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Delta’s effect on Western UP still unknown

It has been very quiet on the COVID front across most of the Upper Peninsula recently, with one exception. For roughly three weeks, Gogebic County saw a rise in cases that caught the eye of the Western UP Health Department. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Van Howe says that was not the delta variant.

We’ve only seen a handful of cases that have come up positive for delta across the UP. I think there’s been one in Gogebic, one in Marquette, and one in Houghton County. That’s been it so far.

Van Howe says testing for genetic sequencing usually takes a week to return from the State Lab, but he doesn’t expect it to show up in a meaningful way.

It is unclear what effect the delta variant will have here, or if the area will avoid a spike similar to what happened in the spring. Van Howe says there is only one way to help innoculate the Copper Country from new strains that may crop up in the future.

As long as we have a long portion of our population that is not vaccinated, we’re going to have variants, because that’s just what viruses do.

Houghton and Baraga Counties lag the rest of the region in vaccination rates.

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