Active infections continue to drop

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

ALPENA — There were only three new confirmed COVID-19 infections in Northeast Michigan this past week, and numbers are as low as they have been in many months.

However, the rate of vaccination has stalled, as the percentage of the local population to be fully vaccinated has been in the 50% range since May 20.

Presque Isle County is nearing the 60% vaccination rate.

As of Friday, 54.9% of Alpena County residents 16 or older had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to state data.

The state says 59.8% of Presque Isle County residents, 53.1% of Montmorency County residents, and 54.9% of Alcona County residents have been fully vaccinated.

In the past week, public health officials have reported four newly infected or probably Northeast Michiganders and no new deaths to those 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 106 Northeast Michiganders were actively infected — and potentially contagious — on Thursday.

A week ago, 161 residents were actively infected.

Other key Northeast Michigan COVID-19 statistics:

∫ As of Monday, one COVID-19 patient was admitted at MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena, none of which were in intensive care. The hospital was 40% 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 4,692 Northeast Michiganders infected or probably infected, and 136 related deaths.


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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