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3 more deaths reported as officials ramp up vaccinations

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

ALPENA — District Health Department No. 4 officials seek the public’s patience as they ramp up the coronavirus vaccination process with more doses are on the way.

Health officials’ plea today came they same day they reported three more Northeast Michiganders — one Alpena County resident and two Presque Isle County residents — died after being infected with COVID-19. The death toll since the pandemic began is now 69 Northeast Michiganders.

Officials today also reported 29 newly infected Northeast Michiganders, including 19 Alpena County residents, four Presque Isle County residents, two Montmorency County residents, and four Alcona County residents.

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

In a news release today, the Health Department said vaccination efforts will continue to focus on people in what’s known as the 1A category of vaccination priorities, which includes emergency first responders and health care providers.

Beginning Monday, people 65 and older and frontline workers who face exposure to the coronavirus, such as police, prison and jail staff, teachers, and child care providers, will be eligible to receive the vaccine.

The Health Department said that means thousands more people will be eligible to get the vaccine in its four-county service area — which includes Alpena, Presque Isle, and Montmorency counties — and it will take time to get to them all.

Who gets shots and when will be determined on the availability and supply of the drug.

“Please be patient, as we cannot vaccinate everyone who is eligible immediately,” the release said.

The Health Department is also in the planning stages for phase 1B, making the vaccine available to many more residents.

The press release said that phase will require people to schedule appointments at local clinics to receive a dose when it is their turn. The shots will not be offered via walk-in.

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

“We thank you for your patience as we develop our plan through all of the complexities of changing guidance and limited vaccine allocations,” the release said.

People with questions can learn more on the District Health Department or state websites or contacting the local office directly.

As of today, 1,683 Northeast Michiganders were actively infected, meaning they’d been confirmed infected with COVID-19 but have not recovered or died, and could infect others.

State data showed that, as of Wednesday, 1,211 doses of coronavirus vaccine had been administered in Northeast Michigan.

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

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

As of today, 54 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, 2,152 Northeast Michiganders have been infected, according to local public health agencies. Of those, 448 have recovered and 69 have died.

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