Genesee County, MI—COVID cases in Genesee County continue to rise dramatically. Last week, the Genesee County Health Department reported approximately 1,600 new cases, numbers similar to that of fall 2020.
According to the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions, Genesee County has the third highest number of new cases in the nation relative to population with a positivity rate of 20.9%. This is 5% higher than Michigan’s weekly positivity rate of 15%, the highest the state has ever recorded.
The majority of cases, more than 80% are outside the city of Flint.
Missing race data continues to increase with case counts. In Flint, nearly half of all reported cases last week were of an “unknown” race.
Michigan has quickly become the epicenter of the pandemic. According to the New York Times, the state accounts for over 10% of the nation’s daily cases, and is “home to 16 of the 17 metro areas with the nation’s worst recent case rates.”
Director for the Centers for Disease control and Prevention Dr. Rochelle Walensky issued a statement April 12 recommending that Governor Gretchen Whitmer “close things down” to intervene with the surge.
Whitmer urged high schools to close for two weeks and asked residents to consider takeout instead of indoor dining, but the recommendations were voluntary.
As a response to the increase in cases, Flint Schools paused in-person learning and all athletics indefinitely.
To combat the surge in Genesee County and in Michigan FCHES made the following recommendations.
- Policymakers should enforce a state-wide mask mandate as an increasing number of Michiganders are “refusing to wear masks”
- Barriers to vaccinations, such as requiring individuals to provide identification and documentation, prevent the most vulnerable populations from getting vaccinated. Policymakers should “address the inconsistent and unnecessary policies across vaccination centers and pharmacies”
As of April 16, 36.9% of Genesee County residents have received their first dose of the vaccine.