Rhonda Silence

County ramping up response to COVID-19

Cook County established a COVID-19 emergency operations center (EOC) at the Cook County Community Center this week and appointed a designated public information officer (PIO).

The EOC is a centralized location for personnel involved in the response to the coronavirus to gather information and make emergency management decisions. It is a secure area and is not open to public, according to Cook County Emergency Management Director and EOC Manager Mike Keyport.

Additionally, EOC staff are actually working in the virtual environment as much as possible.
The county has appointed a public information officer. The person filling that role at this time is Lisa Sorlie, currently a highway department staffer, with a background in public information.

The county has set up online resources to address frequently asked questions on the county website and a COVID-19 phone line at 218-387-3668. That line will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to address general questions from the public.

EOC partners include Cook County PHHS; Cook County Emergency Management; the City of Grand Marais; the townships of Lutsen, Schroeder and Tofte; the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa; local health care entities; local utilities; and other local and regional partners as needed.

Anyone with health concerns or questions about testing for COVID-19, is asked to call Sawtooth Mountain Clinic at 218-387-2330.

There is also a statewide Coronavirus hotline: 651-201-3920

And, the mental health website that could be helpful with someone struggling with depression and anxiety is www.letstalkMN.com. There is also a local mental health phone number for those in need: 218-628-1800.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence caught up with Cook County Emergency Management Director Mike Keyport today, March 27, to learn more about the county’s activities this week.