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2 more virus deaths reported

2 county commissioners, 911 chief, more school staffers infected

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Salvation Army bell ringer Toni Songuad collects money for the needy at Save-a-Lot in Alpena on Monday. Songuad and customers wore masks to help protect themselves and others from spreading COVID-19.

ALPENA — Two more Northeast Michigan residents — one in Presque Isle County and one in Alpena County — have died after being infected with the coronavirus, public health officials said today as the number of Northeast Michiganders infected since the pandemic began topped 1,200.

Since the virus hit Michigan in mid-March, at least 25 Northeast Michiganders have died after being infected with COVID-19, including 17 Alpena County residents, three Presque Isle County residents, two Montmorency County residents, and three Alcona County residents.

District Health Department No. 2, which covers Alcona County, hadn’t updated its data as of this evening.

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

Meanwhile, several Alpena County government officials have been infected, one of whom is hospitalized, and additional school staffers have been infected.

And holiday event cancelations continue to stack up. The Alcona County Chamber of Commerce today announced the cancellation of the annual Christmas in the Village event in Harrisville.

In its first update since Wednesday, District Health Department No. 4 today reported 247 newly infected Northeast Michiganders, including 145 Alpena County residents, 59 Presque Isle County residents, and 43 Montmorency County residents.

That means that, as of today, more than 900 Northeast Michiganders were actively infected, meaning they’d been infected but hadn’t recovered or died.

District Health Department No. 4 today announced 11 more Northeast Michiganders had recovered from COVID-19.

As of today, 19 COVID-19 patients, five of whom in intensive care, were hospitalized at MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena, according to state data. The Alpena hospital was 37% full.

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

As of today, 138 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.

Since the pandemic began, at least 1,203 Northeast Michiganders have been infected.

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS INFECTED

Alpena County Commissioner Brad McRoberts was infected earlier this month and is self-isolating and on the mend, while Commissioner Bill Peterson is currently hospitalized, according to county officials. County Emergency Services Coordinator Mark Hall is at home recovering after being taken to the hospital with suspected COVID-19 infection.

McRoberts said he suffered from congestion and extreme fatigue, and had a short spell of shortness of breath. He said he is feeling back to normal now. McRoberts said it is important for people to heed the advice and orders of health officials, because the community spread of the virus is ramping up.

“I was exposed and started to show systems while I was in quarantine,” McRoberts said. “I got tested and it came back positive. People need to take this seriously.”

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

SCHOOL OFFICIALS INFECTED

Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District officials today learned of two confirmed COVID-19 infections and one probable infection with ties to Pied Piper School and the AMA ESD’s central office today, Superintendent Scott Reynolds said in a letter to the community.

A Pied Piper School student or staff member previously reported as probably infected has now been confirmed infected, and another student or staff member with ties to the school is now considered probably infected with the disease. Schools do not identify infected individuals, citing health privacy laws.

One employee from the AMA ESD central office was also confirmed infected with COVID-19. Reynolds said the central office infection had no direct connection to Pied Piper School.

“We have been advised that anyone who came into close contact with these individuals within 48 hours of symptom onset may be required to quarantine,” Reynolds said in the letter.

Reynolds said officials do not have evidence of an infected person coming into close contact with any students.

Pied Piper School, like most schools in the area, switched to online learning in November and students will continue learning remotely until at least Dec. 9.

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