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Vaccine registration details given

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Health Department has provided pre-registration details regarding the new COVID-19 vaccination priority groups.

As of Monday, eligibility will be expanded to include residents age 50 and over with medical conditions or disabilities as well as family members who care for children with special health care needs.

Eligibility will expand again to include all residents age 50 and over on March 22.

The MCHD will begin accepting pre-registration for these two groups at 10 a.m. today. It is developing a new registration form that includes information about medical conditions. Anyone age 50 and over or those caring for a child with special health care needs may pre-register using a link to be posted at mqthealth.org. The health department will use this information to contact people.

Anyone needing assistance may call 906-475-7847. Phone lines are staffed between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Once vaccine allotment is determined, MCHD staff will begin calling people from the pre-registration list to schedule an appointment for a vaccine. These calls will take place on Monday and Tuesday for appointments next week.

Anyone under age 65 who pre-registered previously through the MCHD will need to pre-register again through the new method. The previous form was for individuals age 65 and over and did not take into account pre-existing medical conditions.

Individuals who need to cancel their appointment or have received the vaccine elsewhere and are pre-registered should call 906-475-7847 with as much advance notice as possible. This will allow the MCHD to offer those appointments to people who need them.

Possible ‘super-spreader’ event identified

The MCHD has identified through contact tracing a possible COVID-19 “super-spreader” event linked to a youth hockey tournament at the Calumet Colosseum on Saturday and Sunday.

Multiple positives have been identified in players and spectators who were present at the event, indicating a spread of COVID-19, the MCHD said.

The MCHD and the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department are working with junior hockey programs to identify the teams who attended the tournament. Quarantine is recommended for all players, coaches, family members and other spectators through Thursday.

People are asked to monitor themselves for symptoms and contact their medical provider if they become symptomatic. Attendees of the event who feel well should consider being tested for COVID-19 to identify any asymptomatic infection.

LMAS provides vaccine update

Residents in Luce, Mackinac, Alger and Schoolcraft counties age 50 and older, regardless of health status, can be added to wait lists for the COVID-19 vaccine, the Luce-Alger-Mackinac-Schoolcraft District Health Department announced.

Appointments will begin to be scheduled on Monday.

Family members and guardians who care for children with special medical needs are also able to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

To get on a wait list or to sign up for an appointment time, visit LMASDHD.org, and click on the appropriate wait list button. For Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital, residents can call 906-341-3775 or use their appointment scheduler at https://signup.com/go/hvsOZXi.

Anyone who needs assistance scheduling or getting on a wait list should call these numbers between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday: Alger, 906-387-2297; Luce, 906-293-5107; or Mackinac, 906-643-1100. Individuals also may visit the LMAS Facebook page via Messenger at Facebook.com/LMASDHD.

Peters urges passage of legislation

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Hills, at a Thursday Zoom news conference stressed the need to quickly pass the American Rescue Plan. This emergency legislative package would fund vaccinations, provide immediate and direct relief to families bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis, and support struggling communities.

“A big part of this relief act is about immediate relief to families,” Peters said.

The current package would provide $1,400 stimulus checks, he noted.

“It’s also critically important that we take care of folks who have lost their job for no fault of their own as a result of COVID,” Peters said. “I still hear from folks all across Michigan daily — people who are struggling, who are without a job and find difficulties putting food on their table and a roof over their head and rely on unemployment benefits.”

Those benefits, he noted, would be extended under the package until Aug. 29.

“If we do nothing, they come to an end on March 14, (in) just a few days,” Peters said. “Folks need to have certainty.”

Assistance for children and small businesses also will be included, he said.

As chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, he oversees the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We know that the best way for us to get through this pandemic and the quickest way we can get through this pandemic is to produce more vaccines and get them in the arms of people as quickly as possible,” Peters said.

He called the increased vaccination production “encouraging news,” although he acknowledged people’s frustration at the vaccine’s availability.

However, Peters said another challenge exists.

“Soon we’re going to have more vaccine than we have capacity to put in arms, so we want to make sure these are aligned,” Peters said.

That’s why FEMA will be engaged in mass vaccination sites across Michigan, said Peters, who pointed out that the relief bill will include more than $50 billion in disaster funding for FEMA to accelerate the distribution of vaccines.

Small businesses get grants

Nearly 700 small businesses across Michigan have been awarded $10 million in grants through the Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced on Thursday.

The program, administered by the Michigan Municipal League Foundation, was launched to provide relief for small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 34 businesses were served in Prosperity Region 1, which includes Marquette County.

Those businesses include DIGS LLC; Gary’s Knotty Pine Bar, Inc.; Happy Hour Inc.; Kimber L. Schumann; Leading Edge Manufacturing Consultants LLC; Motions LLC; Rippling River Resort; and the Royal Pub Inc. Each will receive $15,000.

“I am proud of this initiative to support hundreds of small businesses as we work together to continue rebuilding Michigan’s economy,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “To keep us on the road to recovery, we must also pass the MI COVID Recovery Plan, which fully allocates over $5 billion in federal funds already sent to Michigan. It includes $225 million to directly help small businesses, $90 million to ramp up vaccinations and $575 million to greatly expand testing, tracing and lab capacity, all essential investments we need to return to normalcy.”

The Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative used $10 million in federal U.S. Housing and Urban Development Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding to provide economic assistance to small businesses across Michigan. Michigan’s small businesses that were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic were able to apply for grants of up to $15,000 through the program.

MEDC selected the Michigan Municipal League Foundation as the single, statewide grant administrator for the Pure Michigan Small Business Relief Initiative. MML Foundation reviewed submitted applications from all 10 prosperity regions across the state.

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