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Let’s have a PARADE

MCMCF residents treated to gala motorcade

The Marquette County Medical Care Facility holds its second car parade of the summer on Tuesday. The parade allowed residents of the facility to take in some fresh air and connect with their loved ones up close amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has placed tight visitor restrictions on nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country. (Journal photo by Ryan Spitza)

ISHPEMING — It’s been a long and grueling five months for frontline workers, residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities and their loved ones since COVID-19 first made its mark on the world.

With visitation restrictions put in place throughout the spring and summer months, local care facilities have had to get creative in connecting residents with their relatives, whether that be through a traditional phone call, video chat or a window visit.

A popular method for those facilities throughout the summer have been car parades, and the Marquette County Medical Care Facility in Ishpeming held its second one of the year on Tuesday afternoon.

Family, friends and community members were encouraged to participate in the parade, which started on the street and weaved through the facility parking lot, and many decorated their cars and made signs for residents sitting or standing on the sidewalk to enjoy.

MCMCF administrator Jerry Hubbard said the first parade the facility held in May was a great success, but he was hoping it was something that wouldn’t be necessary to do again.

Residents of the facility look on as dozens of cars filled with family and friends drove through the parking lot. (Journal photo by Ryan Spitza)

“I don’t think we imagined we’d have to do this again three months later,” he said. “But here we are, still on lockdown from coronavirus. It’s just a great opportunity for our residents to get outside, see their families and have some fun.”

Feedback about the parade from residents has been positive, and for many of them, it was one of the brightest moments of the entire summer.

“They love it,” Hubbard added. “Because of the lockdown, our visits are limited to window visits or FaceTime visits which aren’t very satisfying. This gives them a chance to get outside and see their families and see them in an atmosphere of everyone having a good time.”

It’s been nothing but good news out of the facility as well, with MCMCF reporting zero positive COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks. Limited visitation is permitted by appointment and only allowed under certain circumstances.

Hubbard is hoping the virus slows down very soon, but another parade will be in the cards if necessary.

Residents wave to loved ones and community members. (Journal photo by Ryan Spitza)

“We’re hoping that this is going to be over but if it continues on, we’ll do this again,” he said. “Everybody had such a great time. It’s really emotional for our residents, families, and especially for our staff. Our staff is practically sitting in for the families on so many cases that it’s so emotional on everybody.”

Hubbard also wanted to acknowledge the hard work his staff has put in on a daily basis over these last five months.

“I have the best staff,” he said. “They take great care of these people and they do the best they can to fill in for the families.”

Weekly COVID-19 testing updates and visitation guidelines for the Marquette County Medical Care Facility are posted to its Facebook page. For more information on MCMCF, visit its website at www.mqtcmcf.org or call 906-485-1061.

Ryan Spitza can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. His email address is

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