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N-95 masks available throughout Cook County with new mask recommendations

Mar 02, 2022 11:03AM ● By Editor

Photo: CDC

From Cook County Public Health and Human Services - March 2, 2022


Cook County Public Health announces the availability of higher-quality masks alongside updated prevention recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recently created a tool that helps local communities easily understand the COVID-19 risk level as it changes over time, linking public health recommendations to the local level of risk.  The public can track the COVID-19 Community Level for Cook County online at

The CDC determines a community’s level of COVID-19 by considering the number of new cases and hospitalizations in a 7-day period, as well as relevant information on the capacity of local hospital systems to provide care.  The new CDC guidance does not take into account regional hospital capacity, though this does have a direct impact on our local community, and hospital transfers continue to be a challenge.

Currently, Cook County has a medium level of COVID-19.  Public health officials continue to recommend that community members:

  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
  • Stay home and seek a COVID-19 test if they have any symptoms
  • Follow appropriate recommendations for isolation and quarantine (including wearing a high-quality mask after a positive test or exposure to COVID-19)
  • Wear a mask when spending time with people at risk for severe disease due to COVID-19.

“We are thrilled that the volume of COVID-19 cases in our community has decreased dramatically over the past two weeks,” stated Grace Grinager, Cook County Public Health Supervisor. “We are excited to have a new, user-friendly tool to help the public better understand the ongoing COVID-19 risk and changes to recommendations regarding mask-use over time.”  Grinager continued, “As we move toward learning to live with COVID-19, it’s important to understand that the pandemic situation continues to be dynamic, and it is likely that we will see viral activity continue to rise and fall in the months ahead.”

Cook County Public Health and Human Services will continue to update the County COVID-19 hub site: each week on Thursdays.  These updates will include the CDC community level of COVID-19 for Cook County, and the recommendations for mask use.  These recommendations will scale up and down alongside the level of COVID-19 risk for our community on a weekly basis.

While not everyone needs to wear a mask in public spaces with this level of COVID-19 in the community, there will be individuals and individual businesses that continue to wear masks or recommend/require masks for customers or visitors.  Individuals who are at a higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 should continue to wear a mask and take additional precautions according to advice from their medical providers.

Please respect the wishes of those who continue to choose or request mask use based on their individual circumstances or risk factors.  Consider wearing a mask in public spaces out of respect for those at higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19.  Organizations that serve people who are immune compromised or at higher risk for severe illness or death may have additional requirements for mask use. Local healthcare facilities continue to require masks per healthcare specific CDC guidance.

It is important to wear a mask or respirator when you are sick or caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19. When caring for someone who is sick with COVID-19, a KN-95 or N-95 respirator will provide you the best level of protection.

There are several sites throughout the community where free N-95/KN-95 masks are available to the community through a partnership with Cook County Public Health and Human Services and Sawtooth Mountain Clinic.  These sites include:

  • Clearview General Store
  • Grand Marais Public Library
  • Grand Portage Health Services
  • North Shore Health
  • Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Pharmacy
  • Trail Center Store (starting Friday, March 4th)

Visit the Cook County COVID-19 hub site at for the latest information on local testing options, general COVID-19 public health recommendations, local data, as well links to information on COVID-19 from CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Grace Grinager
Cook County Public Health Supervisor
[email protected]

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