WVBI COVID-19 Update for July 6, 2020

The island’s solution to celebrating Independence Day while staying safe seems to have worked out well. About 300 cars lined up to take part in a reverse parade—with displays spaced out along the roadside and observers having a look from their vehicles. It assured social distancing, but still allowed everyone to celebrate. Businesses along the route set up displays and a number of the traditional parade elements were present along the route including the AMVETS, the double decker USA party pickup and, a newer tradition, the B-I-C-S robotic team’s robot buzzing about in front of the BIC Center. Goodie bags were distributed at the end of the route, so kids (and grownups got some traditional and not so traditional) parade treats. W-V-B-I had a crew reporting from a car taking the parade route, and Joe Moore captured it all on video for News on the Net. The official boat parade and fireworks were cancelled, but some folks took to the water as the sun went down and unofficial fireworks lit up the skies over Paradise Bay and around the island. All in all, it was a splendid and safe 4th. Hats off to Paul Cole, the B-I Chamber and many volunteers and participants who made it all happen.
Adding to the good news of that success, state health officials yesterday reported no new COVID-19 related deaths. That’s the first time that has happened since mid-March at the start of the crisis. They did report 343 new cases, though. That puts the number of conformed cases for the state at 65,876 with 5,972 deaths since the crisis began. Officials also announced that 52,841 have recovered from COVID-19. That leaves just over 7,000 active cases in the state. The seven-day average for new cases stands at 373, up from 290 the previous week. Seven day average for deaths is at 9. That’s the same as last week. Positive test rate is 2.8 percent, about where is has been since early June.
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.
But, in our region, a big jump over the weekend in new cases 270 to 304. Grand Traverse is up twelve to 63. Leelanau up nine to 26. Emmet is up six cases to 30. Kalkaska up four to 26. Antrim up three to 22. Charlevoix up one to 24. Otsego up one to 105 Kalkaska is up one to 22. Death toll is stable at 21. Full county by county data are in today’s script. [Otsego confirmed case count is at 105 with 10 deaths. Emmet is at 30 with two deaths. Grand Traverse is at 63 cases with six deaths. Charlevoix has 24 cases including one from the island, and two deaths. Kalkaska has 26 confirmed cases two deaths. Antrim 22 cases, still no deaths, Leelanau at 26, no deaths. And Benzie is at 8 cases and no deaths.] U-P is up 21 to 196. Ontonagon County, the last county in Michigan with no confirmed cases, picked up its first case over the weekend. Marquette has the most in the U-P with 72 cases. Death toll is stable at 18.
Here’s 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.