Submitted photo

Clinic CEO shares insights on low case count, high vaccination rate in Cook County

There’s an assortment of media and public attention across Minnesota this week on the low case count of COVID-19 in Cook County coupled with a high vaccination rate in the community.

WTIP covers this news on a weekly, and often daily basis, during interviews with local healthcare and public health officials. During an interview March 3 with Sawtooth Mountain Clinic CEO Kate Surbaugh, WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs asked what circumstances and factors led to Cook County being in the unique position of having the lowest case count for COVID among Minnesota’s 87 counties and the highest vaccination rate among all the counties statewide.

Surbaugh described a number of factors that led to this welcomed scenario, including collaboration between the clinic, North Shore Health, Grand Portage Health Services and the Cook County Public Health Department. Surbaugh also mentioned all the volunteers, local businesses and dedication from community members in helping to slow the spread of the virus and the interest to get vaccinated.

In related news, during the first week of March public health officials in Cook County announced that local residents who are patients of Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and between the ages of 60-64 with certain medical conditions or social stressors were eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine. The fact Sawtooth Mountain Clinic is a Federally Qualified Health Center has allowed for an expanded rollout of the vaccine in Cook County, Surbaugh said.

Listen to the audio below to learn more about the role of Cook County’s Federally Qualified Health Center during the pandemic and more local healthcare news.