Alpena Public Schools to resume in-person learning Monday

News File Photo Two Alpena High School students leave the school in this Oct. 2020 News file photo.

ALPENA — Alpena Public Schools administrators will be strictly enforcing coronavirus safety procedures when in-person learning resumes on Monday.

District administrators said in a press release on Friday those safety procedures will include the proper wearing of masks, social distancing, and proper hand hygiene. It also includes students remaining at home when symptomatic, having a positive COVID-19 test result, or have recently been in close contact with a positive individual.

The district will also be offering rapid testing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of Thunder Bay Junior High School. The junior high is located at 3500 S. 3rd Ave.

Pre-registration for the rapid testing is recommended and can be completed online at honumg.info/ThunderBay.

“We strongly encourage our staff, students, and family members to take advantage of this service,” Lee Fitzpatrick, early college specialist and Title I parent engagement coordinator, said. “Having a test result will help you make the right decision on Monday morning.”

Fitzpatrick said the in-person learning success for the remaining five weeks relies on the willingness to do what is in the best interest of the health and safety of others.

Meanwhile the number of Northeast Michiganders who are fully vaccinated continued to climb.

As of Thursday, 45% of Alpena County residents 16 or older had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to state data.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said Michigan can begin to fully reopen once 70% of its residents 16 and older have been vaccinated.

The state says 50% of Presque Isle County residents, 44% of Montmorency County residents, and 45% of Alcona County residents have been fully vaccinated.

In the past week, public health officials have reported 195 newly infected or probably Northeast Michiganders and the deaths of five who had been infected.

Since February, Northeast Michigan health officials had reported confirmed and suspected infections as one number. A person is suspected infected if they’d been exposed to a confirmed infected person but hadn’t been tested, themselves — such as family members of infected people.

Northeast Michigan public health agencies stopped reporting the number of people recovered from COVID-19, but, based on federal definitions that consider a person living 30 days after infection to have recovered from the disease, The News estimates 1,270 Northeast Michiganders were actively infected — and potentially contagious — on Friday.

A week ago, 288 residents were actively infected.

Other key Northeast Michigan COVID-19 statistics:

* As of Thursday, 18 COVID-19 patients were admitted at MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena, two of them in intensive care. The hospital was 49% full. State officials watch hospital occupancy rates closely to decide whether to impose new restrictions meant to slow the spread of infection.

* Since the pandemic’s start in mid-March 2020, public health officials have reported 4,287 Northeast Michiganders infected or probably infected, and 119 related deaths.

* As of April 20, the state reported no newly infected residents of Northeast Michigan nursing homes, and nine newly infected nursing home employees. That’s a key statistic, because COVID-19 tends to cause the most serious complications in infected senior citizens, and nursing home infections accounted for most infections early on in the outbreak.


NOTE: The chart shows the percent of Northeast Michiganders 16 and older fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, meaning they’d received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The “target” line above reflects that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said the state can begin to fully reopen once Michigan has vaccinated 70% of its residents 16 and older.


NOTE: Northeast Michigan public health agencies have reported confirmed and suspected infections as one number since Feb. 18. A suspected infection represents a person who’d been in close contact with an infected person but hadn’t been tested themselves, such as a person who lives with a person confirmed infected.

Those agencies also stopped tracking recoveries after vaccine rollouts began in earnest in early 2021. The number of recoveries represents a News estimate based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definition of “recovered” as an infected person still living 30 days after infection.


NOTE: “Active cases” is a News estimate of the number of currently infected — and potentially contagious — Northeast Michiganders representing cumulative cases minus recoveries and deaths.


NOTE: One of the primary goals of state-mandated coronavirus restrictions has been to prevent hospitals from being overrun with COVID-19-infected patients, so hospital occupancy rates are a key metric state officials use when deciding whether new restrictions are necessary.


Click through the interactive timeline below for a look at how the coronavirus spread throughout Northeast Michigan in its first year.


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