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Petoskey Mayor: “Just about everyone that lives in Emmet County knows someone who suffered greatly.”

Charles Dawley

One northern Michigan county reeling from COVID-19 is Emmet County. It’s counted almost 800 cases and 27 deaths from the disease. Mayor of Petoskey John Murphy says a representative from the Governor’s office reached out and asked if he could help spread a message from public health leaders and hospital workers.

He wants residents to seriously consider how much the virus has spread in the community and to cancel holiday plans that involve travel or big groups.

In Petoskey, he says just about everyone knows someone who knows someone who has passed away from COVID-19.

“I’ve talked to friends who thought it wasn’t that big a deal to wear a mask (and) have contracted the virus and have told me the worst thing they ever did was not wear a mask,” Murphy says. “It was worse than the flu.”

He says one friend is still short of breath even though he caught COVID weeks ago. There may be damage to his lungs.

“So what we need to do is really take this seriously as a community,” Murphy says.

He won’t be seeing his sister’s family in Ohio like he usually does every year— a sacrifice he’s urging others to make too.

Taylor Wizner covers heath, tourism and other news for Interlochen Public Radio.