Chippewa County has experienced a spike in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks.
In a news release issued today, the Chippewa County Health Department states that as of noon today there were 60 active cases, including two hospitalizations, reported in the county which includes Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
"This is an increase from 30 active cases, 27 deaths and zero individuals hospitalized on March 2," the release states.
Although the UK variant – SARS-CoV- 2 B.1.1.7 – has been reported in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, it has not yet been detected in Chippewa County, the Health Department says.
Full text of the Chippewa County Health Department news release follows:
As the United States and Michigan continue to see an increase in positive COVID-19 cases, Chippewa County is also experiencing an increase after seeing a decline since January. The current case count through 12 p.m., March 22, 2021 stands at 60 active cases, 28 deaths and two individuals hospitalized. This is an increase from 30 active cases, 27 deaths and zero individuals hospitalized on March 2, 2021. Since Chippewa County’s first case, one year ago today, there have been 1,853 cases.
The public is reminded that, while not yet detected in Chippewa County, the SARS-CoV- 2 B.1.1.7 variant thought to have emerged in the United Kingdom has been be found in the Upper Peninsula. This variant is concerning because it is associated with increased transmissibility. The B.1.1.7 variant is approximately fifty percent more transmissible, leading to faster spread of the virus and potentially increasing numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Therefore, additional levels of public health intervention are required once the variant has been identified.
Actions to protect yourself and others from the virus include:
• Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as it is available to you
• Wearing a mask around others
• Staying three feet or more from others
• Washing hands often
• Ventilating indoor spaces
With the increase in cases, vaccination is more important than ever. People should get vaccinated as soon as it is available to them. At this time, the COVID-19 vaccines appear to be effective against the variant.
Vaccine appointments are available at Chippewa County Health Department for anyone 18 years and older by registering online or, for those individuals with limited internet access, by calling 906-635-3640, option 1.
COVID-19 testing (not antibody test) is available to individuals of any age, regardless of symptoms. Individuals under the age of 18 will need parent/guardian consent. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, shortness of breath, or had recent travel history should seek testing as well as those working with the public, living in congregate living facilities or have potentially been exposed.