January 21, 2021


A Message from the Cook Hospital and Care Center Team

As we enter the new year, the COVID-19 pandemic remains a major problem in our country. The health care team at the Cook Hospital and Care Center want the public to be aware that we have been vaccinating our staff, residents, and local EMS providers. We encourage the public to be proactive and obtain the vaccine as well, as this is one of the best ways to protect everyone from the virus. Vaccines work with the immune system, so it is prepared to fight the virus if exposed. Having widespread vaccination will help us take a big step towards ending this pandemic!
It is still very important to be tested if you exhibit the symptoms of COVID-19 or if you were exposed to COVID-19. Many people think they "just have a cold" and end up testing positive. Though you have minor symptoms, someone you expose unknowingly might not be so lucky. If you test positive you need to self-quarantine for 10 days from symptom onset. If you have been told you have a high-risk exposure, you should seek testing between 5 and 7 days after exposure. It is also necessary to self-quarantine based on the current guidelines to help stop the spread. The safest option is to quarantine for 14 days. Another option is if you test negative between day 5 and 7 you can stop your quarantine after 10 days IF you do not have any symptoms and no one in your household has COVID-19.
Lastly, there is a monoclonal antibody treatment available at the Cook Hospital on an outpatient basis for individuals who test positive for COVID-19. This therapy must be given within 10 days of symptom onset. For this reason, it is important that you get tested right away when your symptoms start so it is not too late to get the antibody treatment if you want it. Monoclonal antibody therapy is intended to prevent individuals who meet certain risk factors from progressing to severe COVID-19. If you are interested in this therapy, contact your primary care provider.
Continue to mask up in public and perform frequent hand hygiene as that is a great way to prevent the spread of COVID-19!

State Farm's 'Quotes For Good' program donates to St. Louis County Volunteers In Education Program


The State Farm Insurance program "Quotes For Good" is a valuable source for local non-profits. Tim Johnson, owner of Cook's State Farm Agency, is also on the board of Volunteers in Education (Vin-E), a program that provides tutors to local students in need of their help. The program has had as many as 80 volunteer tutors, though with the COVID-19 pandemic, this figure dropped to 40. The State Farm program donates $10 for every quote they give for auto, fire, health and home insurance. For the quotes given in November and December, Tim Johnson presented a check for $1,200 to Vin-E.
A huge thanks to State Farm and Tim.

