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Delta variant confirmed in Houghton County

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department confirmed Thursday that at least six cases of COVID-19 in Houghton County were attributable to the delta variant in recent weeks. Gogebic and Marquette Counties have seen the strain as well.

Chief Health Officer Kate Beer says that the delta variant changes department guidelines. “When a variant is identified or suspected, additional measures take place, such as a strict 14-day quarantine. A new variant in our community is concerning since it can be related to higher transmission rates. Residents across the jurisdiction are reminded to continue practicing mitigation strategies including mask wearing in public spaces, social distancing, hand washing, and getting vaccinated. These actions help slow the spread of the virus.”

Keweenaw Report spoke with Medical Officer Dr. Robert Van Howe earlier this week when at least one case was already known. He said it is difficult to gauge how much of the rise in COVID-19 activity nationwide is due to new variants and how much is because of seasonality.

It’s hard to say. You can sometimes look to see what happens during the summer in countries like New Zealand and Australia, where their winter is when we have our summer to get an idea ahead of time, but that’s not always that helpful.

For two consecutive years, states like Texas, Florida, and California have seen a surge in cases in the summertime. COVID-19 activity remains low in the Keweenaw. Houghton County has had 10 cases the past two weeks, and just 12 cases since the beginning of July.

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