Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Iron County reports new COVID case


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Hurley — The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Iron County continues to climb as the Iron County Health Department reported another positive case Tuesday.

The post on the department’s Facebook page brings the total number of positives in the county to seven, five of which have been announced since June 25.

No information was released regarding the person who tested positive.

Iron County Health Officer Katie Hampston told the Daily Globe there are several reasons the department isn’t releasing information regarding specific cases.

Along with the need to protect the confidentiality of patients, Hampston said the nature of the virus makes it somewhat irrelevant where in the county the infected person lives. She explained there is enough travel within the county — and to areas outside the county — that people should take precautions against the virus regardless of where they live and releasing where in the county the patient lives may cause people to become unnecessarily lax if they live elsewhere.

She said the department is also doing contact tracing to inform those who did come in close contact with someone with the virus.

In addition to the seven positives, Hampston said there are other individuals in the county who haven’t tested positive but are isolating or taking other precautions due to possible exposure to the virus.

There remains a single death in Iron County related to the coronavirus pandemic, which was the county’s first case announced on March 26. One Iron County case is listed as recovered in Tuesday’s Facebook post.

Additional cases will be posted on the department’s Facebook page and website, department officials said in a recent press release, as the department is no longer issuing releases.

“Please continue to monitor the Iron County Health Department Facebook page or Iron County Public Health website for daily case data posted Monday through Friday,” the June 26 release reads.

Hampston said press releases will be issued if a case warrants it, but the guidance from the state was that specific press releases weren’t needed beyond the county’s first case and first death.

Health officials also continue to remind residents to take precautions designed to slow or halt the spread of the virus — including limiting a circle of contacts to a small group of people, maintaining six feet of distance and limiting exposure to 15 minutes with those outside the small circle of contacts, wearing a mask when in public, frequent and thorough hand washing, staying home when sick and practicing social distancing.

As of Tuesday, there were 364 negative tests in Iron County, according to information on the state’s coronavirus website.

Hampston said the current level of local testing was “adequate” and, while testing times may vary depending on the facility, the local system can handle processing the current number of tests.

“If somebody wants a test, they’re going to get a test,” she said.