Four COVID-19-related fatalities announced Tuesday

Editor’s note: The following story has been updated from the original version that appeared in our print edition. As of press time on Tuesday, the county was reporting three deaths but that number was updated to four later on Tuesday.

LAPEER COUNTY —      On Tuesday, morning the Lapeer County Health Department reported the county’s first COVID-19-related deaths. The victims include a male in his 50s and a female in her 70s. Both had been hospitalized. The third resident was a man in his 80s who was a resident at the Villages of Lapeer, a nursing home facility. Later that afternoon, officials announced a fourth death, a female in her 60s.


“Our hearts go out to these families during this difficult time of grief,” the department said in a press release.


“Their death is a sobering reminder to all of us that we need to continue to practice social distancing and look out for the health of all in our community.”


Officials said strong community mitigation and prevention measures remain important. They’re asking residents to continue staying at home except for essential tasks; avoid gatherings of any kind; regular hand washing; wear a mask while out in public and to check on others, including friends and loved ones.


“While COVID-19 can be a mild illness for many, it can be severe for some, especially those who are elderly and/or have pre-existing health conditions.  Not everyone who has the coronavirus will appear to be sick. Distance yourself from others as if everyone has it,” the release stated.


The county’s confirmed case count has rapidly expanded. One week ago, on April 1, Lapeer County had eight confirmed cases. That number rose to 17 on Thursday; 21 on Friday; 26 on Saturday and 45 on Sunday. As of Monday, their case count stood at 49.


The age range of confirmed cases is 23-92 years.


Health Department Director Kathy Haskins said currently they don’t have plans to create or issue incident maps, similar to those being created in St. Clair and Macomb counties.


Haskins said she’s afraid the public could see them as a “false sense of security” if case counts are low in a particular area.


“I can say that the positive cases are scattered all over the county and I’m convinced there are many more out there who just have not been tested,” she said.