Email service for about one-third of Cook County employees was back online Friday evening after being down since Wednesday afternoon.

The email access was interrupted when hardware switch failed, according to Karen Vaughn, a spokeswoman for the county.

“We’re working feverishly with an outside vendor to get the new switch up and running and hope to have service restored sometime in the near future,” Vaughn said Friday afternoon before the outage was fixed.  She said that disruption to county services had been “minimal.”

No single department was been hit worse than others, she said.

“It’s random. My email is out, but the person next to me still has it,” Vaughn said. 

Telephones and the county website still worked through the email outage, and if people did not get responses from emails, they could look up department phone numbers on the county web site, Vaughn said.

The county’s email system is based on computer servers run by the county. As the county information technology department worked to fix the problem, it is also looking into possibly installing backup systems that might prevent future failures, Vaughn said.