Western Upper Peninsula Health Department prioritizes case investigation for COVID-19


Hancock, Mich., (WJMN) – The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) is notifying residents in Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties that over 750 cases were added within the five-county jurisdiction in the last three weeks, placing a significant strain on resources.

Even with assistance from partner organizations, capacity has been reached. Individuals and their close contacts may not receive a call from the WUPHD.

Effective immediately, in order to maximize staffing resources and prevent outbreaks amongst vulnerable individuals, the WUPHD will begin prioritizing case investigation to notify those who are:

  • Age 65 and older, especially those with chronic underlying conditions
  • Children who are 18 years old and younger, especially those attending school in-person
  • Individuals residing in congregate living environments, such as long-term care facilities
  • All other individuals as capacity allow

Residents are urged not to wait for the Health Department to call, but to take personal responsibility and action if someone becomes aware of a positive test result or potential exposure to COVID-19.

Individuals notified that they are positive or probable COVID-19 should do the following:

  • Isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or 10 days from the day a positive test sample was collected if you don’t have symptoms.
  • After 10 days, if your symptoms have improved (note symptoms do not need to be fully resolved, but overall improvement is required), and you are fever-free without the use of medications, it is OK to return to normal activities.
  • If you are still feeling sick, please consult with a medical professional as some people can be contagious for a longer period.
  • Please do your best to isolate away from the other members in your household to prevent them from contracting the virus.
  • Notify your employer or school that you are a COVID-19 case.
  • Notify all of your close contacts and ask that they quarantine for 14 days: a close contact includes those that you have been within 6 ft. of for more than a total of 15 minutes any day you were contagious which is two days before symptoms begin or 2 days prior to a positive test if you are asymptomatic.

If you are a Close Contact you should do the following:

  • Quarantine for 14 days from your last contact to the COVID-19 case.
  • If you develop symptoms you should get tested and isolate away from other household members.
  • Please notify your employer or school that you are a close contact and need to quarantine.
  • If you are a close contact and considered an essential worker, please work with your employer to determine your return to work procedure.

Please note receiving a negative COVID-19 test as a close contact does not mean that you will not get symptoms or test positive at a future time within your quarantine period. You need to complete the full 14-day quarantine period even if you do not develop symptoms.

The Health Department will continue to conduct case investigation and contact tracing in nursing homes, schools, high-risk congregate settings and assist businesses with COVID-19 related issues.

Letters to employers will no longer be issued, therefore if you are an employer seeking confirmation regarding employees please call our office at (906) 482-7382 to be given verbal confirmation.

For COVID-19 testing or medical concerns please reach out to your healthcare provider or a local healthcare facility for further guidance. In case of a medical emergency call 911.

For resources on how to stay safe during the pandemic, visit https://www.wupdhd.org/, https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus, and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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