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Two out-of-state visitors to Grand Traverse County test positive for COVID-19

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Two out-of-state visitors to Grand Traverse County tested positive for COVID-19 over the holiday weekend as bars, eateries and shops reopened in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. 

The coronavirus case investigation and subsequent contact tracing resulted in six individuals in Grand Traverse County who are all under self-quarantine, according to the Grand Traverse County COVID-19 Joint Operations Center. 

Those potentially exposed will be monitored for the next 14 days, the center added in a Monday post on Facebook.

A hand-washing station sits on the sidewalk along Traverse City's East Front Street on Friday. Stations have been placed around the downtown area.

Through Monday, Grand Traverse County had 23 cases and experienced five COVID-19 deaths in the nearly 11 weeks since Michigan confirmed its first two cases on March 10, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. 

The Grand Traverse County Health Department reported Monday that confirmed positive cases had not grown in the past day. The two infected out-of-state visitors are not included in the totals because they are not residents, officials noted.

A spokesperson for the Grand Traverse County Health Department could not be immediately reached Monday.

The Traverse City Ticker reported the travelers came to the county to visit family. Both were symptomatic and one had to be hospitalized, according to the news site. The other is reportedly under quarantine in a hotel room.

Health officials said it doesn't appear that there was any community exposure, according to the Ticker. 

Separately, officials in Grand Traverse County reported that the first weekend of partial reopening in the state under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's "Safe Start" executive order was "successful" and with "very few notable incidents or violations," the operation center said.

Whitmer's order reopens retail businesses and offices and allows for bars and restaurants to operate at half capacity. Businesses must train employees on health and safety protocols, keep groups six feet from one another and require workers to wear face coverings.

The county also reported six probable cases of the virus, 14 recoveries and five deaths. 

Overall, 5,240 fatalities have been recorded statewide, including a dozen new deaths Monday. Michigan has confirmed 54,881 cases of COVID-19 since March 10. 

Grand Traverse County noted Monday the businesses that have reopened are observing state guidelines and the majority of customers are respecting the safety measures. 

Heavy traffic along US-31 North in East Bay Township near Traverse City signals the beginning of the holiday weekend.

"Area businesses are balancing the challenges of protecting the health and safety of their employees, their business and the public," the county said in a Monday community update. 

The Grand Traverse County Health Department is recommending that returning and seasonal residents self-quarantine for 14 days to limit the chance of unknowingly spreading the virus. 

Whitmer's Stay Home, Stay Safe order is set to expire on June 12.