Officials: 288 infections, 1 death this week

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

ALPENA — As of Thursday, 42% of Alpena County residents 16 or older had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to state data.

Public health experts say at least 70% of residents 16 and older — and perhaps as high as 85% — must get vaccinated before we might reach enough “herd immunity” to consider the coronavirus pandemic over and return to normal life.

The state says 48% of Presque Isle County residents, 41% of Montmorency County residents, and 44% of Alcona County residents have been fully vaccinated.

In the past week, public health officials have reported 288 newly infected or probably infected Northeast Michiganders and the death of one 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 1,140 Northeast Michiganders were actively infected — and potentially contagious — on Friday.

A week ago, 931 residents were actively infected.

Other key Northeast Michigan COVID-19 statistics:

∫ As of Monday, 23 COVID-19 patients were admitted at MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena, four of them in intensive care. The hospital was 56% 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 4,128 Northeast Michiganders infected or probably infected, and 114 related deaths.

∫ On Wednesday, 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.

Since public health officials reported the first Northeast Michigan infection on April 6, 2020, The News has kept tabs on the virus’ spread in the region.

Hover over the interactive graphics below to see the data. If you’re viewing on a mobile device, turn your device horizontally for the best viewing experience.


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. Public health experts say between 70% and 85% of the population 16 and older must be vaccinated to declare the coronavirus pandemic “over” and for us to return to normal life. That is represented in the target line on the chart above.


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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