Genesee County, MI— For the third week in a row, COVID cases in Genesee County are declining and health officials are working to “backfill” race data that has been missing for months.

Between February and April 2021, Genesee County saw a resurgence of the virus, at one point ranking third highest in the nation for cases relative to population.

“Typically, race data is not reported with lab results. That’s information that we’re able to get during the process of investigating cases. Some laboratories report race data, some laboratories don’t even collect race data, because that’s not something that a laboratory needs to collect to run a test,” Kayleigh Blaney, deputy health officer for the Genesee County Health Department, said.

Courtesy of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions

Due to the spike and an overburdened workforce, health officials were unable to follow up with individuals for race information. But now that cases are down, health officials have more resources to backfill the data, according to the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions. 

Since last week, case counts decreased by 48% in Genesee County and by 41% in Flint, according to the FCHES. In total, the health department reported just over 400 cases for the entire county. 

The downward trend is consistent across all age groups, the report said. However, the majority of cases continue to be driven by youth under 19-years-old.

Courtesy of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions

Cases are likely decreasing because vaccination rates have increased, thus fewer people are catching the virus, Rick Sadler, a geographer and assistant professor at the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University, said.

At present, 45% of Genesee County residents have received their first vaccine while 33% are fully vaccinated. 

Information about drop-in vaccine clinics can be found here.

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...