MARQUETTE — On Friday, the Marquette County Health Department and its medical director Dr. Bob Lorinser issued an update on COVID-19 locally.
He provided the following current COVID information for Marquette County:
≤ Currently, Michigan is the worst state in the nation in COVID cases by population.
≤ 15% of all COVID tests are positive in Marquette County.
≤ In Marquette and in an unselected group or mix of people, the chances that someone is contagious with COVID is 10-20% for a group of 10 and 30-40% for a group of 25.
≤ Delta variant is easily transmitted to and from children and adults.
≤ The risk after being vaccinated (cumulatively from Michigan data, Jan. 1 through Nov. 5): 1.5% of being reinfected; 4 out of 10,000 of being hospitalized; 2 out of 10,000 of dying, with nearly 90% of them over the age of 65.
≤ The risk of the unvaccinated as compared to the vaccinated (Centers for Disease Control data): of being infected, sixfold; of being hospitalized, nearly 20-fold; of dying from COVID, 11-fold.
≤ The average number of new daily cases in Marquette County is 37.
≤ Since January 2020, at least 1 in 8 people who live in Marquette County have been infected (8,700 cases) and at least 1 in 767 people have died (87 deaths).
≤ Fully vaccinated rates for Marquette County: all ages, 60%; greater than 12 years of age, 68%; and greater than 65 years of age, 93%.
A recent review of Marquette County hospitalizations:
≤ 50% of the hospitalized secondary to COVID receive their diagnosis at the time of admission. They were ill and contagious usually for days without being tested.
≤ It is uncommon to see a patient hospitalized if they received monoclonal antibodies to treat their COVID illness when it is indicated.
≤ The age range of patients is from the 30s through the 90s, including those without any medical problems and “healthy.”
≤ The average length of stay is nine days.
≤ Hospitalizations and deaths are still a pandemic of the unvaccinated.
The MCHD release also listed mitigation efforts which have been proven to work: vaccines (the best long-term solution to return to normalcy), masking and social distancing.
The release listed “additional items to consider”:
≤ About one in five health care workers have left medicine since the pandemic started.
≤ Pandemic fatigue and the consequences felt by the pandemic — social, emotional, economic and psychological — to mention a few, is overwhelmingly problematic.
≤ Distrust of public health experts and the vaccine is common.
≤ COVID infection is still possible for those without weaning immunity from infection or vaccine. It is estimated that more than 30% of our community is still susceptible.
≤ Most of the COVID transmission takes place before one is “sick” and contact investigation and tracing are ineffective in preventing the transmission of COVID.
Lorinser stated: “Working together, we will accomplish more than separately. So let’s move hand in hand, forward, united, each doing our part to protect yourself, your families and friends and our community and return to a life we enjoy and cherish.”
Lorinser also wrote: “On behalf of my Marquette County Health Department colleagues, I, as their medical director, would like to share with the community our recommendations based on our current COVID situation.
≤ Believes it is time for greater personal and community responsibility in addressing COVID. Therefore, we will serve as your public health experts and provide guidance and support as desired.
≤ Remains concerned over the preventable hospitalizations given lack of testing, lack of use of monoclonal antibodies and lack of vaccinations. This needs to be addressed by the entire community, not just by the health department.
≤ Strongly recommends vaccinations of all eligible — the only safe way to protect yourself in the long term during this active pandemic. We recommend all medical practices and pharmacies offer the vaccines to any eligible clients.
≤ Supports other mitigation measures such as masking and social distancing.
≤ Recommends over-the-counter testing as a valuable and underutilized tool to identify infection and to prevent transmission.
≤ Will re-evaluate our contact tracing efforts and focus on those at greatest risk of harm (death and hospitalization).
≤ Will work to provide education and guidance for our community members to lessen the burden on our current medical and hospital system including advocating for the expansion of locations that provide rapid COVID and influenza testing, vaccination and monoclonal antibody or other treatments when indicated.