Cook County YMCA is located near ISD 166. WTIP file photo by Rhonda Silence
Rhonda Silence

Uptick in Cook County COVID-19 case count continues as school year nears

As the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread across northeastern Minnesota, Cook County public health officials received news last week of a positive test of COVID-19 by an attendee of a youth camp in Grand Marais.

Public Health Supervisor Grace Grinager confirmed the reports during an interview Aug. 30 on WTIP’s Daybreak program. Grinager said she could not share specifics on any of the positive tests and possible exposure to COVID by local youth and people involved with the programs.

The summer kids camp at the YMCA in Grand Marais was scheduled to run through Sept. 3. The camp was open to children between the ages of five and 12. Cook County YMCA Director Emily Marshall confirmed with WTIP that someone affiliated with the program tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days.

“When we were notified of a positive case in our program, we followed (and continue to follow) the recommendations of MDH, the CDC, and Y-USA,” Marshall said in a statement. “This has included notifying people who may have been in our building when the known positive case was also in the building. Any data and information about cases in our community can be found by accessing the MDH or CDC websites.”

Marshall also addressed this issue in an update with WTIP Aug. 26. Click here to listen to the interview.

Grinager said during the Aug. 30 update that the total case count for COVID-19 among local residents since the start of the pandemic is 198. There have been 20 new cases among local residents during the month of August, with about one-third of the new cases being reported in people under the age of 18, Grinager said.

The first day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 7. Grinager emphasized the importance of getting local youth tested and in quarantine if they are symptomatic for COVID-19. Many young adults and pre-teens exhibit only mild symptoms even if they are carrying the virus, Grinager said. Getting tested and staying home are crucial steps in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the community at this time, she added.

In related healthcare news, WTIP recently spoke with regional healthcare worker Kristin DeArruda Wharton about what she is seeing as a frontline healthcare worker in a Duluth hospital. DeArruda Wharton is a certified nurse practitioner and recently shared examples of COVID patients in the intensive care unit who are extremely sick with the virus. Click here to listen to the full interview with DeArruda Wharton

Grinager said stories such as those DeArruda Wharton shared should be an illustration to the importance of getting vaccinated and being mindful of the current spread of the new coronavirus throughout northeastern Minnesota at this time.

Below is the interview with Grinager from Aug. 30.