Chippewa County Health Department: possible undiagnosed COVID-19 cases within Amish community

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FILE – This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, U.S. health regulators OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states. The sample will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)

CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – The Chippewa County Health Department (CCHD) was notified on June 27 of two Chippewa County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19. Through continued case investigation and contact tracing stemming from those two positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend, CCHD has determined there may be additional, undiagnosed COVID-19 cases within the Amish community.

As this situation evolves, CCHD staff are reaching out to individuals whose names have been provided by positive individuals during contact trace. If you have not been contacted by CCHD staff but have had direct, sustained contact with any symptomatic member of the Amish community or other positive individuals within the last two weeks, please monitor for symptoms and contact the health department at 906-635-1566.

Chippewa County residents are asked to continue to treat our Amish community members with kindness and support.

The two positive cases in Chippewa County were identified as adult males ages 61 and 70. The individuals began developing symptoms approximately one week ago and then tested positive. The individuals are under home isolation in accordance with current guidelines. CCHD staff notified people who were identified as close contacts (also called “contact tracing”). The identified contacts will be assessed for symptoms and monitored appropriately.

While Chippewa County is in Phase 5 of Michigan’s Reopening Plan, CCHD has been expecting additional cases as the State of Michigan continues to expand openings. Chippewa County residents should take precautions and make choices to protect themselves.

The CCHD is again reminding residents to always assume the virus is present when they are in public places and take all recommended prevention measures: wear a face covering when in close contact with others or indoor areas, follow social distancing guidelines (a distance of 6 feet or more), and avoid large gatherings, especially indoors or places where sustained contact can occur.

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