Region enters third year of COVID-19 with low cases, a more normal lifestyle

A COVID-19 sign hangs in a Petoskey storefront in May 2020.

GAYLORD — Northern Michigan residents have now entered the third year of having COVID-19 in their lives.

March 13 marked the two-year anniversary from the date when the first COVID-19 case was reported in a resident in the Health Department of Northwest Michigan jurisdiction of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties. 

Since then, the community has pulled together to get vaccinated, wear masks, wash their hands, and socially distance to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The region has now come out of the latest surge enjoying relatively low numbers of cases and the ability to gather with family and friends.  

On this anniversary, health officials said it is important to remember the sacrifices made that have led to the recovery phase. 

In the early stages of the virus, personal protective equipment was sparse, a vaccine was nonexistent, and little was known about this new disease. Yet, health department staff, as well as officials with hospitals and emergency management systems, governments, schools, businesses and multiple community partners all came together to battle the disease. 

The Charlevoix Health Department of Northwest Michigan building stands Monday, March 14, 2022, located at 220 W. Garfield Ave.

“From day one, Health Department of Northwest Michigan staff have shifted responsibilities quickly and without question to meet the needs of the community, whether through helping with case investigation, testing, or vaccinations,” Amanda Thompson, director of family health services, said in a statement. “Staff’s primary responsibility was to help keep the community safe and they went to extreme lengths to do so.” 

On Dec. 17, 2020, the COVID-19 vaccine arrived and health department staff “administered our first dose with clinics planned in all four counties the very next day,” Thompson said.






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