COVID-19 is not gone

Little girl getting her heartbeat checked by doctor

This story appeared in the Flint Courier News. Read the full article here.

Yes, we are all tired of hearing about it. But it is still here, and we must still be vigilant.

The pandemic is no longer as scary as it was even six months ago, and it looks like COVID is here to stay. The flu never goes away either. Both can still be deadly to at-risk populations.

COVID is a virus, as is the flu. They both mutate frequently, requiring an update, so to speak, of the current mutation. Those updates are what we call “booster shots.”

As of May 2, 2023, the COVID shot record in Genesee County is:

  • 216,503 people (53.4%) have received at least one dose
  • 209,434 (51.6%) have received at least two doses or a single Johnson & Johnson dose
  • 115,913 (28.6%) have received a booster dose
  • 27,386 (6.7%) have received an updated bivalent booster dose

The lower bivalent booster percentage is echoed across the nation and could leave us wide open for another national outbreak in the future.

The 6.7% of Genesee County residents having received a COVID bivalent booster contrasts with the 24.13% of residents who have gotten a flu shot in the 2022-23 flu season. This seems to point to a difference in perception between the two viruses.

Of the 24.13% of residents with a flu shot in Genesee County, non-Hispanic whites have a 27.11% flu vaccine rate, and non-Hispanic Blacks have a 24.28% flu vaccine rate.

COVID is not gone. Our region is still experiencing COVID outbreaks. COVID outbreaks are defined as two or more cases linked by place and time, a shared exposure outside of the home.

Flint’s region, according to the Michigan.gov site, is the following counties: Saginaw, Alcona, Iosco, Ogemaw, Arenac, Gladwin, Midland, Bay, Genesee, Tuscola, Lapeer, Sanilac and Huron.

As of 4-27-2023, there are four new outbreaks and 35 ongoing outbreaks in our region. This does not include the large number of people who do home testing and do not report their illness. So, it is estimated that the actual numbers are higher.

The greatest number of our region’s outbreaks are in nursing homes, adult day care or group home settings. There are 30 outbreaks in these types of settings alone! Three outbreaks are in homeless shelters, two in childcare, two in K-12 schools and after school programs. There is also one outbreak in a jail/detention setting and another in a medical facility.

Statewide counts are 27 new outbreaks and 291 ongoing outbreaks. Schools in the cities of Detroit and Monroe and also the counties of Washtenaw and Wayne are currently dealing with 52 COVID outbreaks.

Infections in nursing home-type settings have been high since the beginning of pandemic, according to statistics in March 2020. Staff and visitors brought the infection into the nursing homes, unintentionally.

As the nursing home population is at high risk for flu and COVID, keeping yourself updated on flu and COVID vaccines will help stop the spread to your loved ones. Let’s all help to prevent another large COVID outbreak in the future!

Please be safe. Vaccinate.

Look for a vaccine and booster shot location here: https://www.solvhealth.com/mi/c/flint-mi-srv-covid-vaccine

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You’ve got questions. That’s a good thing.

As parents, determining how best to protect our children can be overwhelming and confusing. We’re here to help.

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