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Cook County COVID transmission rate spikes ahead of graduation, Memorial Day weekend

Cook County should now be considered in the high risk category for COVID-19 transmission based on the most recent infection and hospitalization rates, according to local officials.

Public health officials reported 40 new cases during the past seven days among local residents.

Cook County Public Health Supervisor Grace Grinager said with this amount of COVID-19 spreading throughout the community, from Grand Portage to Grand Marais, there is a strong chance that a person will be exposed to this virus while attending an indoor event.

The recommendation from local public health officials is to again wear a face covering at indoor events and all indoor public spaces.

“It is important for people to be aware of this so that they can make more informed decisions about how to plan their activities and daily lives,” Grinager said.

The graduation event for ISD 166 is scheduled for 1 pm inside at the Pam Taylor Gymnasium at the local high school. WTIP spoke with Superintendent Chris Lindholm about the decision to move ahead with graduation. He noted that there have been relatively few cases in the school facility—five this week.

At the ceremony, the school will strongly encourage all attendees to wear a mask. For those who may not be comfortable attending, the ceremony will be live-streamed on the school’s YouTube channel and will be available to view later. The link for viewing can be found on the school’s website. Hear the interview with Superintendent Lindholm below.

The official guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Cook County is now at a moderate level. However, based on the number of cases locally in the past week, Grinager said Cook County is likely in the high-risk category. These levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by reviewing the number of hospital beds being used, hospital admissions and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in a county or surrounding area.

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