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Community Report 4/01

CURRENT NUMBERS and TRENDS 

Even with vaccinations being administered at a rapid rate in Grand Traverse County, cases continue to rise in the county and region. As of March 26th, the 7-day average of new cases was up to 36 per day, which continues to increase weekly. To see direct data, visit our dashboard. 

Some local trends of note currently are: 

  • 21% of the cases in the last month have been in those less than 0-19 years of age, the age group with  the highest percentage of total cases currently 
  • 66% of the cases in the last month have been in those less than 50 years of age; this shift reflects the  success of vaccination the 50+ groups; Only 5% of the cases were in the 70+ age group
  • 61% of the cases had close contact with a known household, social or work contact
  • 90% of the cases were symptomatic; Cases have reported ignoring mild symptoms and continuing to work, socialize or go to school before getting tested.  
  • If you have cold-like, allergy-like, or sinus-like symptoms, please get tested.
  • Variants have been detected in Grand Traverse County and the Traverse City region.  

CASE NUMBERS AND STATISTICS

CASES SINCE  3/26/21DEATHS  SINCE  3/26/21CUMULATIVE CASES PERCENT  POSITIVITY  (7-DAY  AVERAGE)CASES PER  MILLION (7-DAY  AVERAGE)COUNTY  RISK LEVEL
249 4901 10.8% ↑ 211 ↓ E
*arrows reflect an increase or decrease from the previous report 

Additional statistics are available on the MI Safe Start Map and on the Health Department’s dashboard and Facebook page, which updates new case information daily at 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

We urge everyone to remain vigilant and continue to practice mask-wearing, social distancing, keeping gatherings small, handwashing, and avoiding travel if you are sick. If you choose to travel, the Health  Department recommends you get tested for COVID-19 upon returning. Rapid antigen testing is available at the Cherryland Center Mall on Mondays and Tuesdays.  

It is now even more important that EVERYONE continue to do what works to slow the spread of the virus by wearing their masks properly, socially distancing, avoiding crowds, washing their hands often, and making a  plan to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine you can. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and end this pandemic.

COMMUNITY TESTING EVENT POST SPRING BREAK AT TC CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL 

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) is pleased to announce the opportunity for any member of the community to access no-cost drive-thru COVID-19 testing on Monday, April 5, 2021, from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Traverse City  Central High School (1150 Milliken Dr.). Anyone returning from spring break or just wanting to get tested is encouraged to do so! Please pre-register here.

The tests conducted will be rapid antigen tests. Rapid antigen test results will be returned within 30 minutes. Anyone who tests positive on the rapid antigen test or who has symptoms will then be provided a PCR test to confirm the results. PCR test results will take approximately 3 days to process. Additional information and instructions will be provided at the testing site. 

GTCHD TESTING AT CHERRYLAND MALL UPDATE

Rapid antigen testing will now be available at the Grand Traverse County Health Department’s Cherryland  Center testing site. Testing is free of charge and will be completed regardless of symptoms. Testing is  Mondays and Tuesdays by appointment only.  

To book an appointment, follow this link

Due to the rising number of cases in the county, the Grand Traverse County Health Department is asking anyone who is told that they tested positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate at home until the health department is able to reach you. Additionally, any and all household contacts or close contacts should quarantine until the case investigation and contact tracing occurs.

COVID-19 TESTING IN GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY

Grand Traverse County testing sites include:
Munson Healthcare Foster Family Community Health Center (priority 1 & 2 only)
Northwest Michigan Health Services (testing all by appointment)
Rite Aid at Chums Corner (testing all by appointment)
Walgreens at Chums Corner (testing all by appointment)
GTCHD Testing at Cherryland Mall (testing by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays)
See Michigan’s COVID-19 test finder for more options

Testing sites have capacity and tests are available. Individuals seeking tests can call:

  • Their healthcare provider
  • The Munson Healthcare Covid-19 hotline: 231-935-0951
  • The Michigan COVID-19 hotline: 888-535-6136

VACCINATIONS 

Starting April 5th – ANYONE 16 OR OLDER is eligible to get vaccinated …. SAVE YOUR SPOT TODAY! 

Anyone interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in Grand Traverse County is able to fill out the ‘Save Your  Spot’ survey to get in the appointment queue.  

Visit: www.gtcountycovid19.com/vaccine Based on the information collected and eligibility an email will be sent with a scheduling link when appointments become available. All vaccine clinics are currently held at  Northwestern Michigan College’s Hagerty Center and are based on vaccine availability. Vaccine clinics are by appointment only. There are no walk-ins or add-ons at the clinics. 

