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13 Northeast Michiganders infected, hospital limits visitors

Courtesy Image An illustration of the coronavirus provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ALPENA — Thirteen more Northeast Michigan residents are infected with the coronavirus as it continues to spread at rates not seen since the spring and the Alpena hospital renewed restrictions on visitors.

Today’s report was the largest single-day spike since April 21, when 23 cases were reported.

Denise Bryan, health officer at District Health Departments No. 2 and No. 4, said Northeast Michigan has not yet had this kind of surge, and the region is seeing the second wave of COVID-19.

“It’s unrelenting, and it’s going to continue to get worse before it gets better,” she said.

Bryan said the spread of the virus is more complex than when it first hit in the spring, because people are “COVID-fatigued,” exhausted and not maintaining the vigilance required to prevent the disease from spreading.

Bryan said officials also see spread as student athletes interact and work out close to one another on a daily basis.

With people traveling to the region for hunting season, where they frequent restaurants and bars, and people traveling for Thanksgiving, Bryan doesn’t see the spread of the virus being remedied any time soon.

Since the virus hit Michigan in mid-March, 287 Northeast Michigan residents have been infected, including 145 Alpena County residents, 46 Alcona County residents, 31 Montmorency County residents, and 65 Presque Isle County residents.

No new deaths or recoveries were reported.

Health officials also reported 41 probable cases in the region, including 21 Alpena County residents, eight Alcona County residents, three Montmorency County residents, and nine Presque Isle County residents.

A person is considered probably infected when they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 but have yet to be tested for the virus.

Meanwhile, MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena will once again limit access to the hospital to patients, “approved support persons,” staff, and essential vendors. No children will be allowed in any care setting.

Support people must be 16 years or older. It wasn’t immediately clear what a support person is. A hospital spokeswoman did not return messages seeking comment.

Those entering the hospital must first screen negative for symptoms of respiratory infection and will be required to wear a mask for the duration of the visit.

Bryan also asks the public to continue to cooperate with public health officials when they call and recommend quarantining in isolation.

She said people were thankful and cooperative in the spring, but now people will hang up on health officials or refuse to cooperate for contract tracing. She said Health Department staff have also had people tell them they weren’t planning to isolate themselves from others.

Alpena News intern Alyssa Ochss contributed to this report.

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