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North Shore Health staff member sensed early on pandemic was looming

In early March, most Cook County residents were living life in a typical fashion. People were going ice fishing, skiing, going to work and dining at local restaurants. Students were in school, sports were a topic of conversation and life was pretty much, well, normal.

Except for Jennifer Dowden.

The infection control coordinator at North Shore Health in Grand Marais, Dowden knew early on that something known as ‘the coronavirus’ was going to change everything.

She was right.

“Jennifer was listening to the reports from the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC before they ever called it a pandemic,” said Kimber Wraalstad, the hospital administrator for the local healthcare facility in Grand Marais. “She would come into my office and say ‘this is going to be a pandemic!’”

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Dowden about the early warning signs she had that a major healthcare crisis was on the horizon. They also discuss how Dowden continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic at the local healthcare facility. Listen below to learn the details.