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Second Presque Isle County resident dies after coronavirus infection

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

ALPENA — A second Presque Isle County resident has died after being infected with COVID-19 as 101 Northeast Michigan residents were confirmed infected over the weekend, local public health officials said today.

The new death is the region’s 23rd since the pandemic hit Michigan in mid-March. Today’s report marked the second weekend in a row that more than 100 Northeast Michigan infections were recorded.

Meanwhile, the state health department today reported 11 more nursing home employees in Northeast Michigan were infected, including seven at MediLodge of Alpena, two at MediLodge of Rogers City, and one each at MediLodge of Hillman and Lincoln Haven.

Pied Piper School students will continue learning remotely until Dec. 9 after another probable infection linked to the school was discovered, Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District Superintendent Scott Reynolds said in a letter to the community today. Officials had planned for students to return to school Nov. 30.

And three more employees at Alcona Community Schools are confirmed infected with COVID-19, Superintendent Dan O’Connor said in a letter to parents today.

In a bit of good news, local health officials announced seven COVID-19 patients had recovered over the weekend.

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

Of the 101 newly infected Northeast Michiganders, 52 are Alpena County residents, 24 are Presque Isle County residents, 11 are Montmorency County residents, and 14 are Alcona County residents.

As of today, 635 Northeast Michiganders were actively infected, meaning they’d been confirmed infected with COVID-19 but have not recovered or died. That’s more than six times higher than the worst point of the first wave of infection in the spring.

Sixteen COVID-19 patients, two of whom were in intensive care, were hospitalized at MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena as of today, according to state data. The Alpena hospital was 35% full.

And 137 people were hospitalized today 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 hit Michigan in mid-March, 866 Northeast Michiganders have been infected, according to local public health agencies. Of those, 208 have recovered and 23 have died.

Reynolds, the AMA ESD superintendent, said in the letter that district officials had learned of another probable infection and that several school employees came into close contact with that individual.

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

Reynolds said Pied Piper School now lacks enough employees to return to face-to-face instruction. Reynolds said in the letter officials “do not have evidence of close contact with any of our students at this time.”

Reynolds said remote instruction will not take place over the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and Friday.

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

In the meantime, Reynolds encourages the community to wear masks, maintain social distancing, wash hands frequently, and follow capacity restrictions on social gatherings.

O’Connor, the Alcona superintendent, said employees will reach out to impacted students and staff if they need to self-isolate. The school district transitioned to remote learning today after multiple classrooms and employees were required to self-isolate.

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