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Virus closes Hillman schools

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

ALPENA — Hillman Community Schools will be closed Thursday and Friday because of “a district positive COVID-19 test,” officials announced on the schools’ Facebook page this evening.

District officials will work with the District Health Department No. 4 today and more information will be shared after that process, according to the post. Hillman follows several other schools across the region whose classes have been disrupted because of coronavirus scares this fall.

The news comes as the number of Northeast Michigan residents infected with coronavirus continued to trend upward today, as local school districts and public health officials urged residents to modify their holiday plans.

A letter from Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District Superintendent Scott Reynolds and other superintendents of Alpena, Alcona, and Montmorency counties and officials from District Health Departments No. 2 and No. 4, asked the public to consider small, local holiday celebrations, where mask-wearing, good hygiene practices, and social distancing is required.

Check out the interactive graphic below showing the number of active coronavirus infections of Northeast Michiganders since the pandemic began. Story continues below graphic.

“Our goal is to stay safe, keep our schools open face-to-face, and our businesses and economy moving forward,” Reynolds said in the letter.

Meanwhile, public health officials reported seven more Northeast Michigan residents infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That means 175 Alpena County residents, 50 Alcona County residents, 38 Montmorency County residents, and 83 Presque Isle county residents have been infected since the pandemic hit Michigan in mid-March.

As of today, 139 Northeast Michiganders were actively infected, meaning they’d tested positive for COVID-19 but hadn’t died or recovered. That’s more than at any time since the beginning of the outbreak. Active cases peaked at 106 in the spring, during the virus’ first wave.

Hospitalizations continued to inch upward, as well, with seven more people admitted to the hospital with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection today across the state-designated, 18-county health care region that includes Alpena, Presque Isle, and Montmorency counties, according to state day. As of today, 68 people were in the hospital across that region, 46 of them in intensive care.

Michigan health officials announced 4,101 new cases and 19 new deaths statewide on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases to 192,096 and deaths to 7,419 since the pandemic’s start.

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