LUCE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - The first positive COVID-19 case in Luce County is an adult man currently housed at the Newberry Correctional Facility, the LMAS District Health Department confirmed Wednesday.
The department says it became aware Wednesday of a positive COVID-19 case identified through Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Laboratory Testing. According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, the inmate was placed in isolation on March 16 and tested for the disease from the novel coronavirus.
The Michigan DOC indicates the inmate arrived at the Newberry facility in November 2019. The LMAS District Health Department believes the risk to the general public is low at this time. The inmate is in isolation at the Newberry Facility and receiving care from Department of Corrections healthcare workers.
The LMAS District Health Department says it is working with the Newberry Correctional Facility and is following current CDC guidance regarding case investigation and will follow-up with anyone who has been identified as a close contact. They will be assessed for symptoms and monitored appropriately.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the Department of Corrections is using expert advice to keep employees safe.
"It's important that we are absolutely observing all best practices for our essential employees, like any business in this state is," said Whitmer. "The Department of Corrections is working incredibly hard to make sure that our corrections officers are protected as well as the population in our prisons."
The state reported 507 new positive COVID-19 cases Wednesday, which includes the Luce County case and the Marquette County case reported Tuesday, along with 19 new deaths. This puts the state total at 2,295 cases with 43 deaths. Click here to see the latest information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. There are three cases from Upper Michigan: Luce County, Marquette County and Chippewa County.
In the second day of Gov. Whitmer's "Stay Home" order, the governor says we can expect numbers to keep growing.
"Experts are telling us, if everyone would just stop in place and freeze for fourteen days, this virus would sputter to a halt," she said. "But unfortunately people have got to do some movement. And as much as we can minimze that, the better. The better for our personal health, the better for the health of our communities, and certainly the better for our efforts to save lives and make sure our economy is only suffering for as long as we are confronting this crisis."
The LMAS District Health Department urges the community to continue to be cooperative with recommendations to keep yourself and others safe. This includes following the executive order instituted earlier this week from Gov. Whitmer to “Stay Home, Stay Safe” and implement social distancing. Reducing person-to-person contact is the best way to slow and reduce the spread of this novel (new) virus which the population has no immunity to.
People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to safely recover at home. Seek medical care if your symptoms worsen by calling ahead to your provider. COVID-19 symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, people should wash their hands properly, avoid close contact with sick people, and disinfect commonly touched surfaces.
Gov. Whitmer says she expects to request a major disaster declaration from FEMA.
"The more people that continue to get sick, the more stressed our health care system is going to be," she said. "And that will probably happen across the state. I know the U.P. is last to come into this sad chapter that we are confronting as a globe and as a country and as a state, but this is a highy communicable virus."