Cook County line. Submitted photo
Submitted photo

Cook County COVID case count climbs as vaccine eligibility expands to children 12 and up

The case count for COVID-19 in Cook County continues to climb with multiple cases reported over Mother’s Day weekend and to start the second full week in May.

The total case count is now at 163 among local residents since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Grace Grinager, the public health supervisor in Cook County.

Grinager shared information regarding the new cases of COVID-19 in Cook County and the rate of vaccination among community members during a meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners May 11.

In related news, a local restaurant, the Harbor Light Bar and Grill in Grand Marais, announced on social media May 7 that it was temporarily closing due to possible COVID exposure at the business.

On the vaccine front, 3,667 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Cook County, which represents 68% of the total population. A total of 3,401 have complete the full series.

The Associated Press reports that U.S. regulators on May 10 expanded the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children as young as 12, offering a way to protect the nation’s adolescents before they head back to school in the fall and paving the way for them to return to more normal activities.

Pfizer vaccine shots could be available by the first week of June for local residents 12 and up in Cook County, Grinager said Tuesday.

Cook County continues to have the highest vaccination rate for COVID-19 in Minnesota based on the percentage of local residents who have received the vaccine. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that fewer Americans are reluctant to get a COVID-19 vaccine than just a few months ago, but questions about side effects and how the shots were tested still hold some back, according to a new poll that highlights the challenges at a pivotal moment in the U.S. vaccination campaign.

Just 11% of people who remain unvaccinated say they definitely will get the shot, while 34% say they definitely won’t, according to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

“We’re still vaccinating even though the volume has slowed down,” Grinager said of the local vaccination effort.

Across the state, Olmstead County is quickly approaching a similar rate of vaccination when compared to Cook County, with 74 percent of its population now having received at least one dose of the vaccine.

More than 2.6 million Minnesotans have received one dose of a COVID vaccine.

The audio below is an update from Grinager during the May 11 meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.