Cook County line. Submitted photo
Submitted photo

Public health supervisor shares update on delta variant, mask wearing and wildfire smoke

The two counties nearest to Cook County are now experiencing substantial transmission rates of COVID-19.

St. Louis County joined Lake County on the list of counties in Minnesota where spread of the virus has health officials recommending masks at all indoor public places regardless of vacation status.

Health officials in St. Louis County announced Aug. 2 that masks are once again recommended for all indoor, public places, including those in Duluth and Ely, due to substantial transmission rates of COVID-19.

Previously only unvaccinated people were recommended to wear masks indoors in public places, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. However, with the rapid growth in cases attributed to the Delta variant, the CDC now recommends even vaccinated people to mask up to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent spreading it to others.

The case count for COVID-19 in Lake County continues to climb as well. Guidance issued July 27 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is in response to an uptick in cases in certain pockets off Minnesota where the delta variant is causing widespread rates of infections. Lake County, home to Silver Bay, Finland, Two Harbors and other nearby communities, is among those on the list.

Cook County Public Health Supervisor Grace Grinager talked Aug. 3 with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs about the recent uptick in cases across Minnesota. The audio to their conversation is shared below.

During the interview, Grinager shared an update on local residents who experienced breakthrough cases recently, upcoming vaccination events and how the community is navigating the challenges presented by wildfire smoke.

When it comes to vaccination events, Cook County Public Health, Grand Portage Health Services and Sawtooth Mountain Clinic are collaborating with the Minnesota Department of Health to offer the two-dose Pfizer vaccine at the Cook County Community Center Wednesday, Aug. 11 from 3-6 p.m. Although the event targets local teens, anyone ages 12 and older is eligible to receive a vaccine.