Taking precautions, being proactive key amid local virus spike

With roughly 800 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths in the Upper Peninsula reported by the Michigan Department of Health and Humans between Nov. 7 and Saturday, it’s clear that the caseload is rapidly rising here in Superiorland.

These figures are especially stark when we consider that the U.P. recorded a total of 778 cases and 18 deaths from the beginning of the pandemic to Aug. 1, while it’s only taken a single week in November to add these 800 new cases and 18 new deaths.

And it’s critical to recognize that this significant growth in cases causes a strain on the very systems we need to combat the virus.

For example, Marquette County Health Department announced Friday that a lack of resources might limit the scenarios under which people receive a COVID-19 test.

This means that local testing may be limited to patients experiencing direct or severe symptoms of COVID-19, as well as patients who are “at higher risk for severe medical outcomes, such as the elderly and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions,” according to the announcement.

“Further, delays in the reporting of laboratory results creates additional obstacles for those individuals and for our public health interventions,” officials said in the announcement. “The Marquette County Health Department is working diligently with state and local partners in an effort to arrive at solutions to this dilemma.

Given the limitations of COVID-19 testing, we as a community need to work together with the tools that we currently have and that are known to be effective in the control of COVID-19 infection rates.”

Additionally, county health officials said the contact tracing system is “severely overwhelmed” throughout Michigan and cannot provide contact tracing to residents fast enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in many cases.

With spiking cases putting a strain on resources that are critical to controlling the spread, we all must do our part in fighting the virus by taking precautions and being proactive.

These actions include wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, adhering to hand hygiene practices and staying home if ill.

Furthermore, officials say you shouldn’t assume you have allergies or the “common cold” and recommend attempting to get tested if you are symptomatic.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms and are unable to get tested or are awaiting test results, the health department recommends:

≤ Consult a health care provider.

≤ Stay home and isolate for 10 days.

≤ Notify all close contacts and advising them to stay home and quarantine for 14 days.

Officials emphasized that you should not wait for a contact tracer to call you before you take steps to isolation or quarantine.

We hope all area residents will proceed with the utmost precaution and be proactive in the event of symptom development and/or potential COVID-19 exposure, as taking the small but crucial steps outlined by the health department can save lives and prevent the system from being further overwhelmed.


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