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More than 100 infections confirmed over weekend

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Audrey Scott gets ready to serve a pizza at the Black Sheep Pub on Monday. The tavern will be forced to give up indoor dining because of a new state order meant to slow a fast-moving resurgence of coronavirus infections.

ALPENA — More than 100 Northeast Michiganders were infected over the weekend, public health officials reported today.

Officials reported 104 newly infected Northeast Michiganders since Friday, including 58 Alpena County residents, 17 Presque Isle County residents, 12 Montmorency County residents, and 17 Alcona County residents. That rate far eclipses any weekend infections reported since the pandemic hit Northeast Michigan in April.

For comparison’s sake, it took 25 days for the region to pass 100 cases during the first wave of the virus in the spring.

As of today, 413 Northeast Michiganders were actively infected, meaning they’d been confirmed infected with COVID-19 but have not recovered or died.

As of today, 115 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection across the state-designated, 18-county health care region that includes Alpena, Presque Isle, and Montmorency counties, according to state data. Before Halloween, 39 people were hospitalized across those 18 counties.

Since the pandemic hit Michigan in mid-March, 630 Northeast Michiganders have been infected, according to local public health agencies. Of those, 197 have recovered and 20 have died.

The last death was reported Friday.

The interactive graphic below shows active infections in Northeast Michigan over time. Story continues below graphic.

Businesses in Alpena are already taking steps to comply with the most recent state order requiring restaurants and bars to end indoor dining. The new order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration also prohibits large public events like the annual holiday parade in Alpena, which was canceled today.

Red Brick Tap and Barrel co-owner Kevin Peterson opened his restaurant in late summer and is already being forced to scramble to find a way to generate revenue until the indoor dining ban is lifted on Dec.8.

He said he wasn’t surprised the state took action and is prepared to offer takeout meals. He said he also intends to offer full Thanksgiving meals — although not on the holiday — as well as family meals.

Peterson said he also intends to host online cooking instructions.

“We sell the kits with all of the ingredients at the restaurant and then we will cook it together on Facebook Live,” he said. “I did something similar during the quarantine, and it was pretty popular, except they had to get their own ingredients.”

The interactive chart below shows cumulative infections, recoveries and deaths in Northeast Michigan over time. Story continues below graphic.

Black Sheep Pub owner Kris Conger said that, during the last shutdown in the spring, the community really supported the business, which will again offer takeout, delivery, and curbside pickup options. She said she hopes the community will support her again, because there will be a lot of lost business because of the restrictions coming during the holiday season.

“This is our livelihood, so we have to stay open and do what we have to do,” Conger said. “We’re normally very busy for the holiday parade and Christmas shopping season, so that will hurt, but we’ll still be here.”

Alpena Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Anne Gentry said some businesses have already reached out to the DDA seeking ways to stir up business.

“Some of them are thinking about ways to do outdoor seating or special events and wonder what we can do to help,” she said. “We will see what we can do to help.”

The latest state order also impacts some students statewide. All high school and college classes will move online-only, but younger kids will be allowed to stay in class.

Flip through the interactive timeline below to see how the coronavirus spread through Northeast Michigan. Story continues below the timeline.

Meanwhile in-person learning will resume on Tuesday for Rogers City Area Schools students in kindergarten through eighth grade, while students in ninth through 12th grade will transition to online-only learning, a post on the district’s Facebook page said. The district closed last week after a coronavirus scare.

Rogers City high school students will be contacted within the next 24 hours with information on how to make the transition. They will be able to pick up belongings and materials beginning Wednesday.

The Alcona County Road Commission announced it’s closing its office to face-to-face contacts until further notice.

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