Traverse City News and Events

Health Department Issues Warning To Snowbirds, Vacation/Second Home Owners

By Beth Milligan | April 1, 2020

The Grand Traverse County Health Department and Northern Michigan Public Health Alliance are issuing an advisory to snowbirds and individuals who have vacation or second homes in northern Michigan to take precautions to avoid spreading COVID-19 in the region and overwhelming the local healthcare system. 

"Northern Michigan counties are seeing an influx of individuals who are seeking shelter from areas with significant COVID-19 community spread or returning from travel outside of these counties," the statement reads. "While we understand the desire to seek shelter in our communities with fewer COVID-19 cases, this potentially poses an unnecessary risk to all residents of northern Michigan."

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

The Health Department is asking that all individuals returning to northern Michigan from outside the area self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, and do not go out unless absolutely necessary. Following the two-week quarantine, individuals should still continue to follow the "Stay Home Stay Safe" order and only leave the home for essential reasons. If individuals are sick, they are advised to stay home and not leave their residence, and to contact their healthcare provider if they have COVID-19 symptoms (such as fever and dry cough).

"By following these simple guidelines, the risk for spreading COVID-19 lowers significantly, thus protecting everyone who lives, works, and plays in beautiful northern Michigan," the statement concludes. "This advisory will remain in effect until lifted and is endorsed by local public health, local healthcare systems, local law enforcement, and county leadership."

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