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COVID-19 cases force Forest Park to suspend classes

CRYSTAL FALLS — The Forest Park School District will not have classes or extracurricular activities through the rest of the week after two staff members and two students tested positive for COVID-19.

The cases involve a middle-high school teacher, a long-term substitute and two high school students, Superintendent Christy Larson announced today in an emailed statement.

As a result, the district will have neither in-person or virtual classes at least today and Friday, “in order to provide adequate time to allow the health department to complete contact tracing, and to further evaluate the current COVID situation in our community and surrounding area, and how the recent spike in cases in our area directly affect Forest Park,” Larson said.

The Dickinson-Iron District Health Department today reported seven new COVID-19 positives in Iron County, bringing the total to 108 confirmed cases, double the 54 it had only a week ago.

Parents and students in the district should watch their email for further information, she said. “If you know of anyone who is NOT receiving this information via our PowerSchool alert system, please have them call the office to be sure your information is correct in our system,” Larson advised.

The move cancels Forest Park’s volleyball match with Stephenson set for Thursday night, Friday night’s football game against Carney-Nadeau and the Oct. 2 football game against North Central, since the team will be unable to practice. That allows North Central time to perhaps line up another opponent, said Lisa Olson, athletic director at Forest Park.

The Forest Park junior high school girls basketball game Thursday at West Iron County has been called off as well.

“The health and safety of our students and student athletes is our first and foremost concern at all times,” Olson said. “We are going to do what’s best for everyone involved, and right now that is to cancel school and all extracurricular activities” for those dates, Olson said.

The high school was celebrating Homecoming week. The district hopes to reschedule the remaining Homecoming events, Olson said.

Also in the region, officials in Wisconsin’s Goodman-Armstrong Creek School District announced Tuesday that a student or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 but the schools will remain open for now.

The district did not specify how many cases might be involved in the letter posted on its website.

“We are actively working with the local county health departments to quickly identify, notify and quarantine any students or staff who may have come into close contact with them and who may be at risk of getting sick,” the letter states. “We are also cleaning and disinfecting the school to control the spread of illness.” The district includes parts of Marinette and Forest counties.

Across the Upper Peninsula, Michigan’s COVID-19 data site listed 95 new positives Wednesday: 30 in Houghton County, 27 in Delta County, 19 in Iron County, seven in Marquette County, five in Menominee County, three in Mackinac and Schoolcraft counties and two in Alger County; the state also reduced Dickinson County’s total by one. The state showed two new deaths in Delta County as well but that could not be confirmed through the Public Health, Delta and Menominee Counties’ website.

Among Wisconsin counties in the region, that state’s COVID-19 data site had 15 new cases in Marinette County, seven in Forest County, four in Florence County and three in Vilas County.

On Facebook, Forest County reported 21 new positives Wednesday for a total of 250 cases, 19 more than the state’s figures, while Vilas County raised its tally by six to reach 182, five more than the state showed.

For the Upper Peninsula, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday had Keweenaw County with seven confirmed cases and one probable; Luce County, 11 confirmed cases and one probable; Baraga County, 12 confirmed cases and eight probable; Alger County, 18 confirmed and one probable; Schoolcraft County, 22 confirmed cases and two probable; Ontonagon County, 41 confirmed and one probable; Mackinac County, 41 confirmed cases and 16 probable; Chippewa County, 50 confirmed cases and 26 probable; Iron County, 110 confirmed cases, four probable and one death; Dickinson County, 111 confirmed cases, three probable and two deaths; Gogebic County, 144 confirmed cases, 12 probable and a death; Delta County, 281 confirmed cases, 46 probable and seven deaths; Marquette County, 289 confirmed cases, 52 probable and 12 deaths; Menominee County, 294 confirmed cases, 45 probable and a death; and Houghton County, 310 confirmed cases, 78 probable and two deaths. State numbers are updated daily but can lag behind local reports or have other discrepancies.

Using only the state figures Wednesday, the Upper Peninsula has had 1,741 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date with 26 deaths.

The MDHHS reported 705 confirmed new COVID-19 cases in Michigan on Wednesday for a total of 118,615 to date. The state added 12 new deaths Wednesday for a total of 6,692.

For Wisconsin counties in the region, the state Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 data site Wednesday had Marinette County with 768 confirmed cases, 20 probable cases and seven deaths; Forest County, 231 confirmed, three probable and four deaths; Vilas County, 177 confirmed, five probable and a death; Iron County, 137 confirmed, seven probable and one death; and Florence County, 73 confirmed and one death. As with the Michigan data, the state numbers are updated daily but can lag behind local reports or have other discrepancies.

Wisconsin recorded 1,762 new positives in the state Wednesday for a total of 105,932, according to the state DHS data site. The state had eight new COVID-19 deaths Wednesday to reach 1,251.

According to figures from the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department, Dickinson County as of Wednesday has had 112 confirmed COVID-19 positives and three probable cases, with 60 recovered, two deaths and 53 cases still active. Iron County has had 108 confirmed positives and six probables, with 23 recovered, one death and 90 cases still active.

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