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Vaccine Tracker: Fighting rising COVID-19 cases in Michigan

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 6:32 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - In this edition of the Vaccine Tracker we’re taking a look at the alarming spike in cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. We spoke with local health officials with the Berrien County Health Department to learn the latest on the fight against the case surge and growing problem of the B117 UK variant.

First, here are the latest county-by-county numbers in Michiana. These percentages representing the total number of people fully vaccinated in each county:

Fully vaccinated in Michiana 4-12-21
Fully vaccinated in Michiana 4-12-21(WNDU)

Turning to Michigan, this map shows the growing problem of viral spread. You’ll see the high numbers reported back in December and November, we are now approaching the same level for new daily cases:

WNDU Michigan Daily Cases, current spike, graph from MDHHS.
WNDU Michigan Daily Cases, current spike, graph from MDHHS.(WNDU)

Over 6,000 confirmed cases were reported in Michigan on April 5th, that is very close to what we were seeing in the spike in cases for November and December when daily case reports were between 5,000 and just shy of 10,000 on some days. This information can be found at the following link:

https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98163_98173---,00.html

The key to getting this surge in cases under control is to get vaccinated/practice mitigation strategies, but also to not let your guard down.  According to the CDC, there are over 2,200 cases of the COVID-19 B117 UK variant in the state, but that’s just the confirmed case count. There are likely many more cases.

“Not every single test that’s taken for COVID-19 is genotyped for whether it is a variant strain or not. So we know there is likely a lot more variant spread throughout the state than we have in the numbers of confirmed cases,” Gillian Conrad says. She is the Communications Manager for Berrien County Health Department. “So again, while the variants might be endemic in the state of Michigan, we know the same preventative actions will help slow the transmission, that includes wearing your mask, social distancing, washing hands, staying home if you’re sick.”

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant-cases.html

The reason for the spike in COVID-19 cases in Michigan is not fully understood, but it is likely due to a number of factors.

“It’s hard to pinpoint one single factor that could be driving some of the surge being experienced here in Michigan, but we know a variety of factors like opening up of capacity limits, pandemic fatigue, and people getting together with other folks, larger gathering sizes, people eating in restaurants indoors, high school sports, all of these factors,” Conrad says.

Berrien County says their vaccine supply has been steady and there are thousands of appointments available throughout the county. That includes the health department, local pharmacies, and the federal vaccine sites.

Here is a link for appoints through the health department: http://berriencounty.org/1643/Coronavirus-Disease-COVID-19

We’ll continue to keep an eye on the vaccination rollout, and I want to hear from you. Email me at zach.horner@wndu.com or find me on Facebook and send a message if you have an issue or idea of something we can dig into on the Vaccine Tracker.

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