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Grace Grinager honored by Norway House in Minneapolis for pandemic response

When Grace Grinager started working in the Cook County Public Health Department in November 2018, she had no idea a global pandemic was waiting on the doorstep.

Now, more than one year after the COVID-19 pandemic has swept across Minnesota and the planet, some of the hard work that went into keeping the community safe is being recognized.

The public health supervisor in Cook County, Grinager and the team at public health have been reported on by some of the largest media outlets in the nation for their hard work during the pandemic. More recently, Grinager was selected to receive the ‘Going Viking Award’ from The Norway House in Minneapolis. The Norway House is an “international business and culture organization in Minneapolis dedicated to establishing, renewing, and advancing connections between contemporary Norway and the United States through education and partnerships centered around the arts, business, and culture.”

Grinager is of Norwegian decent, though the award is focused on her effort in keeping the case count for COVID-19 low and the vaccination rate high in Cook County. As of May 21, Cook County has both the lowest case count and the highest rate of vaccination of any county in Minnesota.

Local resident Anne Brataas nominated Grinager for the award, which are presented annually to people “who embody the adventuresome and bold spirit of the Vikings by inspiring their communities to explore and discover new frontiers with courage and determination.” Past recipients of the award include author and explorer Ann Bancroft, photographer Jim Brandenburg and former Minnesota Gov. Al Quie.

Often humble in her approach to public recognition for her work, Grinager told WTIP May 21 that she was honored and surprised by the award.

Tune in Monday morning (May 24) to hear Grinager talk about the award. She will also share an update on the local COVID-19 pandemic response during the live update at 7:40 a.m. on the Daybreak program.