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Dickinson COVID-19 cases rise, but no local ‘hot spots’

IRON MOUNTAIN — Dickinson County has seen no “hot spots” for COVID-19 infections, even as the case count continues to rise, the county’s emergency preparedness coordinator said Monday.

“Most of our cases are family interaction,” Pete Schlitt told the county board.

Schlitt said he’s “very conservatively” hopeful there will be no spike in the weeks ahead.

A total of 588 people were tested Friday during a drive-through clinic in Kingsford, offered in conjunction with the Michigan National Guard. Results should be available today and through the rest of the week, Schlitt said.

“We may get a little bump (in positive results) because of it, but we’ve sort of flattened out,” he said.

The Dickinson-Iron District Health Department has listed 42 cases in the county since the onset of the pandemic, up from 19 just two weeks ago. Two county residents have died from the virus — though none since early April — and six cases are considered recovered.

The day-long testing in Kingsford “went very well,” Schlitt said, noting by comparison 532 people were tested in a recent two-day clinic in Flint.

During a two-day National Guard swing through the Upper Peninsula, nearly 2,400 people were tested, including 271 on Saturday in Crystal Falls.

“A lot of people are concerned,” said Commissioner Kevin Pirlot, adding he was encouraged to learn the health department on Monday shared a potential exposure location on its Facebook page.

In other action, the county board:

— Heard Commission John Degenaer Jr. report that, although the county fair is canceled, a horse pull and 4-H market animal exhibition is planned for Saturday, Sept. 5. Also, food vendors will have a drive-through event Saturday, Aug. 15, at the fairgrounds in Norway.

— Accepted a proposal from the Markell Co. of Iron Mountain to cover the remainder of the built-in gutter system at the courthouse at a cost not to exceed $26,800. Markell had identified the gutters as a source of leaks during a recently completed roofing project and had covered 60 feet of gutter, with about 300 feet remaining.

— Learned from board attorney Carl Downing that a new property survey may be needed before the county can transfer ownership of the Crystal Lake senior center to the center’s site council.

— Agreed to solicit bids for a water and sewer project to service new and future hangars at Ford Airport.

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