New cases of COVID-19 reported in Cook County

Three new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported among Cook County residents in recent days. Among those who tested positive were a man in his 50s, another in his 30s and a local woman in her 20s.

These are the first new cases in Cook County reported in March. The overall case count since the start of the pandemic now stands at 121, according to Cook County Public Health Supervisor Grace Grinager.

Speaking during a meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners this morning, Grinager said one new case came in over the weekend and two new cases were reported yesterday among local residents. Contact tracing is currently taking place for the newly confirmed cases, she added.

Cook County continues to have the lowest overall case count for COVID-19 among all of Minnesota’s 87 counties.

Vaccination events continue to happen in Cook County as well, including an event this Thursday at the community center in Grand Marais. Public health officials in Cook County and beyond note the importance of the vaccine when it comes to ending the pandemic, but that social distancing, wearing a mask and other preventative measures are also important until more people become fully vaccinated.

There is a new strain of the virus circulating parts of Minnesota at this time, raising concern from public health officials across the state. Cook County Administrator James Joerke asked Grinager during Tuesday’s board meeting if the newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 locally could be a variant of the coronavirus. Although she could not confirm if the new infections in Cook County involved any variants of COVID-19, Grinager said it is best to plan as though any and all forms of the virus could be present at this time in the community.

The audio below is a discussion between Joerke and Grinager from the March 9 meeting of the county board.