Bay Mills worker tests positive; first positive test at casino
MARQUETTE — A Bay Mills Resort & Casino hotel employee tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, marking the first positive test result of a BMRC employee.
The Bay Mills Indian Community immediately announced that BMIC officials notified health authorities of the positive case and began a review of BMRC surveillance footage.
After meeting with the Chippewa County Health Department and consulting with BMIC health authorities, tribal officials have decided the casino and hotel, located in Brimley, will remain open.
“Risk guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control are being followed, as well as guidance from our local health authorities,” BMIC Tribal Chairman Bryan Newland said in the announcement. “Based on the information provided, the risk level to guests and employees remains the same as if you were out in the general public.”
Newland said the employee was wearing a mask — a requirement for all BMRC employees — during the employee’s shift and all areas with which the employee had been in contact have been closed and sanitized.
Current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define primary contact as any individual within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes.
The employee’s primary contacts have been identified and will be contacted by the CCHD, the BMIC said. Primary contacts will be advised to isolate for 14 days.
Anyone not contacted by the Chippewa County Health Department is not considered at risk for exposure from this individual.
All staff at BMRC will have the opportunity to be tested at Bay Mills Health Center on Tuesday. BMHC will use rapid tests for employees, but appointments must be made.
As with any community member that tests positive for COVID-19, or is asked to isolate, community resources are available for everything from picking up groceries to arranging resources for a healthy recovery, the BMIC said.
“Safety is our number one priority,” Newland said. “I encourage any community member or health center patient who has tested positive to reach out — you are not alone in this. We will help get you the resources you need for recovery.”
No further information is available at this time. Updates will be released when additional information becomes available.
Order affects large spaces
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday signed Executive Order 2020-159 to allow Michigan’s colleges and universities to proceed with converting large spaces for instruction without approval or inspection.
“Our college students and educators have made tremendous sacrifices over the past four months to protect each other from the spread of COVID-19. When it comes to instruction in the fall, Michigan’s colleges and universities are working tirelessly to provide a safe environment for students and staff,” Whitmer said in a news release. “I am committed to doing everything in my power to remove barriers for individuals, business and schools to fight COVID-19.”
This order, she said, will make it easier for colleges and universities to educate Michigan’s college students in the most “safe and efficient way” by ensuring everyone can maintain safe physical distancing.
Executive Order 2020-159 amends the Michigan Administrative Code during the state of emergency to allow colleges and universities converting large spaces to provide socially distanced learning without inspection or approval from the Bureau of Fire Services.
Under the order, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will issue further guidance governing temporary approval of the use of a space as an instructional facility.
Masks mandated in diocese
The Most Rev. John Doerfler, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette, said in a letter to parishioners that effective today, it’s mandatory for everyone over age 5 to wear a face mask for indoor celebrations of Mass and the sacraments as well as all indoor parish meetings and events.
“Though the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of face masks in limiting the spread of COVID-19 is still inconclusive, there is sufficient evidence to judge prudently that we should wear face masks to limit the spread of the disease,” Doerfler wrote.
Blueberry Quest underway
With the cancellation of this summer’s Blueberry Festival, which would have taken place Friday in downtown Marquette, the Marquette Downtown Development Authority has decided the event will be celebrated, but in a different way.
Twenty “blueberry” rocks will be hidden throughout the festival event area, with each rock having a unique code that’s redeemable for a $20 gift card to a downtown business that traditionally takes part in the festival.
Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is email@example.com.