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North Shore Health and Sawtooth Mountain Clinic have a unique partnership, officials say.
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Cook County officials report most COVID cases locally not leading to serious illness

Despite an uptick in the case count for COVID-19 among Cook County residents at the end of summer and into the start of September, local health officials are reporting most people who do test positive are not becoming critically ill.

“We still haven’t had admissions to acute care or transfers due to COVID,” North Shore Health Hospital Administrator Kimber Wraalstad told WTIP this week.

Similar sentiments about those who do test positive for COVID-19 not becoming seriously ill have been shared previously by other local healthcare officials, including Dr. Kurt Farchmin from Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and Cook County Public Health Supervisor Grace Grinager.

And while most people in Cook County are not experiencing serious illness after testing positive, there are many people around the region who are. WTIP recently spoke with regional healthcare worker and Cook County resident Kristin DeArruda Wharton about what she is seeing as a frontline healthcare worker in a Duluth hospital. DeArruda Wharton is a certified nurse practitioner and recently shared examples of COVID patients in the intensive care unit who are extremely sick with the virus. Click here to listen to the full interview with DeArruda Wharton

During an interview Sept. 8, Wraalstad said that despite a lack of hospitalized cases locally, on occasion the ability to transfer patients is not as easy as healthcare officials would prefer.

“It depends upon the hour, the day and even the diagnosis,” she said.

Listen to the full interview below.

The case count for COVID-19 among Cook County residents is at least 210 since the onset of the pandemic, according to local public health officials.

More than 72 percent of local residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.