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Health Department to stop tracking recoveries

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 said they will no longer report the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 on the Health Department’s website after Presque Isle County commissioners questioned the accuracy of the data.

During the department’s board meeting today, Presque Isle County Commissioner Carl Altman inquired about the recovery numbers and asked who determines whether a person is considered recovered.

Health Officer Denise Bryan said state health officials pivoted away from tracking recovery data when they started reporting on vaccine doses administered.

Deputy Health Officer Judy Greer said Health Department officials used to enter a recovery date into the Michigan Disease Surveillance System, from which Health Department officials pull their reports.

“The state has removed that field and we cannot physically put it in anymore,” Greer said. “That’s why you do not see our recovery numbers changing.”

Greer said she would have that data removed from the website.

A person confirmed infected is considered recovered if they are alive 30 days after the onset of symptoms, according to Bob Wheaton, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Public health officials today reported 365 newly infected Northeast Michiganders, including 242 Alpena County residents, 70 Presque Isle County residents, and 53 Montmorency County residents.

Today was the first time totals were updated since Friday, for Alpena, Presque Isle, and Montmorency counties.

State data showed that, as of Monday, 4,483 doses of coronavirus vaccine had been administered in Northeast Michigan.

As of Monday, 10 people were hospitalized at MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena for coronavirus infection, none in intensive care, according to state data. The hospital was 39% full.

As of today, 58 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, 2,622 Northeast Michiganders have been infected, according to local public health agencies. Of those, 86 have died.

As of Monday, 17 new residents and 14 more employees had been infected at Northeast Michigan nursing homes since last week, state data showed, bring the total infected since the pandemic’s start to 220 residents and 168 employees. The state also reported seven more nursing home residents had died, bringing to 35 the number of nursing home residents who’ve died since the pandemic began.

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