CADILLAC — Wexford County hasn't had a new COVID-19 case in more than a week. In Missaukee County, it's been three weeks, while in Lake and Osceola counties, each had a new case over the weekend.
But two counties in the District Health Department No. 10 jurisdiction have seen what the health department is calling a "spike."
DHD No. 10 serves ten counties; three—Wexford, Missaukee and Lake—are in the Cadillac News coverage area. Newaygo and Oceana counties border Lake County (Newaygo is directly south and Oceana is southwest).
In Newaygo County, where there have been 66 cases since the pandemic arrived in Michigan, 23 have been confirmed since Monday, according to Wednesday's data from DHD No. 10. In Oceana County, 17 cases have been reported Monday-Wednesday out of 67 total.
The health department says there's a few reasons for that; there's been an uptick in testing; some folks work in counties outside the health jurisdiction and have brought the virus home to their families.
But family gatherings are also partially to blame.
"Many of these cases are due to families gathering, such as during Mother’s Day, where individuals unknowingly spread the virus to multiple family members," the health department said Wednesday in a news release.
The health department is urging people to use caution this upcoming holiday weekend.
“Keeping our residents and visitors healthy and safe is imperative,‘ said Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for DHD#10. “While we realize that re-opening this area is exciting, we also want to still maintain our health and safety practices to help avoid an increase in cases and a surge in our healthcare systems.‘
Michigan's statewide case number reached 53,009 and 5,060 deaths on Wednesday, an uptick of 659 and 43 respectively.
In most of Northern Michigan, small social gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed after Gov. Whitmer revised her executive order this week. For people planning to gather together this holiday weekend, DHD No. 10 had the following advice:
—Do your research to make sure that the county(ies) in which you live or plan to visit are in Region 6 or 8. If not, please stay home as outlined in the current executive orders.
—Follow the guidelines set forth in the current executive orders 2020-91 (Safeguards to protect Michigan’s workers from COVID-19) and 2020-92 (Temporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life). Gatherings of more than 10 are NOT permitted, even in Regions 6 and 8 in northern Michigan.
—If you are sick, please stay home to avoid getting others sick.
—Practice good hand washing hygiene – wash hands regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% or more) if soap and water are not available.
—Clean all “high touch‘ surfaces every day with household cleaning spray or sanitizing wipes.
—Cover coughs, sneezes and avoid touching your face.
—Try to think of alternatives to serving meals “buffet‘ style for your holiday cookouts.
—Wear face coverings when you are inside or can’t maintain at least 6 feet physical distance.
—If you are outdoors, keep those from the same household seated together and distance yourself from others.