from the White House

Following days of conflicting rhetoric from the White House about the new coronavirus, Sawooth Mountain Clinic CEO Kate Surbaugh reinforced that COVID-19 is something to take seriously.

“There is a big difference between being afraid and taking something seriously,” Surbaugh said on WTIP during a live interview this week.

Surbaugh’s comments came just days after President Donald Trump told the public “don’t be afraid of COVID.”

Local healthcare officials have been sharing information on the WTIP airwaves and through other outlets for approximately seven months through the pandemic. During these reports – which include frequent updates from Surbaugh, Dr. Kurt Farchmin, Cook County Public Health Supervisor Grace Grinager and North Shore Health Hospital Administrator Kimber Wraalstad – there have been at times emotional and often critical information shared, including infections among Cook County community members, more than 2,000 deaths among Minnesotans, mental health issues and other topics related to community health through the pandemic.

Surbaugh reinforced that she and her colleagues have never come out and said local residents need to be afraid at all times due to COVID-19, but rather, that people need to take the pandemic seriously. This includes continued social distancing, washing your hands, wearing a mask while in public and other safety measures that have been emphasized repeatedly during the past seven months.

The audio below is a segment of Surbaugh’s discussion with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs that aired on the Daybreak program Oct. 7