New Entrance and Screening Procedures for Cook County Health Care Facilities

New Entrance and Screening Procedures for Cook County Health Care Facilities

Patients in Cook County will be screened at selected entrance points to Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and North Shore Health

GRAND MARAIS, MN – March 16, 2020

While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cook County, Minnesota, local Health Care officials have announced new entrance and patient screening procedures as a precautionary measure.

“These are common sense steps to be sure that we are aware of the status of all patients and visitors who enter our facilities,” said Kate Surbaugh, CEO of Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, “These new procedures will help us ensure the health of all who need our services during this national emergency.”

North Shore Health announced Saturday that effective immediately, North Shore Health will restrict visitors to North Shore Living (Care Center) and Inpatient Hospital area, with the exception of compassionate care circumstances. This action was taken based upon revised recommendations of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and to combat the spread of the disease and protect the health and welfare of our residents, patients and staff.

“The health and wellness of our residents, patients and the care-giving teams who support them is our number one priority,” said Kimber Wraalstad, Administrator of North Shore Health, “To help save lives and reduce severe illnesses, we will be implementing these restrictions and new screening procedures effective immediately.”

Both Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and North Shore Health are partnering closely with Cook County Public Health and Human Services, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stay abreast of on-going developments and to strengthen preparations for any additional spread of Coronavirus in Minnesota.

“We encourage people to take the COVID-19 virus seriously and take personal steps to avoid the spread of any virus.  Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water,  cover you cough and stay home if you are sick,” said Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Medical Director Dr. Paul Terrill.

Terrill continued, “As the environment for COVID-19 is changing rapidly, we also encourage people to stay aware of the latest developments, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and MN Department of Health (MDH) websites regularly, and prepare their families for potential disruptions in daily life.”

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, individual community members need to take actions too. By taking these actions, community members can help reduce the chances of getting sick and reduce demands on the health care sector so the most seriously ill people get the supportive care they need.

Some other considerations include thinking about backup plans for child care when schools are temporarily closed or when parents, children, or a child care provider is sick.  Think about necessary items to have at home, including prescription medicines (check your refill dates), and non-prescription medications, such as fever-reducing medications.

According to the Centers of Disease Control, if you recently returned from a country with a COVID-19 outbreak and are feeling sick, call your health care provider and tell them where you traveled and what symptoms you are experiencing.

“North Shore Health, Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and Cook County Public Health and Human Services are working closely and are committed to providing quality health care to all of our communities. In this current state of flux regarding COVDID-19, we pledge to communicate frequently about what we know and what steps we are taking to address the spread of the COVID-19 virus.” said Surbaugh.

“As we navigate this challenge, we remain focused on providing exceptional care and services for our patients and residents,” Wraalstad added.

Community members are encouraged to stay abreast of developments on the COVID-19 virus with regular visits to the CDC and MDH websites.

For the CDC, follow this link.

For the MN Department of Health, follow this link.


Erin Watson

Sawtooth Mountain Clinic



Kimber Wraalstad

North Shore Health



Grace Grinager,
Public Health Coordinator,

Cook County Health and Human Services

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