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Central Michigan health officials concerned after surge in COVID-19 cases

The Central Michigan District Health Department has reported a surge in COVID-19 cases in its six counties of jurisdiction and that has health experts concerned.
Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 3:31 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN, Mich. (WJRT) - The Central Michigan District Health Department has reported a surge in COVID-19 cases in its six counties of jurisdiction and that has health experts concerned.

On Monday, the department reported that there have been nearly 400 cases of COVID-19 so far this month, which is already higher than the 286 cases that were reported in all of September. The number of hospitalizations has also doubled in recent weeks.

“I’m very concerned,” said Steve Hall, a health officer with the department.

The Central Michigan District Health Department covers six counties from Isabella, Clare, Gladwin, Arenac, Osceola to Roscommon. Hall said that new cases are coming from all over these counties.

Hall said it’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason that cases are surging right now. He said that the cold weather is forcing more people inside and that could be playing a role. He also said that the Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling about Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive authority could also be impacting this.

“A lot of people took that as saying we don’t have to do that anymore, regardless of what MDHHS has done since then,” he said.

Hall also said that people are also probably suffering from “COVID fatigue.”

“In all honesty, I think we have COVID fatigue," Hall said. "You know, we’ve all been dealing with this for seven months and there’s definitely a sentiment you know like everyone else, we’d all like this to be over.”

Adding to the equation, Hall also said that contact tracing has become a much larger operation than before.

“When we first started you might talk to them, you know a case and when you try to identify who their close contacts were, you know, it might have been two or three people total," Hall said. "Now you’re getting into situations where it might be 20 or more. So that it’s just because you know we have more freedom, we’re leaving.”

The bottom line though is that health official want everyone to continue to take this virus seriously.

“I know we’re all tired of it," Hall said. "We’ve been dealing with this for seven months but do those simple things like wear your masks, maintain your physical distance, wash your hands, avoid large gatherings, stay home if you’re sick. If we all do that we will get through this.”

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