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Delta County declares state of emergency

ESCANABA — A new COVID-19-related state of emergency was declared in Delta County Wednesday afternoon — just months after a similar declaration was rescinded.

According to the press release issued Wednesday, Delta County Board of Commissioners Chair Patrick Johnson declared the emergency to “allow the community to continue governmental business in a safe and effective manner, as well as continue to create opportunities for the community to receive the proper resources it needs to effectively slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The first COVID-19 related local state of emergency was declared on March 17, 2020, when the disease was first beginning to spread aggressively throughout Michigan. The county rescinded the emergency in June of 2021 when case numbers began to drop and local assets were able to adequately respond to the virus.

However, virus numbers have once again begun to climb, largely as a result of the more transmissible Delta variant of the virus. In the past two weeks, there have been 222 confirmed and 41 probable cases of the virus, according to the county, with 128 confirmed and 23 probable cases in the last week.

The case counts continue to exceed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention risk thresholds for what is considered high levels of community spread and positivity rates.

For the week between Sept. 2 and Sept. 8, Delta County saw 290.6 cases per 100,000 people per week and a 13.4 percent test positivity rate. The CDC risk threshold for the “high level” category is more than 100 cases per 100,000 people per week and a test positivity rate greater than 10 percent.

According to the county, elements of the Delta County Emergency Action Guidelines related to response and recovery have been activated. Local resources are being utilized to the fullest extent possible, however, local resources are limited and not sufficient to manage the current situation.

To mitigate the spread of the disease, residents are advised to get vaccinated against the virus, follow CDC masking recommendations, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer, improve ventilation in homes, avoid handshakes and people who are sick, cover the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, stay home when sick and follow all mandated quarantine guidelines.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued its own recommendations to mitigate the spread of the virus within communities. Updated mitigation strategies can be found online at www.michigan.gov/coronavirus, but the strategies include using virtual or telephonic means to conduct business, following restrictions from healthcare facilities and being aware of community availability of supplies.

“The county would like to remind the community that in order to combat these increasing numbers, we need everyone to work together. Respecting all community members’ mitigating strategies will only help everyone involved,” the county wrote.

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