News Update

[COVID-19}WVBI COVID-19 Update for July 7, 2020

DATE: 7/7/2020 Down in Cass County, the organizer of a July 4th sandbar party on Diamond Lake could face charges for violating the governor’s order prohibiting large outdoor gatherings. Pictures of the event show many hundreds of people without masks and failing to observe social distancing—with lots of drinking going on. The rules put a cap of 100 people and require social distancing at outdoor social gatherings. Such parties along with bars downstate are being called the epicenter of a surge in new cases in the state. Health officials also point to migrant farmworkers housed in close quarters as another source of outbreaks.
Despite concern over such events and a very obvious surge in new cases over the past week, data reported yesterday by state officials showed a downward trend—odd for a Monday when there have often been bumps in the numbers due to weekend delays in reporting. 297 new cases were reported yesterday and three deaths. 343 new cases and no new deaths were reported on Sunday. That brings the total of confirmed COVI-19 cases in Michigan to 66,171 and total deaths to 5,975. Current average for new cases is 382, up again from yesterday. Average for daily deaths is at 9, close to where it has been for some time.
On the island, no change in the data. Still at 96 tests run. 93 tests results back. 92 negatives. Still only one back as positive. Three tests still pending.
After a big jump over the weekend in new cases in our region—the count is up four net cases in yesterday’s data. Total is now 308. Kalkaska up two to 28. Charlevoix up two to 26. Otsego up one to 106. Benzie up one to nine. Grand Traverse up one to 64. Leelanau up one to 27. That’s eight new cases, but Emmet is down four cases—that after jumping up six over the weekend bringing us to a net increase of four. Death toll is stable at 21. Full county by county data are in today’s script. [Otsego confirmed case count is at 106 with 10 deaths. Emmet is at 26 with two deaths. Grand Traverse is at 64 cases with six deaths. Charlevoix has 26 cases including one from the island, and two deaths. Kalkaska has 28 confirmed cases two deaths. Antrim 22 cases, still no deaths, Leelanau at 27, no deaths. And Benzie is at 9 cases and no deaths.] U-P is up 13 to 209. Death toll is stable at 18.
Island vet Dr. Jeff Powers wants you to be on the lookout for ticks on your pets—and yourself. A tick borne disease called anaplasmosis can cause COVID-19 like symptoms in people. It is still relatively rare, but apparently present on the island in deer ticks as Jeff has seen six positive tests in pets for the disease. If you find a tick on yourself, best bet is to be in touch with the health center for assistance. For more info on the disease, check today’s script online for a link to an article posted by Dr. Powers.
Now, a line five update: Materials have resumed flowing through the western of the two pipelines that make Line 5’s crossing under the straights. That after an Ingham County Circuit Court judge lifted a restraining order. The flow will allow inline inspection devices to be pushed through the line, which requires a flow through the line. Reports from those inspections are due to the state the middle of this week. Presumably, operation of the line will continue unless the inspection device shows a problem. Meantime, a restraining order continues to prohibit the reopening of the east leg of the line until a federal regulator says it is safe to reopen. The controversy arose after Enbridge disclosed damage to supports and protective coating on the east leg and is part of a larger controversy concerning operation of the line.
Here’s a reminder about another COVID-19 cancellation: Beaver Island’s Big Read organizers have concluded they won’t be able to put on a live version of Our Town as part of their Our Town, Our Island events. Originally, the play had been planned for spring, but the outbreak pushed it to fall. Now, even that doesn’t seem possible. Instead, director Jacquie LaFreniere is planning a radio play for broadcast here on W-V-B-I and release as a podcast. That will allow for social distancing for the performers as well as the audience while still letting the show go on. As it must.