Cook County logo. WTIP file photo
WTIP file photo

Community spread of COVID-19 linked to rise in Cook County cases

A recent uptick in the number of cases of COVID-19 in Cook County has public health officials concerned heading into late October.

Another case of COVID-19 was reported Thursday, a local woman in her 50s. Cook County Public Health officials identified another case of COVID-19 in the community on Friday, a male in his 50s. This is the fifth case of COVID-19 confirmed in Cook County in the past two weeks.

“With our last handful of cases, there have been signs of increasing community spread of COVID-19 here in Cook County,” said Public Health Supervisor Grace Grinager. “With our cases surging across the upper Midwest, Duluth hospitals often at or above capacity and more local cases that have no known exposure to the virus, now is the time for all of us to re-commit ourselves to acting safely during the pandemic.”

When it comes to the spread of COVID-19, the term ‘community spread’ means people have been infected with the virus in a city or county, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Grinager said during the past month Cook County public health officials have seen a worrisome combination of community members not taking the pandemic seriously and behaving in ways that put themselves at greater risk for exposing both themselves and those around them to COVID-19.

“With community spread, even people who are taking this seriously and being careful are sometimes exposed to the virus and test positive,” Grinager said. “With case counts rising locally and regionally, now is the time for us to come together as a community and re-commit ourselves to each individually acting in ways that promote health and safety. If we all play our part, we have a better chance of having local businesses and schools open throughout the coming winter months.”

With the five recent cases of COVID-19 reported between Oct. 14-23 in Cook County, an extensive amount of contact tracing is currently taking place. WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Public Health Educator Kristin DeArruda Wharton about contact tracing and the current state of the pandemic in Cook County. Listen to the audio below to hear a segment of their conversation from Oct. 22.