CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – As the Upper Peninsula is moving into hunting and holiday season in the final weeks of 2020, unfortunately COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increased rapidly in just a few short weeks. Until a vaccine is available, the health departments say they need your help more than ever to protect lives, help schools remain open, and keep our hospitals and public health able to care for all in our area – whether they have COVID or other medical or prevention service needs.
Chippewa County Health Department and LMAS District Health Department fully understand the traditions of hunting camps and holiday gatherings with friends and families. They also know that by gathering with friends and family who do not live in the same household it is easy to feel safe in those situations and forget the things that need to be done to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Unfortunately, through recent case investigation, those comfortable gatherings with a few friends or family from more than one household have ended with multiple cases of COVID, and some who are now very ill and in hospitals.
They say that this may be the most difficult thing they have asked you to do, but they need you to limit your gatherings – whether it’s deer camp or Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve or a game night – to just those in your immediate household. The health departments say they do understand the importance of these events and the coming together for tradition and enjoying time with loved ones, but need you to get creative and find other ways to hold on to these traditions without risking spreading or getting COVID-19. For holiday celebrations, use virtual tools such as Zoom or FaceTime. Porch deliver holiday meals to relatives not in your household. Return to the tradition of sending handwritten holiday cards and letters.
For LMAS, there has been a 30% increase in total cases in just the last 12 days, from 472 to 614. Fifty percent of the cases are considered recovered, which means the person is still alive 30 days after onset of symptoms or referral date. For Chippewa County Health Department, there has been a 100% increase over the same time period from 201 cases to 402 on November 11, 2020. Total recovered for Chippewa is 98, which represents only 24% of their total.
The health departments say the bottom line is, they need your help. They need you to stay home when you don’t feel well. They need you to be diligent in doing each of these small things every time you leave your homes. Only with your help and commitment will we start to bring these numbers down.
- Wear a clean cloth face mask which covers your mouth and nose, and
- Maintain at least six feet of distance between yourself and people not in your immediate household, and
- Avoid gatherings with people not in your immediate household.