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Students Head Back to Class as Local COVID Rates Drop Slightly

K-12 school students in Houghton County may return to the classroom on Monday.

The decision was finalized by the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department yesterday afternoon.

Health Officer Kate Beer said that COVID-19 infection rates have begun to moderate – falling from a high of 78 per hundred thousand residents in late September to 38 per hundred thousand by early this week. That’s still two-and-a-half times higher than the national average.

Beer said the county’s positive test ratio remains high, but has begun to stabilize.

Meanwhile, testing capacity has increased. Healthcare providers say they have been able to meet the elevated demand for testing and treatment, without compromising other necessary medical services.

The number of confirmed and probable cases in the five-county area since the pandemic began has now passed 1,000.

The Health Department’s latest report was released last evening.

It includes 78 more confirmed positives and 28 more probable positives, along with 34 confirmed recoveries. One more death has been recorded, bringing the total in the region to eight since the pandemic began.

66 of the confirmed positives and 26 of the probables came from Houghton County. Baraga County logged seven more confirmed positives, Gogebic County had five, and Ontonagon County had two. See the latest data here.

The six hardest-hit counties in Michigan are still in the Upper Peninsula. Delta County remains at the top of the list, followed by Iron, Dickinson, Houghton, Menominee, and Keweenaw Counties.

Delta County’s seven-day average of confirmed cases is 62 per 100,000 residents. By contrast, Marquette County’s seven-day average is eight cases.

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