April 15, 2021
Barry-Eaton Health Department COVID-19 Situational Update
There are so many things happening in the world of COVID-19 response. These roughly break down into two areas: CASES AND TESTING, and VACCINATION.
- There are so many things happening in the world of COVID-19 response. These roughly break down into two areas: CASES AND TESTING, and VACCINATION. Both are critically important at this time. There are many things we need your assistance with --- please read on to learn more.
- We are asking everyone to choose to protect their families, friends, and fellow community members by wearing masks in public, getting tested for COVID-19, social distancing, handwashing, and getting vaccinated as soon as you can. We also recommend holding off on family gatherings and parties, avoiding unnecessary travel, attending church virtually, and working from home when possible.
CASES AND TESTING:
- We have been experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases in both counties. Test positivity rates are at 20%, meaning that there are MANY people who have COVID-19 that we are not finding. Please encourage everyone to get a test if they have symptoms. Free pop-up rapid testing sites are happening routinely in our area, and BEDHD is working to bring some here as well. Please visit this site to find a pop-up rapid event, or seek testing through the sites listed below.
- In the past 2 weeks, we have identified new outbreaks due to sports teams, social gatherings, sleepovers, funerals, restaurants, churches, daycares, in-person learning, long-term care (nursing homes), banks, office workplaces, salons, apartment complexes, and recreational venues like movie theaters and bowling alleys. If you are leaving your home for ANY reason, you could unknowingly be exposed to someone with COVID19.
- We have exceeded our staff capacity for timely case investigation and are no longer able (given the number of cases) to investigate all of them. We continue to prioritize those under age 18 and those older than 65. We send many cases to MDHHS to investigate but they are also overwhelmed and not able to get to all of them either. Residents are urged to follow the isolation rules themselves and to notify their close contacts so that they can begin to quarantine. Here is a resource to use.
- We issued a recommendation to our local school districts last Friday that they pause extracurricular activities (such as sports) before or at the same time as moving to virtual instruction. Many cases in high school aged children are connected with extracurriculars rather than in-person instruction, so doing both would be key. We also consult directly with all of our local schools on the epidemiological situation locally.
- BEDHD is releasing weekly data reports for each county. Visit www.barryeatonhealth.org/coronavirus and scroll down to Weekly Data Reports. The Interactive Data Dashboard can be found here.
- We have paused the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine as recommended by the CDC and FDA. This pause is a sign that our vaccination safety monitoring is working so that scientists can evaluate potential issues. We will resume use of J&J if that recommendation is made.
- The situation on the availability of vaccine has drastically changed from a few weeks ago! If you or folks you know have been holding off till things settle down a bit, now is the time.
- We have many vacant appointments tomorrow and Friday at our Lansing Mall clinics, and anticipate many appointments to be available at the Barry County Expo Center as well next week. Here are a few changes to our vaccination process and policies:
- Our website www.barryeatonhealth.org/schedule-vaccine now has direct links to schedule vaccination appointments! We are also now able to label each clinic with the type of vaccine – Moderna (18+) and Pfizer (16+). Since we are observing the national pause on Johnson and Johnson vaccine, we do not have any future clinics scheduled with this vaccine. But if we do in the future, we will post the scheduling link there.
- People are still welcome to fill out our interest form and we will send them an invitation to schedule an appointment – however, we recommend that they check the clinic openings first. We will post a new link to the next week’s schedules every Friday after 3pm.
- We have planned some clinics using the PfizerBioNTech vaccine so that we can offer vaccinations to 16 and 17 year olds. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- We are now offering stand-by appointments which helps us to minimize vaccine waste.
- BEDHD has begun to focus more on targeted, public health oriented vaccination clinics for the underserved, those with barriers, or other reasons that a large mass clinic might not be right for them. We have already served many AFC homes, senior apartment places, homeless, and hard-to-reach populations. Please contact Rebekah Condon if you are interested in hosting this kind of clinic!
To see more, visit COVID-19 Situational Update.