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Health department: Most of new Houghton County COVID-19 cases related to Michigan Tech surveillance

Over the past two days, Houghton County has seen 23 new cases of COVID-19, increasing the county’s total cases from 66 to 89.
Michigan DNR map with WLUC edits in Canva.
Michigan DNR map with WLUC edits in Canva.(WLUC)
Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 11:13 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 4, 2020 at 11:55 AM EDT
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - UPDATE: Houghton County coronavirus cases are on the rise.

Over the past two days, Houghton County has seen 23 new cases of COVID-19, increasing the county’s total cases from 66 to 89.

Kate Beer, the health officer for the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD), says of those additional cases, 19 are tied to the ongoing surveillance of students at Michigan Tech University and the other four were community members.

“Our goal from the beginning has been and remains to keep our students and staff safe during this pandemic. A key component of that is our aggressive testing program,” Michigan Tech said in a statement to TV6. " The success of the plan relies on our surveillance testing to identify these asymptomatic cases which would otherwise go undetected.”

To clarify possible case discrepancies, as well, Michigan Tech said, “There could be instances where an individual may have gotten tested elsewhere and results have not yet been disclosed to the university, but are known to the health department.”

Beer says very few of the cases reported on Wednesday and Thursday are tied to the fraternity house exposure site identified last weekend. She also says the majority of confirmed cases are asymptomatic.

“The health department is working closely with the university to complete contact tracing to mitigate any potential spread within the student population and the community,” Beer told TV6.

For updates and to follow the WUPHD, check out its Facebook page or website.

For continuing coronavirus coverage from TV6 & FOX UP, visit uppermichiganssource.com/coronavirus.

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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