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Hovland couple shares their COVID-19 experience

As of October 27, there have been 18 cases of COVID-19 in Cook County, with 10 active cases.

Because a person’s medical status is private under confidentiality regulations, information about the people who have contracted the coronavirus has been minimal. The Minnesota Department of Health and Cook County Public Health release only the gender and age of the COVID positive individuals.

And to date, those individuals have elected to remain silent about their positive test result or illness.

These factors have led to a lot of questions–and for some community members, frustration. Despite the major effort of local contact tracers reaching out to anyone believed to have a possible exposure, some members of the public have voiced concern that they may have had contact with the individuals. Learn more about the local folks doing contract tracing in this interview, WTIP talks with COVID contact workers in Cook County.

Concern was heightened last week when officials from North Shore Health and Sawtooth Mountain Clinic released the news that staff members at both facilities had tested positive for COVID-19. Here’s WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs, speaking with Dr. Kurt Farchmin on WTIP’s Daybreak about that news.

That led to even more questions, including what was the risk to the patients who had interacted with these employees? Both the hospital and clinic assure the public that any contacts those staffers had with patients are considered to be low-risk exposures because of the personal protective equipment (masks and face shields) used in all medical facility settings.

In an effort to allay some of the public’s concerns and to hopefully diminish the potential stigma of contracting COVID-19, the two local health care workers who were found to have the coronavirus spoke with WTIP. They are Treg Axtell, a physical therapist at North Shore Health and Denise Axtell, a nurse at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic. They agreed to talk to WTIP’s Rhonda Silence about their positive testing and their prognosis.