The cabin on Bad Medicine Lake was a blessing through and through

In 1979 my grandma, by snail mail, worked out a purchase agreement for lakeshore property on Bad Medicine Lake in northwestern Minnesota. Over the next couple years my grandpa, Harv, my dad and several uncles worked to clear the land. Then they built a modest, sturdy cabin.

That cabin was an idyllic escape and gathering place in the Northwoods for more than 37 years until it was sold out of the family a few years ago.

I’m biased, but Bad Medicine is the greatest lake in existence. Clear, emerald water, deep and cold and rocky and weedless, ringed by red pine and maple and popple, beautiful in every season, quiet and secluded. It’s perfect for the person who needs to get away from the trappings of the world, their smartphone, the news cycle. Perfect for the poet, the dreamer, the one whose soul needs rest. We hid out there for decades, swimming the crystalline water, canoeing the shallows, delighting in osprey sightings, loon calls, cribbage tournaments, family singalongs around the piano, and each other. There was always laughter in the cabin.

Last call at Bad Medicine came for our family in the last days of December 2016. We sledded, walked on the frozen lake, and marveled at the snow-covered trees. We walked the road down to “God’s Country,” where stately Norway pines reach toward the sky like cathedral spires. We thanked God for the blessing this place had been to us for nearly 40 years. We cried. Then we took a final look around before locking up and trudging out into the snowy night.

Seth Johnson, Fosston, Minn.

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Bonney Lake Coronavirus Week In Review

BONNEY LAKE, WA — Over the past seven days Washington confirmed 4,451 new coronavirus infections, pushing the state past its 100,000th coronavirus case.

As of the latest release Friday afternoon from the Washington State Department of Health, officials have confirmed 101,345 COVID-19 cases. The state also saw 57 casualties over the past week, for a total of 2,296 Washingtonians dead due to the pandemic.

100,000 coronavirus cases is an ominous milestone to pass, and it’s joined by other foreboding news: health officials and state leaders say they now believe Washington is entering into a third surge of new cases.

More locally, Pierce County has been one of the hardest hit regions over recent weeks, reporting 1,106 cases over the past 14 days. That equates to an average of 79 cases per day, and a rate of 122.6 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks. By state metrics, any county with a rate higher than 76 is a “high risk” county.

In Bonney Lake, a total of 244 people have been infected since the pandemic began in spring, and 3 people have died.

Catch up on the latest developments:

U.S. approaches record daily cases again

The situation across the county mirrors the one in Washington, as the United States approached its largest-ever single-day toll of new coronavirus infections Friday.

As the Associated Press reports, the nation’s seven-day rolling average for daily COVID-19 cases hit 61,140 Thursday, up from 44,647 just two weeks ago. That’s nearing the record high rolling average of 67,293 daily cases on July 22, driver by summer outbreaks in Florida, California, Texas and Arizona.

While Washington’s case counts have increased lately, the current nationwide surge in cases has largely been attributed to growth in South Dakota, Florida, Idaho and Texas.

The surge also has health care experts concerned as some hospitals reach capacity.

“We’ve essentially shut down an entire floor of our hospital. We’ve had to double rooms. We’ve bought more hospital beds,” Dr. Robert Scoggins, a pulmonologist at the Kootenai Health hospital in Coeur d’Alene told the Associated Press.

Read the full report from the Associated Press

Widespread mask use could save 130,000 lives by February

A new study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that, if 95 percent of Americans wore masks while

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Remote Learning Recommended Amid Rising Lake Co. Coronavirus Rate

LAKE COUNTY, IL — All schools in Lake County should shift to fully remote learning in response to rising rates of coronavirus, public health officials said.

The Lake County Health Department Tuesday recommended all public and private elementary and high schools in the county transition to entirely e-learning, if they have not done so already, to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect students, staff and their families.

“This is not a recommendation we take lightly,” Executive Director Mark Pfister said in a statement. “Schools are being asked to utilize virtual learning not because schools are the main driver of our new infections, but because the levels of community transmission warrant extra measures to keep our students, staff, and their families safe.”

Pfister said the county is experiencing the highest rates of new cases since the spring.

“We continue to work closely with our school superintendents to equip them with data and tools to make informed decisions,” Pfister said. “Now the decision is up to school districts, to use their expertise and authority to make this difficult decision for the health and safety of their school communities and the greater Lake County community as a whole.”

Last week, the rolling average number of daily new cases in the county rose past the threshold for what is considered “substantial” community spread of the virus — 14 cases per 100,000 people — to an average of 22.7 new cases per 100,000 people on Saturday, the most recent day for which data was available from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

According to the return to school metrics, a virtual learning model is suggested anytime the seven-day rolling average daily incidence rate reaches the level. Hybrid learning is permitted under the metrics at the “moderate” level — whenever the rate is between seven and 14 daily new cases per 100,000 residents.

Lake County Regional Superintendent of Schools Roycealee Wood said local school districts were working with state and local public health agencies as well as the Illinois State Board of Education to develop guidelines for when to transition between hybrid and remote learning.

“The safety of our students, staff, and communities are always first and foremost,” Woods said. “Opening schools is a priority; however, if we want schools to reopen and remain open we must all do our part. It’s relatively easy if you wear a mask, keep your distance, and wash your hands frequently. These are challenging and unprecedented times, but with collective behaviors we can slow spread and achieve our goals.”

(Lake County Health Department)
(Lake County Health Department)

Coronavirus Mitigations In Region 7, 8 Start Friday
More Restrictions Could Be Coming To Lake County This Week
Nearly 500 COVID-19 Cases Linked To Illinois Schools: See Where

Since the county’s first confirmed coronavirus case in March, nearly 20,000 Lake County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 500 people have died. The survival rate in the county is 96.7 percent, according to the health department.

In Region 9 of Gov.

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