Huron County has first positive coronavirus case
Brings Upper Thumb total to four

By Eric Young,


  •  Photo: CDC/Courtesy Photo

    Photo: CDC/Courtesy Photo

Photo: CDC/Courtesy Photo

Photo: CDC/Courtesy Photo

HURON COUNTY — The first confirmed coronavirus case in Huron County was reported Friday afternoon.

According to a press release from the Huron County Health Department, the individual is a 76-year-old female.

The health department plans to contact people who have been in close contact with the patient, and they will be assessed for symptoms and monitored.

This is the first positive test in Huron County and the fourth in the Upper Thumb. Two cases were previously reported in Tuscola County and another was reported in Sanilac County. A 79-year-old man from Tuscola County died Thursday after testing positive for the virus, becoming the first coronavirus-related death in the Upper Thumb.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were 2,856 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, with 60 deaths.

Ann Hepfer, health officer for Huron and Tuscola counties, stressed the importance of abiding by the governor’s stay-at-home order in a separate press release Friday.

“I am done being nice about the order to stay at home,” Hepfer said in the release. “If you are not working, this is not a vacation. Stay at home, go out for essential needs only.”

Hepfer said only one person from a family should be going to the store when people need supplies.

“These are not family outings,” Hepfer said. “You are putting yourself at risk and your loved ones. The virus is here, and we have already had one death in the Thumb. The illness does (not) pick who and who does not get infected. It is an equal opportunity infection that means all of us are at risk. The health care system infrastructure cannot stand up to this type of pressure. You need to stay at home.”

Hepfer said people should not allow their children to play with other children, even outside.

“I witnessed a group of kids playing basketball yesterday afternoon,” she said. “This is not a safe practice. This infection spreads like a wildfire. They are sharing balls and touching each other. The playground equipment is stainless steel and plastic. We know this virus can live for hours on these types of surfaces.”

Hepfer said she realizes that people want to spend time with their families, but health care professionals are working to make sure their families are safe.

“I don’t want this virus to take one more life, and the social distance and stay-at-home orders are things that you can do to help us save your life,” she said. “For now, go outside with just your family, no friends, practice social distancing and do limited shopping.”

The health department is not naming public low-risk exposure locations. It advises that residents should behave as though the virus may be present when they are in public places in the community. It also recommends people take all suggested prevention measures.

The HCHD is asking anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 to self-isolate for 14 days in an attempt to avoid exposing others. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Those symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The health department is reminding the community of mitigation and prevention measures to prevent further spread of the virus:

• Stay at home. Do not leave home except for essential tasks such as getting groceries or seeking medical care.

• If you are out, stay at least 6 feet away from others and avoid any gatherings.

• Wash your hands often and well, especially after being away from home

• Do not touch your face or mouth, especially when out

• Check on others. Call your loved ones and neighbors who are most at risk and see how they are doing. If they require an essential errand, see how you can help.

The health department reminds everyone that there is evidence of community spread locally. Testing is ongoing, but limitations in the number of tests and the volume of testing around the state is slowing the system down and presenting challenges. Instead, the health department is asking everyone to assume positive cases and take the necessary precautions to avoid further spread.

“It is also a critical time for us to work together and to protect each other and support our health care workers and other essential workers. Together we can do this. We can slow the spread of illness and maintain care and resources for everyone,” Hepfer said.

For resources and more information please visit or call the states hotline number at 1-888-535-6136 7 days a week 8-5 p.m. Call 211 if you are in need of food, housing, or other assistance issues.

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