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Residents asked to slow local virus spread

ESCANABA — Delta County residents of all ages have been asked to assist area healthcare workers and emergency responders as they fight COVID-19.

“Right now, our healthcare professionals … and first responders are all looking to the public for their help in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the community,” Delta County Administrator Emily DeSalvo said.

Public Health, Delta and Menominee Counties (PHDM) was aware of 88 specimens from Delta County that had been submitted for coronavirus testing by 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 3. Five of these specimens tested positive for COVID-19, 49 tested negative, a specimen had been submitted from one probable patient, and test results for the remaining 33 specimens were pending.

“We would like the public to know that COVID-19 is in our community, and it is being spread within the community,” DeSalvo said.

Delta County Administration, along with the county’s emergency coalition and PHDM, issued a pair of press releases Friday. According to the first of these press releases, steps people in the county can take to avoid spreading COVID-19 include:

– Washing their hands (especially after touching frequently-used items or surfaces) and otherwise practicing good hygiene.

– Not touching their faces, sneezing/coughing into tissues or the inside of their elbow, and disinfecting frequently-used items as often as possible.

– Following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order.

The press release also outlined the difference between social distancing and shelter-in-place. The former term describes physical distancing measures such as working from home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others when out in public; the latter refers to Whitmer’s executive order, which requires people to suspend all activities not necessary to sustain or protect life. Under the executive order, in-person work not necessary to sustain or protect life is prohibited, citizens must stay at their home or place of residence except to perform tasks necessary to their own health and safety or the health and safety of others in their household, citizens are prohibited from all public and private gatherings of any number of people not living in the same household, and all citizens who leave their home must follow social distancing guidelines.

“This collective action, when adhered to by the citizens of Delta County, can have a positive effect on the spread of COVID-19,” the press release stated.

People were encouraged to keep in touch with others through phone calls, texts and social media.

Local teenagers were specifically reminded of the importance of following the governor’s executive order. While some young people may not feel social distancing rules apply to them, as data has shown that COVID-19 is generally less severe for their age group, they can still serve as virus carriers – even if they have no symptoms.

Because of this, and because public and private gatherings are against the law under Gov. Whitmer’s executive order, it is important for people in this age group to take social distancing seriously.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put together a number of tips to help teens and families in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Parents were encouraged to:

– Keep their children and teens home while the executive order is in effect.

– Provide factual, honest information on social distancing guidelines to their children.

– Stay calm when talking about the pandemic.

– Provide some structure for their children and teens by following schedules for meals, education and other activities.

– Consider what their children can control and provide them with choices.

– Plan outdoor family activities, such as taking walks and going for bike rides, while maintaining social distancing guidelines.

– Loosen screen time restrictions so children and teens can have more time to talk to friends and extended family members.

For more support, call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “Talk With Us” to 66746.

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