The Bay Area Chamber of Commerce hosted State of the Community addresses from Bay County Executive Jim Barcia and Bay City Manager Dana Muscott Tuesday, February 16.

The main topic of discussion was how the pandemic has impacted residents, businesses and services in communities around the county. Both Barcia and Muscott explained that while the county and city, like most everywhere, has had challenges with public health and the economy, the county and city governments have managed to adapt and, in some cases, thrive.

COVID-19 has infected nearly 7,000 Bay County residents since the beginning of the pandemic, resulting in more than 250 deaths. The elderly, which makes up about a quarter of the county’s population, has been one of the most severely impacted groups.

Barcia says while the roll out of the coronavirus vaccine has been slower than desired due to communication issues at multiple levels of government and a shortage of supplies, the county Health Department still vaccinated about 5,000 people in January 2021, which is about the same amount of vaccinations normally done in an entire year. Barcia says the county’s goal is to have 70% of the population vaccinated by July 4.

Muscott says city staff had to find new and creative ways to conduct business while the city offices were closed. She says however, services like public safety, public works and wastewater continued to operate in-person every day of the pandemic, ensuring continuity of those services for residents. She says despite the challenges over the past year, Bay City has shown it’s true colors as neighbors helped neighbors and businesses  helped each other to overcome the difficulties the pandemic presented.