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Western UP sees "dramatic" rise in COVID-19 cases

Western UP sees "dramatic" rise in COVID-19 cases

Created: July 24, 2020 04:53 PM

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department says there has been a "dramatic" increase in positive cases of COVID-19 in the past few weeks.

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Health officials say the region was previously considered low-risk for infection but is now in the medium-risk category, and moving towards high-risk. As of Thursday, there had been 42 positive cases in Gogebic County, a number that doubled in one week and is more than any other western UP county.

The department says many factors have contributed to the increase, including an influx of visitors and increased mobility by local residents. Northern Wisconsin health officials have also said some Michigan cases are tied to a recent hockey event in Ashland.

"Upper Peninsula residents have been lulled into a false sense of security because our region was 'low risk' until just recently. It seems that many people are being less cautious by ignoring 6 foot distancing and not wearing a mask in public," the department said in a news release Friday.

The department said it is just as important now as it was in April and May, if not more important, to limit travel, reduce the number of people you have contact with, maintain physical distancing, and wear a mask in public. Mask use is required across Michigan.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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