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Around 21 months after COVID-19 arrived in Minnesota, Cook County has registered its first death from the virus.

The county, which is bordered by Canada, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Lake Superior, announced on Tuesday that it has confirmed its first COVID death of a resident.

It is the last of Minnesota's 87 counties to record a COVID death, with the county of 5,376 residents the most vaccinated in the state in those aged 5 and over with a rate of 86.5% fully vaccinated.

The county has not released any details of the resident's death due to medical privacy, but North Shore Health Administrator Kimber Wraalstad said: "Our sympathies go out to the loved ones during their time of loss.

"As COVID-19 continues to impact Cook County, everyone should follow the recommended public health guidance to protect one another and keep each other safe and well.”

No COVID-19 death data was released for Minnesota on Tuesday due to no death records being processed over the Thanksgiving holiday. Death data for several days will be released on Wednesday, and so is likely to be a higher-than-usual figure.

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Grace Grinager, public health supervisor for Cook County, urged residents to continue to take precautions as Minnesota continues to deal with the highly-contagious delta variant.

"This pandemic has been hard on everyone, and the news of our first COVID-linked death adds a new layer of grief. While the pandemic continues to impact the health of our community, we have tools to keep ourselves and those around us safer,” she said.

"Stay home when you are sick, get a COVID-19 test right away if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, and answer calls from our local contact tracing team—all help lessen the amount of this virus is spreading locally. We also urge residents to consider vaccination – including booster doses for those who are eligible, as vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent severe disease due to COVID-19."

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