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Norlite resident becomes Marquette’s first virus-related death

MARQUETTE — A resident of Norlite Nursing Center, where an employee earlier had tested positive for COVID-19, late Friday became the first death in Marquette County related to the virus.

The man was in his 70s and had other health issues, Norlite Administrator Wayne Johnson told the Mining Journal in Marquette on Saturday.

Two other residents, both female, are in stable condition after testing positive. They all were exposed to the employee while she was asymptomatic, Johnson said.

The employee was tested after she was found to have a fever during a routine screening before her shift at the facility March 26, the Mining Journal in Marquette stated in an article in late March.

“I will say they are doing well when they have a negative test (result) in the next couple of weeks,” Johnson said. “We have done a good job of isolating those patients and we are continuing to stay in very close communication with local and state health officials to ensure we are taking all the appropriate steps and following CDC guidelines.”

He said the facility has sent out eight COVID-19 tests, which include the three positive cases, four negative and one pending.

Johnson noted that the residents who tested positive for the virus were long-term patients, not individuals who received short-term or rehabilitation-to-home services.

The Upper Peninsula reached 26 confirmed cases of COVID-19 by Saturday afternoon, with three deaths, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Luce, Chippewa and Dickinson each have one case, with a death in Dickinson County on Thursday night; Mackinac and Houghton counties have two cases; Gogebic County has three cases and one death of an elderly man March 26; Delta County has five cases; and Marquette County has 11 and the death Friday.

The MDHHS reported 1,481 new COVID-19 cases in the state Saturday, with a total of 14,225 to date. It reported 61 new deaths for a statewide total of 540 to date.

Michigan is ranked third in the nation for the number of COVID-19 cases, according to a New York Times database.

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