Genesee County, MI—Despite the vaccine, fall of 2021 is proving to have more cases than 2020 in the Flint area. The increase is largely driven by those who are unvaccinated, according to a recent report by the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions.

“We’ve been in an upswing for a few months now, whereas last year at this time we’d had a really low case count through the early fall,” Rick Sadler, a geographer and assistant professor at the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University, said.

According to data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, there were 1,297 confirmed cases in Genesee County for September 2020. This year, the count has risen to 2,006.

“The fact that there are more people vaccinated doesn’t totally change the landscape or the possibility of who can get infected, because the vaccines aren’t 100% effective,” Sadler said. “Counties and regions with lower vaccination rates have seen rapid, huge outbreaks because they don’t have that level of protection.  So even if our cases here inch upwards, the vast majority of cases are going to continue to be in unvaccinated individuals.”

Currently, 56.5% of Genesee County residents aged 12 and older have received their first dose, while 52.1% are fully vaccinated.

Currently, the testing positivity rate has remained at 11% since the previous reporting week of Sept. 26.

For the week of Oct. 3, approximately 900 cases were confirmed in Genesee County with around 100 coming from Flint. Countywide, this was an increase from the previous week. In Flint, cases decreased from the previous week.

As demand for testing increases, case data continues to lag significantly. Testing labs across the state are backlogged, according to the FCHES.

Courtesy of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions

Health experts have made it clear that it takes approximately 2-3 weeks to have complete reporting on cases for any given week. Recently, the data lag has been more significant. This means that numbers may be higher than Flint Beat first reported for the previous week.

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...