Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Western UP surpasses 10,000 COVID-19 cases


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HANCOCK — According to the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, the western U.P. surpassed 10,000 total COVID-19 cases and reached 200 total deaths this week.

From Dec. 1 to Wednesday, there were 47 new COVID-19 cases in Gogebic County, 11 new cases in Ontonagon, 19 new cases in Baraga County, 168 new cases in Houghton and 21 new cases in Keweenaw. There was one death in each of the five counties besides Keweenaw.

The health department posted its first COVID-19 update on April 7, 2020, and has since reported 2,194 cases in Gogebic County, 706 cases in Ontonagon, 1,423 cases in Baraga, 5,432 cases in Houghton, and 386 cases in Keweenaw, for a total of 10,141 cases in the five-county area. They have also reported 57 deaths in Gogebic County, 25 deaths in Ontonagon, 47 deaths in Baraga, 62 deaths in Houghton, and nine deaths in Keweenaw for a total of 200 deaths on Wednesday.

The COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 population is currently 297 in Gogebic County, 174.7 in Ontonagon, 218.6 in Baraga, 458.3 in Houghton, and 955.4 in Keweenaw, for a total of 381.8 in the area. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider a case rate of 100 or more to be a high risk of transmission.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has been notified of a case of the Omicron variant in Kent County. The MDHHS urges people ages 5 and up to get vaccinated and slow the spread of the virus by wearing masks, socially distancing, avoiding crowds, washing hands often and testing for COVID-19.

According to a release from, the majority of Michigan residents sick with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Recent data from Michigan health systems has found that 76% of COVID-19 patients, 87% of COVID-19 ICU patients and 88% of COVID-19 ventilator patients are unvaccinated.

“The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and (Michigan Health and Hospital Association) are pleading with residents to get vaccinated for their own health, the safety of Michigan’s health care personnel, and to avoid additional strain on health care systems that are already stretched and struggling to respond,” the release says.