WESTERN UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) issued a public health advisory earlier this week regarding people traveling to the U.P. during the pandemic.
As of April 9, Michigan has over 20,000 positive cases of COVID-19. While in the Upper Peninsula, there are under 50 positive reported cases. However, with large amounts of cases being reported downstate, Kate Beer, a health officer for Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, said the department has seen an influx of people traveling to its five counties (Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw, Gogebic, and Ontonogan) to seek shelter.
“If you do come to the area, our healthcare facilities aren’t as expansive as some regions in the United States. So sometimes when we see that influx of people, our healthcare capacity gets strained,” said Beer.
People who are traveling to the U.P. are advised by WUPHD to self-quarantine for 14 days once you arrive and to monitor any symptoms.
“We’ve been fielding questions from people who are returning, regarding questions in our area. So some of the testing or procedures that might have applied from the area that they’re coming from may not be the same here. So they need to look and read the stay-at-home orders and how it applies to them,” said Beer.
The western U.P. currently (as of April 9) has four total COVID-19 confirmed cases: three in Gogebic County and one in Houghton County. There has been one death in Gogebic County.
Although there isn’t a significantly large amount of cases in the Upper Peninsula, Beer added that we all should treat this virus as something in our communities and to adhere to the stay-at-home order.
WUPHD is also offering a toolkit for essential businesses on how to implement a COVID-19 screening plan for employees. It includes screening questions to consider, how to respond, and messages you can use to prevent the spread of viruses and stay healthy. You can click here for the full business toolkit.
The full public health advisory made by the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department is below: