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Houghton County COVID cases hold steady

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department put out a report covering the seven days ending September 22nd, and Houghton County saw a steady number of COVID-19 cases. Baraga and Keweenaw Counties are up over the period.

At 60 cases, Houghton County’s seven-day average fell to 8.5, which is 50 percent lower than the same time last year. In the early fall of 2021, the Copper Country was in the throes of its first sustained spike in cases. The longer it goes into September without a repeat of that scenario, the more likely the hypothesis of Marquette County Health Director Dr. Robert Lorinser looks correct.

November, December, I think everybody got hit hard in the UP. We got hit harder than most places downstate, so in the second wave, if I could say, the virus did not have enough susceptible hosts.

Those comments were made in June discussing the spring wave that mostly missed the Copper Country, but it looks to still be holding true today, at least locally. Houghton’s September COVID numbers stand in stark contrast to the Upper Peninsula’s other large counties. Marquette, Delta, and Dickinson are all seeing infection rates at several times the level of last year for the corresponding week.

The national average for fatalities is over 1 in 500 now. That would equate to 75 deaths for Houghton County, given the recent census results. The actual count is only 47. Even with a below average vaccination rate, the case is growing that Houghton County is one of Michigan’s big success stories in the pandemic.

Baraga County had 32 new cases and Keweenaw had 10, which is the most in the region when adjusting for population size.

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