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Houghton County Schools temporarily move to online classes

HOUGHTON COUNTY – The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) is announcing that all Houghton County Schools will be going to on-line only classes beginning Monday, Sept. 28. On-line classes will continue for a two-week period with in-person sessions resuming Monday, Oct. 12. The move is necessary to help reduce the rate of COVID-19 spread within the community.

WUPHD points to a sustained increase in positive cases since the end of August as the major reason for asking the schools to make the temporary suspension of in-person classes.

“The capacity of our local healthcare and public health system has been stretched thin by the steady increase of COVID-19 cases in Houghton County”, said Kate Beer, Health Officer at WUPHD. “The positive test rate for Houghton County has risen from 0.6% at the end of August, to 5.1% as of

September 21. This pause allows us to work with the schools and other community partners to review and strengthen mitigation efforts as we move forward with the school year. The goal is to slow the spread so that local resources are not overwhelmed.”

Houghton County has posted 125 new cases and 29 probable cases in the last week. The WUPHD is also seeing an increase in cases for Baraga County. The temporary suspension does not apply to school districts in Baraga, Gogebic, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties.

Additional COVID-19 information can be found on our website at www.wuphd.org, or by calling 906-482-7382. County level statistics are listed on the state website at https://www.mistartmap.info/.

COVID-19 testing numbers for the five-county jurisdiction, as of September 24:

Baraga: 17 positives, nine possible, eight recovered, no deaths, 13 active positive and probable.

Gogebic: 144 positives, 12 possible, 146 recovered, one death, four active positives and probable.

Houghton: 337 positives, 12 probable, one death, 159 active positives and probable.

Keweenaw: Seven positives, one probable, two recovered, no deaths, one active positive and probable.

Ontonagon: 41 positives, one probable, 35 recovered, no deaths, two active positives and probable.

Total: 546 positives, 105 probable, 254 recovered, two deaths, 179 active positives and probable.

Probable cases are those that meet clinical and epidemiology criteria with no confirmatory laboratory test performed for COVID-19. Recovered are lab confirmed cases that are alive 30 days post-onset. Deaths are also included in the number of positive tests (they are not additional positives).

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