As we suffer through endless – and daily – muddle and blather from the current president related to COVID-19, locals have come to rely on substantially more immediate and accurate information from our hometown and state officials.

Local mayors, including Abu-Taleb in Oak Park, Adduci in River Forest and Hoskins in Forest Park, have grasped that we’ll all deal better and follow the imposed restrictions more closely if we know this virus is all about us. At the city and state level, Lightfoot and Pritzker have been exemplars of plain talk, delivered with context and concern every day at the same hour.

That’s why it has been disturbing, confounding to see the Cook County Department of Public Health so thoroughly botch a public-facing website seemingly designed to tell residents across Cook how many COVID-19 cases are in their town and of any deaths linked to their communities.

Our Growing Community Media reporters discovered this largely unknown site last week after tips from local officials. Since then the site has disappeared, reappeared, crashed, provided conflicting information. All the things a good public health communications strategy should avoid.

Can’t tell you at this moment the status of the site. Can tell you Cook County residents deserve straight information on a crisis that has upended each of our lives.

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