LMAS Health Dept: COVID-19 Cases Up 167% in October

COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the state and Northern Michigan.

The Upper Peninsula continues to see a spike in COVID-19 cases.  10 26 2020 Up Cases Spiking Vo 530

“Our numbers are increasing for a variety of reasons,” said Kerry Ott, Luce, Mackinac, Alger, Schoolcraft District Health Department public information officer.

She says some of the rise in cases can be connected to large gatherings

But they attribute much of it to “COVID fatigue.”

“I think people have let their guard down,” Ott said. “People just want to go back to what we were a year ago and just kind of pretend this isn’t here. Well it is here, it’s not going away.”

From March until July 1, the four LMAS Health Department counties had just 20 cases. In just the last three weeks, cases have risen 167% and are now over 350.  In Mackinac County, cases rose from 69 to 157 in just the first three weeks of October.

“That’s alarming, that’s a huge increase,” Ott said.

Hospitalizations are often a lagging number and Ott says those are beginning to rise too.

In their four-county region, there are no ICU beds. That means COVID-19 patients would be transferred elsewhere like War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste Marie or McLaren Northern Michigan in Petoskey.

“But even their bed availability is limited,” Ott said.

That puts hospitals and health departments at risk for an overwhelming surge.

“We’re small departments covering large geographical areas and we need people to help us,” Ott said. “We can’t do this by ourselves, the hospitals can’t. The people who live and visit here have got to help us.”

How you can help?

Wearing your mask, practicing social distancing, washing your hands and staying home when ill.

“We need people to pick those things back up and start doing them again,” Ott said.

Categories: Coronavirus