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UK variant identified in Dickinson, Florence counties

Local health officials reported Monday that a COVID-19 variant originally recorded in Great Britain has now been identified in both Dickinson and Florence counties.

Having cases of the B.1.1.7 variant surface in the region are “concerning” because “compared to the standard SARS-CoV- 2 virus, the B.1.1.7 variant is approximately 50 percent more transmissible, leading to faster spread of the virus and potentially increasing numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths,” according to a news release from the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department.

However, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services states that based on initial evidence, all three authorized vaccines effectively reduce the risk of COVID-19 for all of the circulating variants, according to the Florence County Health Department.

“With this new strain being present in our community, it is even more important that we all get vaccinated,” the health department stated.

Both Michigan and Wisconsin on Monday announced they will make the vaccine available to anyone age 16 or older.

The two health departments encouraged residents in their counties to call or go online for information on scheduling an appointment. The office number is 906-774-1868 for Dickinson County, 906-265-9913 for Iron County and 715-528-4837 for Florence County.

The DIDHD’s website is at didhd.org, while the Florence County Health Department suggests its Facebook page for updates as well as its website at www.florencewipublichealth.com.

State COVID-19 data Monday showed three new confirmed positives in Dickinson County and one in Iron County.

For the Upper Peninsula, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ coronavirus website Monday listed 58 new confirmed cases since Saturday: 19 in Delta County; 16 in Marquette County; nine in Houghton County; three in both Dickinson and Chippewa counties; two each in Menominee, Alger and Mackinac counties; and one each in Iron, Luce and Ontonagon counties; Gogebic County’s count was reduced by one. Delta County had the region’s only new death attributed to the virus.

Using only the state’s figures, the Upper Peninsula as of Monday has had 17,486 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 400 deaths.

Across the U.P., the MDHHS data site Monday had Keweenaw County at 124 confirmed cases and 31 probable, and one confirmed death and one probable death; Luce County, 144 confirmed cases and 134 probable, one probable death; Schoolcraft County, 267 confirmed cases and 49 probable, four deaths and one probable; Alger County, 291 confirmed, 167 probable and one death, four probable; Mackinac County, 325 confirmed cases and 172 probable, three deaths; Ontonagon County, 377 confirmed, 56 probable and 20 deaths, one probable; Baraga County, 520 confirmed cases, 107 probable and 33 deaths; Iron County, 886 confirmed cases and 61 probable, 42 deaths and nine probable; Chippewa County, 891 confirmed cases and 1,199 probable, and 25 deaths, five probable; Gogebic County, 973 confirmed cases and 357 probable, 22 deaths and 28 probable; Menominee County, 1,661 confirmed cases, 282 probable and 39 deaths, two probable; Dickinson County, 2,211 confirmed cases and 260 probable, 55 deaths and 16 probable; Houghton County, 2,304 confirmed cases, 565 probable, 32 deaths and eight probable; Delta County, 2,833 confirmed cases and 527 probable, 68 deaths and 19 probable; and Marquette County, 3,679 confirmed cases, 647 probable and 55 deaths, one probable. State numbers are updated almost daily but can lag behind local reports or have other discrepancies.

The MDHHS on Monday posted 10,293 confirmed new coronavirus positives in Michigan since Saturday for a total of 702,499. The state added 21 new deaths for the two-day period to reach 16,239.

In Wisconsin, the state Department of Health Services’ COVID-19 data site Monday had no new cases for counties in the region.

The DHS on Monday had Marinette County with 4,010 confirmed cases, 412 probable cases and 65 deaths, three probable deaths; Vilas County, 2,197 confirmed, 142 probable and 39 deaths, two probable; Forest County, 937 confirmed, 72 probable and 23 deaths, three probable; Iron County, 569 confirmed, 117 probable and 21 deaths, 19 probable; and Florence County, 430 confirmed, 50 probable and 12 deaths. As in Michigan, state numbers are updated daily but can lag behind local reports or have other discrepancies.

Wisconsin added 307 new positives Monday for a total of 580,184 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date. The state listed only one new death Monday for a total of 6,640.

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