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State: 71K have received vaccine

4 more Northeast Michiganders die after infection

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

ALPENA — Four more Northeast Michigan residents have died after being infected with the coronavirus, health officials announced today.

Health officials said one Alpena County resident, two Presque Isle County residents, and one Alcona County resident died, pushing to 51 the number of Northeast Michiganders who have died since the pandemic hit Michigan in mid-March.

Meanwhile, state officials said about 71,000 people have received the first of two rounds of coronavirus vaccinations in Michigan, where more than 483,000 virus cases have been confirmed.

Doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been distributed to hospitals, local health departments and tribal health clinics. On Monday, the state announced that residents and staff at skilled nursing homes began receiving the Moderna vaccine.

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

“Everyone across the country wants these vaccines to be administered to people as quickly as possible,” Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun told reporters today. “If we get more vaccine, we will be getting it into people’s arms as quickly as we can. But we are limited right now, like every state, by how much we have allocated.”

Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services said it has received 231,075 doses of both COVID-19 vaccines.

Today, Michigan confirmed another 3,414 virus cases and 193 deaths, including 105 deaths found during a review of records. That brings total cases in the state since the start of the pandemic to 483,922 and deaths to 12,282.

Currently, the state is recording about 279 cases per one million people, a number that has been declining for more than 38 days. That rate still is four times what was at the start of September, Khaldun said.

Khaldun also said the state recently averaged 107 deaths per day compared to 123 deaths per day a week earlier.

“What we are seeing in the data is not a cause to celebrate,” she added. “While Michiganders are doing a great job bringing our cases down, that progress is fragile. It only takes one gathering for it to spread through multiple households and their close contacts.”

On Dec. 14, workers at two Michigan hospitals were the first in the state to receive a vaccine for the virus.

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

“It will take some time for this vaccine to be widely distributed to everyone,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said today.

As more vaccines are administered, following safety protocols such as wearing masks and social distancing is “more important than ever,” she told reporters.

“I’m urging our Michigan legislature to pass some public health protections,” Whitmer said. “Passing legislation that would require masks in public. This is a policy that has bipartisan support and would really improve compliance and assist law enforcement and help stop the spread of COVID-19 so that we can reengage more sectors of our economy and stay safe.”

Public health officials today reported five newly infected Northeast Michiganders, including two Alpena County residents, two Presque Isle County residents, and one Alcona County resident.

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

That means that, as of today, 1,613 Northeast Michiganders were actively infected, meaning they’d been confirmed infected with COVID-19 but have not recovered or died, and could infect others.

As of Monday, 12 COVID-19 patients, three of whom were in intensive care, were hospitalized at MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena, according to state data. The Alpena hospital was 30% full. The state did not update hospital-specific data today.

As of today, 65 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 hit Michigan in mid-March, 1,982 Northeast Michiganders have been infected, according to local public health agencies. Of those, 369 have recovered and 51 have died.

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