By Jessica Mathews

The Livingston County Health Department received notification today of the first local death attributed to COVID-19.

The individual was an elderly male with underlying health conditions. He was hospitalized March 19th and passed away yesterday evening, March 24th, at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. Health Officer Dianne McCormick says “This is a tragic reminder of how serious a threat COVID-19 is to our residents, especially those with underlying health conditions and really, to the community as a whole.” The Health Department reminds everyone that in this difficult time it is critical to protect and support each other, and work together to slow the spread of this disease.

As of this afternoon's update on the state coronavirus website, there were 2,295 cases and 43 deaths in Michigan. 16 of those cases were reported in Livingston County, although numbers are continually changing.

The Health Department is urging residents to continue to follow recommendations:

• Stay at home. Do not leave home except for essential tasks such as getting groceries or seeking medical care.

• If you must go out, stay at least 6 feet away from others and avoid any gatherings.

• Wash your hands often and well, especially after being away from home, coughing, or sneezing.

• Do not touch your face or mouth, especially when away from home.

• Check on others. Call your loved ones and neighbors who are most at risk and see how they are doing. If they require something essential, see how you can help.