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Cook County COVID-19 positivity rate and case count climb as vaccine set to arrive

Cook County, the last county in Minnesota to reach triple digits in the overall COVID-19 case count since the start of the pandemic, hit the unwanted milestone yesterday. There are now a total of 100 confirmed cases among local residents, including six more cases reported in the past week.

The county is also listing a positivity rate in its testing of over six percent, which is higher than in recent weeks.

There remain no deaths reported among Cook County residents from COVID-19.

Statewide, the Minnesota Department of Health reports 1,065 deaths from the virus in the first 17 days of the month, including 83 in the Dec. 17 update.

Health officials posted 2,775 new COVID-19 cases across the state in the Dec. 17 report, with significantly lower daily case counts for much of the past week when compared to the start of the month.

Among the new cases reported during the past week in Cook County are four men, including a teenager, two men in their 60s and another in his 70s. Two local women also tested positive, including a woman in her 30s and another in her 60s.

News of the case count climbing to 100 in Cook County is perhaps secondary in comparison to the positivity rate for testing. North Shore Health Hospital Administrator Kimber Wraalstad said during a live interview Dec. 18 that the positivity rate of 6.3 percent means all employees at North Shore Health will once again be tested weekly for COVID-19. The positivity rate in Cook County was at, or just slightly above four percent for the first two weeks in December.

Wraalstad also shares an update on the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine to Cook County. As WTIP reported earlier in the week, the plan for the local hospital in Grand Marais is to begin vaccinating Tuesday, Dec. 22. A total of 75 vaccines will arrive to the local hospital in the initial rollout.

Listen to the audio below to hear more on these topics and other local healthcare news.