In collaboration with the Western U.P. Health Department and Emergency Operation Centers in Baraga County, Gogebic County, Houghton County, Keweenaw County and Ontonagon County, Copper Country Strong Briefs will be shared regularly through the duration of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Currently, they are released on Mondays and Thursdays.
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UPDATES FROM WESTERN U.P. HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Last update was Thursday, October 1 at 9 p.m.
- TOTAL: 91 more positives, 48 more probable positives, 78 more recoveries
- BARAGA COUNTY: Five more positives, four more probable positives, one more recovery
- GOGEBIC COUNTY: Eight more positives, two more probable positives, two more recoveries
- HOUGHTON COUNTY: 72 more positives, 41 more probable positives, 74 more recoveries
- KEWEENAW COUNTY: three more positives, one more probable positive
- ONTONAGON COUNTY: Four more positives, one more recovery
657 TESTED FREE IN HOUGHTON
The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) partnered with the Michigan National Guard (MING) to provide a free community wide COVID-19 test site on Saturday. The drive-thru event was at the Gates Tennis Center parking lot. A total of 657 were tested. The results from that testing event are not in yet.
Special thanks to Aspirus, Gogebic Community College, Finlandia University, Michigan Technological University, Portage Health Foundation, and Upper Great Lakes Family Health Centers, and UP Health system for helping make this possible. See photos from the event on the Copper Country Strong Facebook page.
WUPHD Responds to Michigan Supreme Court Ruling
The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) issued to following statement today in response to the recent Michigan Supreme Court Ruling regarding the Governor’s executive orders.
On Friday, October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court held that “the executive orders issued by the Governor in response to the COVID-19 pandemic lack any basis under Michigan Law.” The Court indicated that its decision “leaves open many avenues for the Governor and Legislature to work together” to address the challenges posed by the pandemic. One avenue that the Governor may choose is the issuance of orders through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, under the existing Michigan Public Health Code.
The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) has received a number of questions as to how the Court decision will affect any local organization or community plans and protocols. At this time, the WUPHD stresses the importance of consistency and keeping core COVID-19 mitigation strategies in place while guidance that is more specific is developed. At a minimum, these strategies include proper mask use, social distancing, frequent handwashing, and staying home if you are sick. The WUPHD will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.
“COVID-19 is currently hitting communities hard here in the Western Upper Peninsula,” said Kate Beer, Health Officer at WUPHD. “These outbreaks are affecting our elderly, our most vulnerable, and our educational and healthcare systems. WUPHD remains confident that our community will continue to practice basic public health protocols and help keep each other safe.”
UPDATE FROM Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon today issued an Emergency Order under MCL 333.2253 restricting gathering sizes, requiring face coverings in public spaces and places limitations on bars and other venues.
The order follows the Michigan Supreme Court decision on Friday, Oct 2, that invalidated COVID-19 related executive orders. Today’s order relies on authorities that were first enacted after the Spanish Flu of 1918, and that were not at issue in the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision.
"When it comes to fighting COVID-19, we are all in this together. We need Michiganders everywhere to do their part by wearing masks and practicing safe physical distancing so we can keep our schools and small businesses open and protect the brave men and women serving on the front lines of this crisis,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “The epidemic order that Director Gordon issued today is an important step to protect Michiganders across the state from the spread of COVID-19. Let’s all mask up and stay safe.”
Under MCL 333.2253, if the MDHHS director determines that control of an epidemic is necessary to protect the public health, the director by emergency order may prohibit the gathering of people for any purpose and may establish procedures to be followed during the epidemic to insure continuation of essential public health services and enforcement of health laws. Gordon shares more about thereasoning behind the order in a recent column.
Violations of this order are punishable by a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months or a fine of not more than $200, or both. Violations of this order are also punishable by a civil fine of fine of up to $1,000.
“Michigan was hit hard by COVID-19 early in the pandemic,” said Gordon. “Strict preventive measures and the cooperation of Michiganders drove those numbers down dramatically, greatly reducing the loss of life. As we head into flu season, this order is necessary to protect vulnerable individuals, ensure the health care system can provide care for all health issues, keep schools open, and maintain economic recovery.”
Today’s orders largely reinstate, under the department’s authority, three major aspects of prior emergency orders:
- Requirements to wear masks at indoor and outdoor gatherings: The order requires individuals to wear masks when in gatherings, defined as any occurrence where persons from multiple households are present in a shared space in a group of two or more, and requires businesses and government offices to enforce those requirements for gatherings on their premises. The order also requires the wearing of masks at schools, except for in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.
- Limitations on the size of gatherings: The order reinstates limitations on gathering sizes that mirror the requirements that Governor Whitmer had previously put in place. These include indoor gatherings of more than 10 and up to 500 people occurring at a non-residential venue are permitted within the following limits:
- In venues with fixed seating, limit attendance to 20% of normal capacity. However, gatherings up to 25% of normal capacity are permitted in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.
- In venues without fixed seating, limit attendance to 20 persons per 1,000 square feet in each occupied room. However, gatherings of up to 25 persons per 1,000 square feet are permitted in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.
- Non-residential outdoor gatherings of between 100 and 1,000 persons at venues with fixed seating are permitted at up to 30% of normal capacity and at 30 persons per 1,000 square feet at venues without fixed seating.
- Limitations on certain establishments: Although the order does not close bars, it requires them to close indoor common areas where people can congregate, dance or otherwise mingle. Indoor gatherings are prohibited anywhere alcoholic beverages are sold except for table services where parties are separated from one another by at least six feet.
In addition, athletes training or practicing for or competing in an organized sport must wear a facial covering, except when swimming, or consistently maintain six feet of social distance.
Pursuant to MCL 333.2235(1), local health departments are authorized to carry out and enforce the terms of this order. Law enforcement officers, as defined in the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement
Standards Act, 1965 Public Act 203, MCL 28.602(f), are deemed to be “department representatives” for purposes of enforcing this order, and are specifically authorized to investigate potential violations of this order. They may coordinate as necessary with the appropriate regulatory entity and enforce this order within their jurisdiction.
This order is effective immediately and remains in effect through Friday, Oct. 30. Individuals with suggestions and concerns are invited to submit comments via email to COVID19@michigan.gov.
If you have an update you would like included in this daily brief, please contact the appropriate county or the health department. Contact information can be found at coppercountrystrong.com/contact.
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