October 8, 2020 – The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) is announcing that all Houghton County Schools will be able to resume in-person classes beginning Monday, October 12. WUPHD points to an increase in testing capacity and a case rate that is beginning to trend downward as a basis for allowing schools to return.
“We are seeing a declining trend in our case rate, which is encouraging”, said Kate Beer, Health Officer at WUPHD. “The cases per million number for Houghton County has dropped from a high of 777.9 per million at the end of September to a rate of 373.3 per million earlier this week. We continue to see a high positive test rate, but this has also stabilized over the last week. The goal was to pause to allow testing capacity to increase and local public health an opportunity to evaluate operations and this has happened. Community healthcare partners are reporting that current COVID-19 related cases and demand for testing are well within their capacity to serve, and that they are capable of continuing to provide other routine health services as well.”
In an effort to ease local testing concerns, WUPHD held a community COVID-19 test site this past weekend with multiple community partners. Testing was provided to 657 individuals, with results expected shortly.
WUPHD will continue to monitor statistics and capacity closely, meeting each week with school administrators to discuss local conditions, and recommending additional closures as necessary.
“Our communities must pull together to provide our children with a meaningful educational opportunity,” Beer added. “COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Wearing a mask, social distancing,
limiting gatherings, and washing hands are the tools that we need to use both in and outside the classroom to keep children safe while they learn.”
County-level statistics are listed on the state website at https://www.mistartmap.info/.