TRAVERSE CITY — Local health officials this week announced two COVID-19 deaths among Grand Traverse County residents, as well as one additional possible public exposure site.
Grand Traverse County Health Department on Monday announced the death of a man in his 80s and then Tuesday confirmed the death of a woman in her 80s. The man died on Saturday, while the woman died Monday.
Munson Heathcare officials reported six patients are currently hospitalized with the novel coronavirus among its three designated COVID-19 units: three at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, two at Grayling Hospital and one at Cadillac Hospital.
A total of 31 patients have died from COVID-19 at Munson hospitals since the pandemic began, officials confirmed.
These most recent two deaths mark the 10th and 11th losses o coronavirus among Grand Traverse County residents, while northern Lower Michigan has experienced more than 70 deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
Grand Traverse County, the most populated in the region, has had a cumulative total of 527 positive COVID-19 cases. That accounts for more than 25 percent of the entire 17-county region’s more than 2,000 cases, statistics show.
Michigan’s chief health officer warned Tuesday that the state could be beginning a second wave of the coronavirus as cases rise along with the number of people in hospitals.
Michigan had 89 new cases per 1 million people per day, up from 81.6 cases last week, the state health department said.
About 700 people with COVID-19 were in hospitals, up about 20 percent from last week. The rate of positive tests has ticked up to 3.6 percent from 3.4 percent. It was under 3 percent in June.
“It is very possible this is the beginning of a second wave,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan chief medical executive. “The virus has not changed. It is an opportunist. If people are not wearing masks, if people are gathering, if people are not washing their hands, it will spread.”
The number of new cases reported statewide Tuesday was 1,237.
The Upper Peninsula is a hot spot. Nick Derusha, a health officer in four U.P. counties, said there’s “pandemic fatigue” among some residents.
Derusha said some people doubt the severity of the coronavirus.
“We need all yoopers to wear your mask,” he said.
Brian Peters, chief executive of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, said hospitals aren’t in a capacity crisis “but we must stop this trend.”
In Traverse City, health officials also announced a possible public exposure site was discovered during contact tracing work. Harrington’s By The Bay on South West Bayshore Drive was identified by health authorities as the latest place of concern.
The dates and times of possible exposure include:
- Thursday, Oct. 1, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Friday, Oct. 2, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Saturday, Oct. 3, from 4 to 10 p.m.
Medical officials encourage anyone present during those times to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, particularly if not wearing a mask or practicing physical distancing.
Those self-monitoring are meant to keep away from the public, family, close contacts and roommates as much as possible, officials said.
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, repeated shaking with chills, headache, sore throat and a new loss of taste or smell.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.