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Officials call for caution after virus cases spike in Gogebic

Western Upper Peninsula health officials have cautioned about the risks of large gatherings after seeing a spike of more than 90 COVID-19 cases in Gogebic County over the past 30 days.

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department put out the advisory Tuesday as that county’s number of coronavirus positives rose by six Tuesday to hit 98, up from only seven total cases a month ago.

The WUPHD said it traced COVID-19 exposures to softball tournament play in Marenisco, Michigan, and Mercer, Wisconsin, plus the Chairmen’s Open Golf Tournament in Watersmeet on July 25. Cases also have been traced to other gatherings such as weddings and funerals, health officials stated in a news release.

“While we recognize it is summer and people want to be traveling and socializing, it is critical for individuals to make good choices regarding social events and large gatherings. It is also important for us to work together towards prevention by wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing,” said Kate Beer, WUPHD health officer. “Contact tracing also plays a critical role in containing an outbreak. People can help by providing health officials with accurate information regarding close contacts in recent days.”

The health department asked that anyone who attended a tournament or a recent large gathering or had close contact with someone who attended one of those events, and who experiences or develops symptoms such as cough, fever, shortness of breath or a new loss of taste or smell immediately isolate and call a health care provider and inform them of any potential exposure.

Elsewhere in the Upper Peninsula, the Michigan COVID-19 data site Tuesday listed seven new positives in Menominee County, five new in Marquette County, two new in Mackinac and Ontonagon counties, and one each in Delta, Chippewa and Dickinson counties; the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department already had reported the new case Monday.

Gogebic County now ranks third among the U.P.’s 15 counties in its number of confirmed virus cases, behind only Marquette with 132 and Menominee with 102.

In Wisconsin counties in the region, that state’s COVID-19 data site showed Marinette County continues to climb with 11 more positives to total 342, while Vilas County had one new case. Iron County posted a new case on its Facebook page to reach 74, two more than the state’s tally.

For the Upper Peninsula, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services data site Tuesday had Keweenaw County with two confirmed cases and one probable; Luce County with three confirmed cases; Baraga County, five confirmed cases; Ontonagon County, six confirmed and one probable; Alger County, seven confirmed cases and one probable; Schoolcraft County, 12 confirmed cases; Iron County, 17 confirmed cases and one death; Mackinac County, 19 confirmed cases and four probable; Chippewa County, 25 confirmed cases and 10 probable; Houghton County, 41 confirmed cases and seven probable; Dickinson County, 46 confirmed cases, one probable and two deaths; Delta County, 63 confirmed cases, 20 probable and three deaths; Gogebic County, 98 confirmed cases, eight probable and a death; Menominee County, 102 confirmed cases and six probable; and Marquette County, 132 confirmed cases, 12 probable and 11 deaths. State numbers are updated daily but can lag behind local reports or have other discrepancies.

The MDHHS also earlier separately had prison inmates as positive in Luce and Chippewa counties.

Using strictly the state figures, the Upper Peninsula as of Tuesday has had 580 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 18 deaths.

The MDHHS reported 664 confirmed new COVID-19 cases in Michigan on Tuesday for a total of 84,050 to date. The state had seven new deaths Tuesday — including five that happened earlier but recently were verified through vital records and testing, according to the MDHHS — for a total of 6,219.

For Wisconsin counties in the region, the state Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 data site Tuesday listed Marinette County with 342 cases and three deaths; Iron County 72 cases and one death; Forest County 59 cases and four deaths; Vilas County 39 cases; and Florence County seven cases. As with the Michigan data, the state numbers are updated daily but can lag behind local reports or have other discrepancies; the Florence County Health Department on its website Tuesday still listed only six cases.

Wisconsin reported 728 new cases Tuesday for a total of 56,056 to date, according to the state DHS data site. The state had 12 new COVID-19 deaths Tuesday to reach 961 to date.

According to the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department, Dickinson County as of Monday had 46 confirmed COVID-19 positives, with seven recovered, two deaths and 37 cases still active. Iron County has 17 positives, with five recovered, one death and 11 still active.

Dickinson County Healthcare System as of Friday showed 11 cases from Dickinson County and 11 cases from other counties; those counties are not identified. DCHS has tested 2,322 people for COVID-19, with 22 positive, 2,201 negative and 99 results still pending. DCHS noted there are several additional sources of testing in Dickinson County.

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