Western U.P. seeing an influx of travelers trying to avoid COVID-19

Posted at 9:23 AM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 09:23:32-04

(WXYZ) — Five counties in the western Upper Peninsula are seeing an influx of travelers coming from areas with significant COVID-19 community spread.

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department said Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties are the areas seeing the population increase.

"The increased population to the area places a substantial strain on our communities as travelers seek supplies, such as groceries and toiletries, as well as potentially needing health care in the event they become sick," a public health advisory reads. "During this public health crisis, many rural communities may not be equipped with personnel, supplies or resources for a surge in population."

They are also reminding people that remote camping is not a safe alternative, as they do not offer sanitary conditions, particularly for those who become ill.

Officials in Northern Michigan have urged people to avoid going Up North during the outbreak.

"Our situation was not that we don’t have any COVID-19 cases, we do. Our resources are just considerably less than what larger metropolitan areas have," Gaylord Police Chief Frank Claeys said a few weeks ago to 7 Action News.

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