Cases continue to plummet for every county in the Copper Country and the positivity rate is now in decline as well. State data suggests hospitalizations are also receding rapidly. For the seven-day period ending Wednesday Houghton County registered 106 cases, with Baraga adding 35 and Keweenaw accounting for eight. The positivity rate hovered around 33 percent for the second half of January. It is down to the low-20’s now.
Houghton County suffered two deaths over the period and Baraga had one. Deaths are a lagging indicator as it takes time for a case to progress from a registered positive to requiring a trip to the hospital, and finally becoming a lethal illness. Given the drop in cases, the number of deaths should fall as February unfolds.
Many states that had adopted such measures are now dropping mask and vaccine requirements. There is growing hope that the omicron wave marks the end of the pandemic.
The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department began offering drive-up COVID-19 testing on Wednesday at its Depot Street location in Hancock. Individuals are able to submit their own samples without ever leaving their vehicles, freeing up the inside for area residents with other needs. The department says that testing done in Hancock is processed within 24 to 48 hours of being received. Testing is available weekday mornings from 8:30 to 11:30.