Genesee County, MI— COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Genesee County at a rate of 150 per day, according to local health officials. More than 30 cases have been caused by the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7. 

On April 2 Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical officer, said the new strain is spreads more easily and causes a more serious illness, but said all three available vaccines have proven to protect against it. 

A recent report by the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions estimates that 31% of Genesee County’s total population, ages 16 and over, have received their first dose of the vaccine

COVID cases continue to climb. According to the FCHES, the positivity rate in Genesee County has risen from 3.5% to 15.5%, an overall 12% increase for the month of March. The trend is consistent with the state. 

Courtesy of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions

The spike continues to be driven by youth ages 10-19, according to the report. Case counts have also soared among 20 to 29-year-olds and all other age groups are seeing an increase as well. 

“They’ve been going up for weeks,” said Debra Furr-Holden, director of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions and associate dean for Public Health Integration at Michigan State University. 

“February 1, things reopened. And the following week, we started to see an increase in cases and it’s continued since. Anytime you get more people coming in contact with each other, you will see increases in COVID cases. That’s just public health 101,” she said. 

Courtesy of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions

Race data also continues “lag” and has been for several weeks. 

“Race is unreported for the majority of cases through the week of March 21. This makes it challenging to identify inequities across racial groups, limiting the public health interventions that eliminated COVID disparities in Flint,” the report said. 

To combat the surge in cases, the FCHES recommended the following for policymakers:

  • Closing schools and pausing youth sports
  • Ordering restaurants and bars to cease in-person dining
  • Reimplementing strict limits on public gatherings

Genesee County Health Department officials want to remind the community of the seriousness of COVID-19. They recommend that residents continue to wear their masks; maintain a six-foot distance from others; avoid touching their eyes, nose and face; and disinfect frequently. 

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...