COVID-19 numbers took a big jump in our area last week.
The latest report from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services shows 101 confirmed diagnoses in Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga and Ontonagon Counties. That’s 230 percent higher than the 44 cases reported in the previous week.
Seventy-three of the new cases came from Houghton County, which had noted just 29 in the previous week.
Infection rates in the western Upper Peninsula continue to be among the highest in the state.
Numbers are increasing statewide, as the latest BA.5 variant of the virus spreads. Health officials report that BA.5 is highly transmissible. It can infect those who have been vaccinated, although vaccination seems to mitigate the severity of the infection. Officials encourage those who are eligible for booster shots to get them.
Officials also note that actual infection rates are probably much higher. Results from home tests are often not reported, and cases with few or no symptoms may not be diagnosed at all. Even infected individuals with no symptoms can spread the virus to others.