Michigan Coronavirus: Health officials urge limited travel to the Upper Peninsula

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CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – The Chippewa County Health Department (CCHD) issued a news release on Tuesday morning, urging people to limit their travel to the Upper Peninsula.

In the release, CCHD asked that individuals considering coming north to bring food and other essential items with them. They are asking that people then self-quarantine in their homes for 14 days

CCHD went on to say that War Memorial Hospital is the only hospital in the Eastern Upper Peninsula with intensive care unit (ICU) beds.

You can read the full statement from the Chippewa County Joint Information Center below.

On the western edge of the Upper Peninsula, health officials are making a similar plea:

Western Upper Peninsula Counties (Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon) are seeing an influx of individuals who are seeking shelter from areas with significant COVID-19 community spread or returning from travel outside of these counties. While we understand the desire to seek shelter in our communities with fewer COVID-19 cases, this potentially poses an unnecessary risk to all residents of the Western Upper Peninsula.

The increased population to the area places a substantial strain on our communities as travelers seek supplies, such as groceries and toiletries, as well as potentially needing health care in the event they become sick. During this public health crisis, many rural communities may not be equipped with personnel, supplies or resources for a surge in population.

If you still choose to travel to your seasonal home or return home from travel, the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department is advising that you abide by the following guidelines:

  • If you are sick, stay at home and do not leave your residence.
  • If you have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider for assistance.
  • All individuals traveling to seasonal homes or returning home from areas with community spread should self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to your destination.
  • Following the 14-day self-quarantine period, please obey the Governor’s “Stay at Home” order and do not go out unless absolutely necessary.
  • All residents, whether full time or seasonal, should adhere to the Governor’s Stay at Home order and only venture out to obtain essential supplies and services when absolutely necessary. If you do need to go out, please adhere to social distancing protocols and limit the number of people going out for supplies or services.

Also, as campgrounds in the area close, remote camping is not a safe alternative. Remote locations do not offer sanitary conditions, particularly for those who become ill. Weather conditions vary extensively at this time of year. Emergency personnel may not be able to access remote locations.

By following these simple guidelines, the risk for spreading COVID-19 lowers significantly, thus protecting everyone who lives, works, and plays in the beautiful Western Upper Peninsula.

Cathryn A. Beer, MPA, CFPH, CPA, CGMA Health Officer

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