Misadventures in a Misguided Minnesota

By Jared Bangs of Cook

The events described in this story are true, and accurately reflect our experience on Saturday, Jan. 16.
If only our goalie's asthma attack in the middle of the second period of Saturday's 12U hockey game was the worst attack we'd face that day. I mean, it was bad enough watching her keeled over on her knees, unable to catch her breath after, you know, wearing a mask underneath a goalie helmet. The game paused for quite some time while the on-site EMT, an assistant coach, and the girl's mother scrambled across the ice to attend to her. After multiple hits from the inhaler and several minutes of mask-free breathing, she was able to resume playing.
Stories have been surfacing all around the state of similar incidents, but chances are it won't be widely reported on anything other than "fringe" news sites. The Official Position is that in-game masking is necessary for sports to safely resume, and anyone speaking out against that position must have been among the Capitol rioters. Never mind that Governor Walz's mask mandate established back in June specifically stated that masks shouldn't be worn during strenuous exercise; or that a soggy, sweaty, soiled mask is worse than useless. It's all about keeping up appearances, you know, and so even though we're all aware that a mask strapped to the inside of a hockey cage isn't serving a realistic public health purpose, and that serious Covid cases among youngsters are INCREDIBLY rare, we've been told for months now by Gov. Walz and Comm. Malcolm that one of these kids is going to bring the virus home to Grandma, and then we'll all have blood on our hockey gloves. Here's a novel idea: families for whom that's a real concern are certainly free to opt out of hockey for the time being, or take their own necessary precautions. But that word has fallen out of fashion lately: free.
And if your rebuttal would be that if a player really has asthma they can just go get an exemption - it's not quite that simple. Many hospitals and clinics are refusing to write exemptions out of concern that there will be a line out the door of parents unjustifiably seeking exemptions for their kids. Not to mention the fact that many kids have internalized society's Covid fear so deeply that they want to "wear the mask anyway" so as not to cause any trouble. Hence the goalie gasping for air through her neck gaiter while a masked referee inaudibly "blows" his "electronic whistle" and a bunch of concerned parents - socially distanced, of course - look on with our masks at our chins as we sip our coffee, just really, really proud of ourselves for doing our part.
But like I said, if only that were the worst attack we'd suffer that day.
Not long after the aforementioned hockey game, my wife split for Minneapolis to visit her sister in her cozy home a few blocks from Lake Nokomis. My sister-in-law, her husband, and their 3-year-old have lived there for a couple of years, and just a few days prior had brought home the newest addition to the neighborhood, their newborn baby girl. I hung back with our friends in the suburbs, getting some downtime with our other kids while we waited for the next hockey games that evening. Shortly after 1:30 p.m., I received a frantic call from my wife
Through gasps and tears she manages to say, "I need you to come down here right away. Someone just threw a chunk of concrete at our car, shattering our windshield, and then came at our car screaming and acting crazy. I'm safe now and called 911, but I just need you to come here right away."
I knew the neighborhood she was in. I'm acquainted with the history of Minneapolis circa 2020 and the state of the Minneapolis Police Department in an age of wokeness. This wasn't a joke.
I hopped in our Civic and sped my way 31 miles from the suburbs to the city, curious if I'd arrive before the police. Turns out it was no contest - more on that later. As I drive I call a few family members and friends to ask for prayer; my dad prays with me as I drive. When I arrive, I park behind our family mini-van occupied by my wife and our 4-year-old daughter. A young couple from the neighborhood who had witnessed the attack were standing at our vehicle providing comfort and solace to my terrified wife. As I approach, the couple cautiously backs up, looking startled and frightened (perhaps because I was maskless?), but I guess everyone's a little on edge these days. I assure them I am the victim's husband, thank them, and then climb into the van to hug my wife and daughter. The young couple walk across the street to their own vehicle where they will graciously wait along with us until the police arrive.
Turns out we'd be waiting a very long time.
An hour goes by, maybe more. I get Safelite on the phone and make an appointment for the following Tuesday. We make a few more calls and texts to family. We make arrangements for our older daughters to get picked up and brought to the rink in time for their evening games. I follow the Minneapolis crimewatch twitter feed via Alpha News and realize the crazy man is still out and about - in broad daylight on a Saturday afternoon - destroying property and terrorizing people. He's got a mask on, of course. Certainly making it hard to give a description. But hey, Covid is the real threat.
Hesitant to call 911 again for an update, I look up the number to the Minneapolis third precinct. After getting through their automated screening service, I choose the option to talk to a real person. The phone rings. And rings. And rings. And then it dawns on me: The Minneapolis third precinct was "sieged, evacuated, and destroyed"1 following George Floyd's death due to fentanyl, Covid, heart disease and neck compression while in police custody2. Gov. Walz and Mayor Frey's massive failure to protect the city amidst the riots has left this area of Minneapolis decimated and the police force depleted. While this realization settles in, I wonder to myself, perhaps the 'insurrectionists' at the Capitol on Jan. 6 were simply confused by the rhetoric over the summer, mistakenly thinking that violently attacking sacred symbols of law and order is an appropriate act of protest. Hmmfff. Wonder where they could have gotten that idea?
More time goes by. I check the crimewatch feed again. It's been over two hours since my wife and daughter were attacked and still no word from the police. But then some good news finally breaks on twitter. The criminal was arrested and taken into custody. We are relieved. I step out of the vehicle to let the young couple know that the criminal has been caught. My wife's phone rings and it's someone from the MPD letting us know they've arrested the suspect, but they won't be sending any officers our way. We are free to leave the scene and they'll be in touch later.
We get it: Officers are at a premium and crime is at a surplus. We aren't mad at the police. Let me put it in words my 4-year-old can understand: The Good Guys got the Bad Guy, and we are happy about that. We just wish, for our daughter's sake, that she could have seen an officer come alongside to offer comfort and protection. Having witnessed a debased criminal standing outside her window screaming expletives at her mother after shattering the front windshield, it would have been nice for her to see the opposite. Unfortunately, Minneapolis can't offer much better at the moment.
We bid farewell to the young couple who has sat through all of this with us. His Habitat for Humanity hat and the smell of patchouli wafting from their Subaru suggest they voted differently than we did in the last election. It doesn't matter in these moments. I thank them for offering comfort and compassion to my wife and daughter in their time of need. "God Bless you," I say, trusting they can see my smile is genuine. After all, I'm not wearing a mask.
1 https://m.startribune.com/minneapolis-third-precinct-george-floyd-emails-public-records-reveal-what-happened-before-abandoned-mayor-frey/566290701/
2 https://www.kare11.com/article/news/local/george-floyd/new-court-docs-say-george-floyd-had-fatal-level-of-fentanyl-in-his-system/89-ed69d09d-a9ec-481c-90fe-7acd4ead3d04


Pick up this week's paper for more stories and pictures...

PTO donations provide water bottles and wipes for North Woods School

Gov. Walz directs $67.3 million to businesses impacted by COVID-19 closures

Letters to the Editor...