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Health officials: COVID-19 testing was a success

ESCANABA — A recent COVID-19 testing event at the U.P. State Fairgrounds was largely successful, but some participants will have to be tested once again. Public Health, Delta and Menominee Counties (PHDM) Health Officer Michael Snyder spoke about the event and other coronavirus-related topics during a Delta County Board of Commissioners meeting he attended virtually Tuesday.

PHDM partnered with Delta County Emergency Management Coordinator Paul Geyer, Michigan State Police and the Michigan National Guard on the event, which took place on Friday, July 24. Snyder said 500 people were tested at the event.

“Unfortunately, 31 of those tests will not be able to be tested by the lab because the vials leaked during transport,” he said.

PHDM is planning to get in touch with the people who were unable to get their test results because of this.

“What we’re going to do with those 31 individuals is to contact them, get them re-tested using state lab supplies — it’s at no cost to the patient themselves,” Snyder said.

Aside from the tests affected by this issue, results have since come back from the July 24 event.

“We had five positives out of the 500 people that we tested, so one percent,” Snyder said.

Meanwhile, 462 tests came back negative. One test was inconclusive and is being counted as a probable case.

The July 24 testing event has not been the only coronavirus-related undertaking PHDM has been involved with as of late.

“The health department is staying extremely busy with our COVID activities,” Snyder said.

The department has been doing case investigations for people who have tested positive for COVID-19, handling contact tracing, responding to media requests, educating businesses about coronavirus and helping local courts and schools as they deal with the pandemic.

“We have a weekly call set up with all of the superintendents throughout Delta and Menominee — and also Schoolcraft County, because that’s the ISD — to assist them in preparing a back-to-school plan,” Snyder said of the latter topic.

Snyder said it has been a “stressful time” for local school districts due to how fluid things have been.

“Unfortunately, the information changes very quickly — it seems like every week, we’re changing something that we told them last week,” he said.

As of Tuesday, state officials said the Upper Peninsula had 578 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 18 deaths linked to the disease. Delta County had a total of 63 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 20 probable cases and three deaths; Menominee County had 102 confirmed cases and six probable cases; and Schoolcraft County had 12 confirmed cases.

Elsewhere in the peninsula, Alger County had seven confirmed cases and one probable case; Baraga County had five confirmed cases; Chippewa County had 25 confirmed cases and 10 probable cases; Dickinson County had 46 confirmed cases, one probable case and two deaths; Gogebic County had 98 confirmed cases, eight probable cases and one death; Houghton County had 41 confirmed cases and seven probable cases; Iron County had 17 confirmed cases and one death; Keweenaw County had two confirmed cases and one probable case; Luce County had three confirmed cases; Mackinac County had 19 confirmed cases and four probable cases; Marquette County had 132 confirmed cases, 12 probable cases and 11 deaths; and Ontonagon County had six confirmed cases and one probable case.

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