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Iron County sees increase in positive COVID-19 cases

 A sign on the road, signaling directions in Iron County. (WLUC Photo)
A sign on the road, signaling directions in Iron County. (WLUC Photo) (WLUC)
Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 5:06 PM EDT
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For some time Iron County was one, of only a handful of Michigan counties that did not have any COVID-19 cases. That is, until the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department was notified of a positive case on June 1, in the county. Then, a reported second positive COVID-19 case on June 5. Two more have since been reported in the county, in just three weeks.

"I think to attribute for the increase of cases that we've been seeing in Iron County, is a lot to do with increasing of testing. So, that would be for both symptomatic and asymptomatic people,” said the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department’s community health services director, Ruth Manier.

Manier says as the testing priorities have expanded in the area. Restrictions have also been lifted, letting more people travel.

"We are a tourist area. We have people who have camps up here, that are traveling from all over the place. There is that concern of bringing it into the area,” she said.

The assistant store director at Angeli’s Central Food Market in Iron River, Jeff Ofsdahl, says he can attest to that.

"Part of that is, I think, if people are coming from states like Wisconsin, that have kind of eased up on the orders, or if their counties are a little different at that given time. If they are coming from another state, it's a little bit of a different perspective,” he said.

Angeli’s does require masks for shoppers if they are able. They say the majority of the local Iron County residents are abiding.

"I would say there's probably a majority of people from out of town not wearing masks,” said Ofsdahl.

Manier urges the public to continue to be vigilant and take precautions.

"Wear a cloth face covering. I know it's inconvenient. I know it's uncomfortable, but for those asymptomatic carriers, that's how we keep it contained,” she said.

She also reminds the public, if they do receive a call from the health department, return it, as that is an important matter. Currently, Iron County has four total positive cases. The Health Department says they hope to see some of those recover by next week.

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