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COVID-19 numbers climb in Cook County as wildfires dominate headlines

Cook County Public Health Supervisor Grace Grinager noted another spike in the case count of COVID-19 among local residents.

Grinager confirmed with WTIP Monday morning that five new cases were reported over the weekend. There have now been at least 15 new cases in the past two weeks among Cook County residents, bringing the total case count to 193 since the start of the pandemic.

The recent uptick in new cases is among the highest in Cook County when compared to any other stage of the pandemic. The highly contagious delta variant is likely behind the spike in new cases, with an estimated 95 percent of new cases in Minnesota being link to the variant, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Cook County continues to have the lowest total case count of any county in Minnesota by a significant margin. It also has among the highest rates of vaccination of any county in the state.

A majority of the new cases in Cook County are among people who are not vaccinated, Grinager said. There have been six ‘breakthrough cases’ in Cook County among local residents. A breakthrough case is when someone who has been vaccinated tests positive after vaccination. Across Minnesota, less than a quarter of one percent of people who have been vaccinated later test positive for COVID-19, Grinager said. Cook County is slightly below this average based on the six breakthrough cases among the 3,740 local residents who are fully vaccinated.

The audio below is an update Grinager shared on WTIP Aug. 23.