The health department continues to work with senior organizations locally to vaccinate this high-risk population in addition to the newly prioritized groups by partnering with United Way, Area Agency on Aging, the Senior Center, PACE, and the Commission on Aging to assure those vulnerable seniors and those without internet access are able to get vaccinated.  

Call 231-715-5557 if you need technical assistance with signing up for a vaccine.

WALKTHROUGH THE VACCINE CLINIC AT NMC’S HAGERTY CENTER 

The average visit to the Grand Traverse County Health Department’s mass vaccination clinic at NMC’s  Hagerty Center for a COVID-19 vaccine is under 25 minutes. That includes a mandatory 15-minute observation period after receiving your shot. If you have an upcoming appointment, take a look at the process in under two minutes and know what to expect. 

VACCINATION ELIGIBILITY 

Starting April 5th – ANYONE 16 OR OLDER…. SAVE YOUR SPOT TODAY! 

The most updated prioritization guide from MDHHS can be found here.  

The Pfizer vaccine has demonstrated 91.3% efficacy 6 months after vaccination day. AND it has demonstrated efficacy against the B1.351 (first identified in South Africa) variant. MDHHS reports that variant B.1.1.7 (first identified in Britain) also has little to no impact on vaccine acquired immunity. This is a  bright spot in the face of our rising case counts. 

VACCINATION NUMBERS IN GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY 

Vaccination coverage rates for GT County residents by age group based on the MDHHS COVID 19  Vaccination Coverage Dashboard. Overall Grand Traverse County continues to do well overall with the vaccination of everyone eligible (anyone 16+ moving forward). Our current total cumulative coverage is  46.2% for the initial dose and 33.7% for completed doses.

*percentages include all providers, including Munson, local pharmacies and providers 

DOSES ADMINISTERED AT GTCHD VACCINE CLINICS AS OF 4/01/21: 30,488 Total 

DOSE WEEK OF  3/29 – 4/1CUMULATIVE (through 4/01/21)
Initiated 978 17,440
Completed 1774 13,048

To find the latest statistics regarding COVID-19 vaccinations across the state, you can visit the MDHHS  vaccine dashboard.  

COVID-19 VARIANTS  

  • Viruses change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time.
  • The virus that causes COVID-19 (called SARS-CoV-2) is known to acquire, on average, one new mutation every two weeks. 
  • A number of mutations have been identified, however, the variant first identified in the United  Kingdom (U.K.), called B.1.1.7, is the first “Variant of Concern” for COVID-19 identified in Michigan.  This variant was identified in Grand Traverse County in March. 
  • B 1.351, first identified in South Africa, has also been identified in Michigan. 
  • P.1 was first identified in Michigan on March 31, 2021. 
  • The MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories (BOL) conducts surveillance to quickly identify any variants of interest, including B.1.1.7, B 1.351, and P.1. 
  • B.1.1.7 is believed to be more contagious, but there has been no indication it affects clinical outcomes or disease severity compared to the SARS-CoV-2 that has been circulating across the U.S.  for months. 
    • However, a higher rate of transmission would increase the number of people who need clinical care for COVID-19 with the new variant circulating in Michigan. 
    • At this time, the little-to-no impact is expected for natural immunity, testing, or vaccination.
  • B.1.351, the second variant of concern, has been identified in Michigan. 
    • The B.1.351 variant was first identified in South Africa. 
    • Less is known about the B.1.351 variant at this time, but it emerged independently of the  B.1.1.7 variant. 
    • This variant may also have a higher rate of transmission which would increase the number of people who need clinical care for COVID-19. 
    • Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that this variant has any impact on disease severity.
  • Additional variants are expected to be identified. Visit the CDCs New COVID-19 Variants web page for additional information. 
  • When a variant of concern is identified, state and local health departments will take action to protect public health. 
  • Contact tracing is prioritized for people who have had contact with the variant case(s).
  • A 14-day quarantine (without an option for ending quarantine early) is recommended for close contacts of people who have been infected with the variant. 

Stay Safe to Stay Open

Residents, businesses, and visitors are encouraged to Stay Safe to Stay Open. This includes the following measures while in public:

  • Staying 6 feet apart from others
  • Wearing masks while indoors or even outside when you are unable to maintain social distancing
  • Limiting large social gatherings – not hosting or attending large gatherings
  • Continuing basic prevention measures like frequent hand washing
  • Following workplace safety protocols
  • Daily monitoring of yourself for symptoms including your temperature (even if you feel fine)
  • Staying home if symptomatic – even if it is just very mild symptoms
  • If others in your household have tested positive or are symptomatic, stay away and take extra precautions to not become infected.

About the JOC

Grand Traverse County’s Joint Operations Center has been meeting to coordinate efforts and communication on the COVID-19 pandemic since Friday, March 13, 2020. Members include key community partners from health, government, first responders, education, social service, and business sectors.