Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

3 new Gogebic COVID cases reported

Health officials warn of possible exposure at Ashland hockey tournament


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HANCOCK — As local health officials report new cases connected to the coronavirus pandemic in Gogebic County, the Bayfield County Health Department is warning people attending a hockey tournament in Ashland in late June they may have been exposed to the virus.

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department reported three new positive COVID-19 cases in Gogebic County Monday, bringing the county’s total up to 10.

The number of recovered cases in Gogebic County is at four as of Monday, according to the health department, which is when the person is alive 30 days after the onset of symptoms.

The three new Gogebic County cases mean there have been a total of 36 positives in the five counties the health department serves, along with one probable case. Ontonagon County has had one case, Baraga County has had five, Houghton County has had 19 and the single probable case, and Keweenaw County has had one positive case.

Also on Monday, Bayfield County health officials said they believe someone who has since tested positive for the virus possibly contracted it at a hockey tournament in Ashland on June 27-28.

The person became ill on July 1, according to the health department’s announcement, and everyone who attended the tournament is encouraged to get tested for COVID-19.

“If you attended this event and are experiencing symptoms, we encourage you to get tested at a local clinic as soon as possible,” Bayfield County Health Officer Sara Wartman said in the announcement. “There is also an upcoming free testing event on Friday … from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Iron River Community Center in Iron River, Wisconsin. No symptoms are needed to be tested at this event.”

There was at least one player from Iron County participating in the tournament.

As part of its effort to combat the virus, the WUPHD also released a list of possible exposure sites in Houghton County.

Those visiting the sites at the end of June may be at higher risk of exposure if larger crowds were present and masking and social distancing recommendations weren’t consistently followed.

The sites include: Keweenaw Brewing Company, Downtowner Lounge, Mosquito Inn, Agate Beach campground, Twin Lakes State Park, the Applebee’s in Houghton and the Portage Golf Course.

Visit the health department’s Facebook page for the exact dates the exposures may have occurred.

Although no list of exposure sites has been released as of Tuesday for the most recent Gogebic County cases, the health department said it was releasing information on possible exposure sites if the risk to public health warrants it.

“Exposure sites are listed if there is reason to believe that the general public is at a higher risk of exposure and the contact list is incomplete or a group of people was too large to identify those in attendance,” the department said in a Facebook comment attached to one of its posts. “Not all cases warrant notification, as they may be people who limited contact outside the home or may be household contacts of other cases.”

Previously, Kate Beer, the department’s health officer, told the Daily Globe the department balances the patient’s privacy with the potential risk to the public.

“What we look at is the risk to other people that could be involved,” Beer said. “When you look at all of our cases, so far (they) have generally been confined to people that have traveled to the area and have visited just a specific person or family.”

With no vaccine for the virus, health officials continue to encourage people to wash their hands, wear masks when in public, limit their social contacts to a small circle of friends and maintain six feet of distance from those outside their immediate social circle.