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Keeping safe during reopening, summer activity

The U.P. spent late winter and spring locked up due to the coronavirus pandemic. While winter and spring are over, COVID-19 has not gone away. Here are a few things the Copper Country should keep in mind.

Science is a constantly changing and evolving study. New tests, new experiments, new data is currently changing the field of science’s view and understanding of COVID-19, a novel virus, meaning it is new and there is more scientists do not know about it than they do know.

Health departments and the CDC are constantly researching and finding new information, are frequently updating their guidelines and regulations as they learn.

These guidelines and recommendations should still be heeded and taken seriously.

According to the CDC website’s current information, “the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.” Limit your interactions and the length of interactions as much as possible.

“If you decided to engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventative actions,” the CDC continued. These preventions include frequent hand washing and wearing a mask, as well as staying six feet apart.

Social distance is six feet, because that is the average distance a particulate travels from one’s mouth or nose during talking, breathing, or sneezing.

The CDC recommends “keep these items on hand when venturing out: a cloth face covering, tissues, and a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, if possible.”

Experts recognize there is “no way to ensure zero risk of infection, it is important to understand potential risks and how to adopt different types of prevention measures to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Wearing a mask protects others from your particulates. Wear masks for fellow community members, not just for yourself. Doing things for the good of the community should not be political.

If you have any COVID-19 resembling symptoms, or are close to someone who does, it is imperative that you do not go out.

The CDC suggests thinking about how many people do you interact with at one time. Is it an indoor, densely populated area where few people are wearing masks? If so, avoid it if you can.

If it is not possible to stay six feet from other people, avoid if you can.

Outside is better than inside. It is easier to keep distance from others outside, and the fresher, the more open the air, the better. Spending long amounts of time with large groups of people indoors increase your chance and theirs of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

When you go shopping, wear a mask. Get in, get what you need, and get out. If you can watch your preferred church service online, that is much safer for everyone involved. If it is a large, tight gathering without distancing or masks, consider online viewing.

As of July 4, every county in Michigan has at least one case of COVID-19.

Ontonagon County reported their first case late July 4, meaning every county in the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department’s jurisdiction has at least one case. Houghton County has 19 with more tests pending.

“Please remember that this is a time for us to support each other and work together to reduce any possible spread of illness in our community,” Kate Beer, Health Officer at WUPHD said.

The virus is in our communities, affecting our populations, families and friends. The numbers are small right now, but keeping them small by listening to experts and following guidelines is key.

If everyone does their part, things stay open, people stay safe.

The WUPHD, our own local doctors, recommend “cleaning your hands often, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, stay home when you are sick, learn what to do if you are sick, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, wear a mask, and maintain a six foot distance between yourself and people who are not members of your household.”

“Residents should behave as though the virus may be present whenever they visit public places, including businesses and buildings that are open in full or reduced capacity,” the WUPHD reported.

The WUPHD continued, “Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus.” Even if you do not feel sick, wear a mask incase you may be asymptomatic, meaning you don’t show symptoms but could still be carrying the virus.

Stay safe, keep your community safe. Listen to your doctors, not people trying to politically weaponize the virus.

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