CHEBOYGAN COUNTY — Although the number of confirmed positive cases of coronavirus around the area continue to increase, the number of positive cases in Cheboygan County remained at 19 for a second day.


District Health Department Four is warning area residents about a potential exposure location, where people may have been exposed to someone with the virus. The health department puts out these warnings when the contact tracing team has a person who has tested positive and it is impossible to contact everyone who may have been exposed to the person due to being in a large area.


Anyone who was at the Alpena Walmart on April 25, between 7 and 8 p.m., are encouraged to monitor themselves for symptoms of the virus. There is a low risk exposure at the store, but people who were there should still monitor for symptoms. If no symptoms develop in 14 days, there is nothing further that needs to be done. If they do develop symptoms, they should consider being tested for COVID-19.


"We cannot over-emphasize the importance of compliance with the ’Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order," said Denise Bryan, health officer at District Health Department Four. "We want to stress that this is an order, not a suggestion, aimed at protecting the public’s health. The rise in cases and ongoing community spread in our area reminds us it is imperative that we follow this order and not leave home. Essential businesses should be screening their employees and implementing social distancing measures."


The health department understands that the risk of possible exposure is unnerving to some people, which is why they continue to ask people to stay home and stay safe, only leaving their homes for essential needs, and then, do so as infrequently as possible.


When you do have to leave your home, it is encouraged that the number of people leaving the home be limited as much as possible, such as one person be designated to go get groceries and pick up other supplies. Social distancing, staying at least six feet away from others will also help control the spread of the virus.


When being active outside, maintain social distancing and do not congregate, wear a face covering, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, disinfect frequently touched surfaces and make sure to check on those you love, especially those who may be at risk.


As of April 30, the health department is planning on reporting the number of probable COVID-19 cases, as well as the number of individuals who have recovered from the virus in their data dashboard on their website. They will also include confirmed cases and deaths in Alpena, Cheboygan, Montmorency and Presque Isle counties, according to the current lab reporting.


Probable cases are defined as people who have been in close contact with people who have tested positive for the virus, and have symptoms of the virus. These people are asked to quarantine themselves and are in constant contact with health officials.


"Think of this disease as an iceberg. The laboratory-confirmed positive cases collected are the tip of the iceberg. Our probable and asymptomatic cases across the state that have not been measured can be seen as the bottom part of the iceberg. Going beyond the ’tip of the iceberg’ and reporting probable cases will give community partners the opportunity to learn more about this virus and plan appropriate public health actions," said Bryan.


Those who are considered to be recovered are those who have gone 30 days from the onset of their symptoms, or 30 days after their positive test result, and have not died. The first positive case of the virus in the District Health Department Four jurisdiction was on March 29.


In District Health Department Four's jurisdiction, there is a total of 111 cases, with 76 being in Alpena County, 19 in Cheboygan County, five in Montmorency County and 11 in Presque Isle County.


Since March 13, there have been 23 people hospitalized with coronavirus at McLaren Northern Michigan hospital in Petoskey. Of these patients, there are four people who are currently in the hospital's respiratory recovery units and 17 of them have been safely discharged from the hospital.


In the Health Department of Northwest Michigan's jurisdiction, there are a total of 136 confirmed cases of the virus, with 10 in Antrim County, 13 in Charlevoix County, 21 in Emmet County and 92 in Otsego County. There are also 11 total deaths among these four counties, and 34 probable cases.


In the state, there are a total of 41,379 cases of the virus, with 3,789 deaths. The City of Detroit has 9,057 cases, Wayne County has 7,672 cases, Oakland County has 7,267 cases, Macomb County has 5,513 cases, Kent County has 1,479 cases, Genesee County has 1,581 cases and Washtenaw County has 1,075 cases.


The Michigan Department of Corrections is reporting 1,453 cases, with 42 deaths, and federal correctional institutions are reporting 88 cases with two deaths.