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1 more death, but few new infections

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

ALPENA — One more Alpena County resident confirmed positive with COVID-19 has died and three more have been confirmed infected as testing numbers remain low, health officials reported on Wednesday.

Only 16 people took advantage of a large-scale testing event in Alpena on Feb. 13, according to Devin Spivey, epidemiologist with District Health Departments Nos. 2 and 4.

Lack of response to that and several other testing events held recently may point to lack of interest, but may also reflect a need to step up publicity about testing events, Spivey told the District No. 4 Health Board on Tuesday.

Health officials hope to spread the word that testing is still needed, including to detect whether new strains of the virus have made their way to Northeast Michigan, Spivey said.

An average of 66 COVID-19 tests per day have been administered to Alpena County residents since the beginning of February, according to state data. January’s daily average was 91 tests, down from 107 tests per day in November and December.

About 30 Presque Isle County residents have been tested per day in February, a rate similar to that in January after that county dropped from a November average of 70 tests per day.

About 23 Montmorency County residents and 18 Alcona County residents have been tested per day in February, both of those numbers down from January’s averages of 30 and 23 tests per day, respectively.

Public health officials on Wednesday reported three newly infected Northeast Michiganders, including one Alpena County resident and two Presque Isle County residents. Data for Alcona County residents has not been updated on the District Health Department No. 2 website since Friday.

State data showed that, as of Monday, 14,437 doses of coronavirus vaccine had been administered in Northeast Michigan.

As of Thursday, three people were hospitalized at MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena with coronavirus infection, none of whom were in intensive care, according to state data. The hospital was 48% full.

As of Wednesday, 15 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.

As of Jan. 19, infection data for Alpena, Montmorency, and Presque Isle counties includes both confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 infection. Alcona County data includes only confirmed cases.

Based on that data, 2,812 Northeast Michiganders have been confirmed or suspected infected since the pandemic hit Michigan in mid-March. Of those, 102 have died.

Local public health officials have stopped tracking recoveries.

News reporter Crystal Nelson contributed to this report.

COVID-19 vaccine: Frequently asked questions

Who’s currently eligible to receive the vaccine?

Those 65 and older, health care workers, police, firefighters, teachers and child care workers.

How do I get an appointment?

Pre-register online (preferred) at dhd4.org, dhd2.org, or clinic.meijer.com. Residents of Alpena, Presque Isle, or Montmorency counties can call 989-356-4507 and choose option 1.

What if I don’t have the internet?

The Alpena Senior Citizens Center can help. Call 989-356-3585.

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