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Delta variant found in Marquette County

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Health Department has confirmed the presence of the COVID-19 Delta variant in a Marquette County resident, noting this isn’t surprising and it assumes there will be other cases.

Dr. Robert Lorinser, MCHD medical director, indicated the number of cases in Marquette County has stagnated recently, but noted the Delta variant is different.

“The Delta is much more contagious,” he said. “There’s no question about that.”

Without being vaccinated, the natural virus would probably infect two or three people, while the Delta virus would infect eight or nine people, he said.

“It doesn’t mean it’s any more deadly or serious,” Lorinser said.

However, he did have a few recommendations.

“If you are vaccinated, your risk is very low,” he said. “If I was 80 years old with an immunocompromising condition, would I go into a beer festival with a bunch of boisterous young people who are not vaccinated? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Lorinser said the Marquette County vaccination rate is about 60%. He also said the variant has not yet been detected elsewhere in the Upper Peninsula.

MCHD said that in general, individuals who are fully vaccinated are protected from serious illness and death, but there have been breakthrough cases requiring hospitalization at UP Health System-Marquette.

Those at increased risk are the elderly and people with immunocompromising medical conditions.

“If you’re otherwise healthy and (have) been vaccinated, I don’t think it would change your behavior,” said Lorinser, who stressed people don’t have to wear masks and stay inside their homes. “If you’re not vaccinated, my recommendation is to get vaccinated, right? It comes down to the vaccine most of the times. But it’s always a risk-benefit ratio.”

MCHD strongly urges anyone exposed to COVID-19 or is even suffering from a mild illness to get tested and act accordingly. It also asks individuals to notify their contacts if they have been exposed to COVID-19 to prevent another resurgence in cases, especially among the unvaccinated.

Removal order issued for hand sanitizer

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on Tuesday issued a stop-use and stop-removal order for Purella brand hand sanitizer after finding the products do not protect the public and do not comply with the standards in the Michigan Weights and Measures Act, 1964 Public Act 283.

“Hand sanitizers have become one of the critical tools for preventing the spread of COVID-19 as well as other viruses,” said Craig VanBuren, MDARD’s Laboratory Division director, in a news release. “To be effective, these products are required to have at least 70% isopropyl alcohol or 60% ethyl alcohol to be considered effective.

“While primarily sold in southeast Michigan, consumers visiting that area may have purchased it earlier and kept it in a cabinet for later use, so we’re encouraging consumers to do a quick label check.”

As part of its marketplace investigation, MDARD discovered these hand sanitizers do not meet the labeled alcohol content, a key ingredient in effective hand sanitizer. The Purella brand stated it contains 75% isopropyl alcohol; however, MDARD testing confirmed it contained about 50%.

The orders prohibit the sale, offering for sale or use of hand sanitizers sold as Purella brand hand sanitizer stating “75 percent Isopropyl Alcohol.” These products should no longer be used, immediately be removed from store shelves or other product displays and no longer be offered for sale, MDARD said.

The orders mean Purella brand hand sanitizers cannot be sold or used in the Michigan effective last Thursday. The products may be returned to the place of purchase or properly disposed of in accordance with local ordinances.

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