Health department: COVID-19 risk in community considered ‘critical’

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Health Department has issued a public health warning regarding COVID-19.

The health department today said the community has reached a critical level that “threatens the ability to sustain essential services” to the community and protect its well-being.

The number of cases and the prevalent community spread has exceeded public health officials’ ability to effectively conduct case investigations and contact tracing — services essential for protecting the public’s health in a timely way when case numbers are this high.

Local hospitals also are reporting COVID-19 inpatient admission numbers that are severely threatening their ability to provide services essential for the public’s health.

Considering these factors along with the approaching holidays and colder weather, the MCHD said the COVID-19 risk level for the county is considered critical.

The MCHD strongly urges everyone to wear facial coverings in public places, practice social distancing and exercise good hygiene.

It issued these recommendations:

≤ Anyone sick with the symptoms broadly associated with COVID-19 should immediately isolate themselves from others as much as possible. Sick people should call their health care providers and/or make arrangements to be tested. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of facial coverage in the home when a household member is sick. Under no circumstances should a sick person report to work, school or attend any other group gathering.

≤ People over age 65 and those with underlying health conditions need to be extra careful and should avoid or at least minimize time in public places and gatherings. Everyone needs to take extraordinary precautions to protect the most vulnerable in the community.

≤ Businesses are essential for community wellbeing. While indoor spaces present increased risk for COVID-19 transmission, businesses strictly adhering to COVID-19 mitigating guidance have demonstrated the ability to maintain lower risk environments. All businesses are expected to practice extreme care consistent with this guidance. Customers are encouraged to support local businesses but are advised to opt for pickup and delivery whenever possible. Time spent shopping or otherwise inside indoor public spaces should be minimized. People should use facial coverings, follow social distancing protocols and practice good hygiene. Failure to do so will perpetuate the spread of the coronavirus and cause prolonged harm to people and businesses.

≤ Houses of worship and faith communities also are essential to community well-being and provide tremendous support for the holistic needs of their members. The MCHD said it respects the importance of separation of church and state, but given the urgency of the situation, encourages all area houses of workshop to discontinue large gatherings. If this isn’t feasible, faith leaders are encouraged to exercise extreme mitigation efforts, relax in-person attendance obligations and communicate the importance of avoiding all physical contact between people from different households. Individuals are urged to use face masks, practice social distancing and hand hygiene.


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