64 additional coronavirus cases, two new deaths in Upper Thumb

UPPER THUMB — There were an additional 64 confirmed coronavirus cases and two additional COVID deaths in the Upper Thumb reported by the state Nov. 24.

According to the state, Huron County increased its coronavirus cases by 23, bringing the county total to 547 confirmed cases and 13 deaths since the pandemic began. One month ago Huron County had less than 225 confirmed cases.

Tuscola County saw an additional 27 confirmed cases and two deaths on the state report Nov. 24, bringing the county total to 1,398 confirmed cases and 50 deaths. The county total is well over double where it was one month ago.

Sanilac County saw the smallest increase in the Upper Thumb with 14 additional confirmed cases, bringing the county total to 608 confirmed cases and 11 deaths.

On Monday, the Tribune reported that EMS systems are being overrun with calls across county lines, which could cause longer response times for any life-threatening event in the region.

Tuscola and Huron County Health Departments Public Health Officer Ann Hepfer has been very open with the public that this surge in cases is worse than it was last spring, because it is impacting long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

“Actually, this is worse than it was in the spring,” she said in the release. “We did not see adult foster care homes and homes for the aged in our counties being impacted in the spring. Having outbreaks in these vulnerable populations is heartbreaking. The deaths will rise again in these settings. Many families will be celebrating the holidays without their parents, grandparents or loved ones because they will die from an illness that could have been prevented.”

According to state data, on Nov. 22 there were a total of 98 tests processed for Huron County, of which 15 were positive cases, for a positivity rate of 15.3%. In the same timeframe there were 28 positive cases out of 177 tests processed for Tuscola County, for a positivity rate of nearly 16%. Sanilac County had 41 positive cases out of 367 processed tests, for a rate of 11.2%.

Statewide there were an additional 6,290 cases confirmed and 145 deaths reported Nov. 24. According to the state, of the 145 deaths, 51 were found during a review of the state’s vital records which occurs several times a week. Since the start of the pandemic there have been 320,506 confirmed cases and 8,688 deaths in the state.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were an additional 157,531 cases and 1,058 deaths reported across the nation Nov. 24. Since the start of the pandemic there have been 12.3 million confirmed cases and 257,016 deaths in the United States.

Michigan is currently sixth in the nation for the number of new coronavirus cases recorded in the last seven days, with 52,010. Leading the nation is California with 81,135 new cases in the last seven days.

“If you are going to host Thanksgiving, please consider the following for a safer gathering,” Hepfer said. “Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving. If having guests to your home, be sure that people follow the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer.”

These steps include:

• Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.

• Limit the number of guests.

• Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.

• If celebrating indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible. You can use a window fan in one of the open windows to blow air out of the window. This will pull fresh air in through the other open windows.

• Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.

• Have guests bring their own food and drink.

• If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

Hepfer also said it is important for the community to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.

“Just because we have a vaccine that did not take years to develop does not mean it is not safe,” she said. “Please turn to reputable sources for vaccine information.”

For more information on the coronavirus visit michigan.gov/coronavirus.

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