LMAS District Health Department provides COVID-19 update

The health department says there is a great deal of concern as we approach a new school year and more activities move indoors, because of the Delta variant.
(LMAS District Health Department logo)
(LMAS District Health Department logo)(WLUC)
Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 1:39 PM EDT
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EASTERN U.P., Mich. (WLUC) - The Luce, Mackinac, Alger, and Schoolcraft (LMAS) District Health Department has released more information about the ongoing pandemic and the mutating COVID-19 virus.

Below, you will find the entire release from the LMAS health department.

The Delta variant is overwhelming hospitals and communities around the country, and COVID case numbers are moving up in the LMAS counties and across Michigan.

There is a great deal of concern as we approach a new school year and more activities move indoors. This year, with few, if any protocols in place, we see an alarming trend in the United States of rising cases and hospitalizations, because of the Delta variant - twice as transmissible as what we were dealing with last year - and low vaccination rates in communities.

When adults and adolescents 12 and older are not vaccinated, there is no wall of protection around younger children or adults with compromised immune systems, especially without the mitigation protocols utilized earlier in the pandemic.

Every year, we tell people as we approach flu season to cover their coughs and sneezes, wash their hands often, and stay home when they don’t feel well. Early in the pandemic and the last school year, many of us were doing those things due to protocols being in place for COVID, and we saw very little influenza. No doubt the COVID cases would have been higher as well.

It is vital that individuals remember that masks work best when worn properly by all who can, especially in indoor settings, and that they are used along with maintaining distance from those not in your immediate household, washing hands, and staying home when sick, and getting tested for COVID.

Also, we need a much greater segment of our communities, age 12 and up, to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Currently, only 55.5% of residents in the four LMAS counties are fully vaccinated. In the district, LMAS, hospitals, pharmacies and other partners have fully immunized 17,106 residents over the age of 12. So far, we have had 34 breakthrough cases (those fully immunized, and more than two weeks after their final dose before they tested positive). That is only 0.2% of those fully vaccinated. The vaccinations have done a good job in protecting people from COVID.

As we watch other states, and see the rising numbers of breakthrough infections because of Delta, we are learning from their early experiences:

  1. Not only is Delta more transmissible, it also produces a much higher viral load in those infected.
  2. While the vaccines are still doing well at keeping those who are fully vaccinated from being seriously ill and hospitalized, there are more who are being infected, having symptoms of COVID, and able to spread the virus to others.
  3. The more people infected with COVID, the greater the chance that a new variant emerges that could be more resistant to the vaccinations, more transmissible, and more deadly.

LMAS has recorded 30 new COVID infections since August 1, 2021, with a few hospitalizations and no deaths. One Delta case has been tested and confirmed through sequencing in our district as of August 13, 2021. Where there is one, there are likely more.

Testing numbers are very low. Testing is available at all area hospitals and our LMAS office in Newberry.

We are concerned about what the next months will bring in the way of COVID.

As of Wednesday, August 18, 2021, all of our LMAS offices have returned to mask requirements for staff and anyone over the age of 2 who seeks services at our offices. This is for everyone, regardless of vaccination status.

Currently, three of our counties are at high or substantial transmission rates of COVID, while one is at moderate (More information can be found at covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker).

The CDC recommends all individuals regardless of vaccination status wear masks indoors in communities with substantial or high COVID transmission rates.

For more information or to schedule a vaccine appointment, visit LMASDHD.org.

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