Additional new cases of novel coronavirus continue to be confirmed across various Northern Michigan areas.
According to the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, three new confirmed cases of the illness were reported Tuesday including two in Emmet County and one in Otsego County.
With the additional cases, the health department now has a total of 493 confirmed cases of COVID-19 including 63 in Antrim County, 102 in Charlevoix County, 161 in Emmet County and 167 in Otsego County.
“We are still in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Lisa Peacock, health officer with the health department. “The best steps each of us can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are to wear a facemask in public, avoid large gatherings of people, stay 6 feet away from others outside your household and wash your hands often.”
“COVID-19 is dispersed through respiratory droplets and these safety measures prevent the spread of the virus,” Peacock added. “We encourage everyone to continue to follow these important steps to protect yourself, your loved ones and the community from COVID-19.”
The health department on Tuesday also corrected case investigations which were reported in error as new cases in total (17), although aggregate numbers were still correct.
From Saturday, Oct. 3 through Monday, Oct. 5, there were 13 new COVID-19 cases including eight cases on Saturday including one in Charlevoix, five in Emmet and two in Otsego County. On Sunday, there were three cases including one in Charlevoix and two in Emmet County.
On Monday, there were two new cases including one each in Emmet and Charlevoix County.
The health department also emphasized Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, used his authority under Michigan laws to sustain some requirements in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders which were struck down last week by the Michigan Supreme Court.
Gordon’s emergency order requires continuation of important mitigation measures including masking and limitations on gathering sizes.
The emergency order is in effect until Oct. 30, 2020.
“Michigan was hit hard by COVID-19 early in the pandemic,” Gordon said in a news release. “Strict preventive measures and the cooperation of Michiganders drove those numbers down dramatically, greatly reducing the loss of life.
“As we had into flu season, this order is necessary to protect vulnerable individuals, ensure the health care system can provide care for all health issues, keep schools open and maintain economic recovery.”
The emergency orders largely reinstate — under the state health department’s authority — three major aspects of prior emergency orders:
• Requirements to wear masks at indoor and outdoor gatherings: The order requires individuals to wear masks when in gatherings, defined as any occurrence where persons from multiple households are present in a shared space in a group of two or more, and requires businesses and government offices to enforce those requirements for gatherings on their premises. The order also requires the wearing of masks at schools, except for in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.
• Limitations on the size of gatherings: The order reinstates limitations on gathering sizes that mirror the requirements that Gov. Whitmer had previously put in place. These include indoor gatherings of more than 10 and up to 500 people occurring at a non-residential venue are permitted within the following limits:
• In venues with fixed seating, limit attendance to 20% of normal capacity. However, gatherings up to 25% of normal capacity are permitted in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.
• In venues without fixed seating, limit attendance to 20 persons per 1,000 square feet in each occupied room. However, gatherings of up to 25 persons per 1,000 square feet are permitted in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.
• Non-residential outdoor gatherings of between 100 and 1,000 persons at venues with fixed seating are permitted at up to 30% of normal capacity and at 30 persons per 1,000 square feet at venues without fixed seating.
• Limitations on certain establishments: Although the order does not close bars, it requires them to close indoor common areas where people can congregate, dance or otherwise mingle. Indoor gatherings are prohibited anywhere alcoholic beverages are sold except for table services where parties are separated from one another by at least 6 feet.
In addition, athletes training or practicing for or competing in an organized sport must wear a facial covering, except when swimming, or consistently maintain six feet of social distance.
Follow Steve Foley on Twitter @SteveFoley8