MANISTIQUE, Mich. (WJMN) — Area health officials sounded the alert Saturday saying there has been a “rapid increase” in COVID-19 case numbers in LMAS counties.
According to the LMAS District Health Department, from March 1, 2020 to Sept. 16, 2020, Luce, Mackinac, Alger and Schoolcraft counties had a total of 103 cases of COVID-19.
In July 2021, only 15 cases were reported in the LMAS District.
“In June and July, it felt like we were in the homestretch and preparing to put the pandemic behind us,” Kerry L. Ott, MA, CHES, Public Information Officer for the LMASDHD, said in a press release. “The COVID vaccines were reducing infections, and keeping people out of hospitals and from dying. Then the Delta Variant started taking hold in states in the southern part of the country. By August, the Delta Variant was spreading across the Upper Peninsula.”
During the month of August, another 221 were added, and so far in September, another 302 cases have been added. Ott said the increase is putting a strain on local hospitals.
“The COVID-19 pandemic clearly is not over,” Ott said. “Hospitals are reaching capacity and beyond with COVID patients and other medical issues. Our four critical access hospitals are facing challenges in getting critically ill patients the care they need because receiving hospitals don’t have capacity.”
Ott encouraged the community to work together to slow the spread.
“It is time for everyone in our four counties to take steps to manage their risk,” Ott said. “Get vaccinated. Stay home if you’re sick. Get tested if you experience COVID symptoms. Wear a mask indoors. Avoid crowded indoor places. These are things we need everyone to do again. These are small action steps that will make a significant difference in protecting each other.
Testing and vaccination location information can be found on the LMASDHD website