Bay County COVID-19 Rates Classified as “High,” Health Dept. Updates Recommendations

Bay County is now classified at the “high” community transmission level of COVID-19, according the the Bay County Health Department. In a statement issued Wednesday, Bay County Health Officer Joel Strasz said the COVID-19 case rate is at 100.8 per 100,000 people, with a test positivity rate of 10.3 %. The health department expects those rates to increase in the coming weeks if current trends continue.

In light of updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Strasz said the Bay County Health Department highly recommends that everyone, including those fully vaccinated, wear a mask in public indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the Delta variant and protect others. He said it’s especially important at indoor public gatherings and where social distancing is hard to maintain. The health department is also encouraging businesses, community and faith-based organizations and event organizers to consider the latest public health recommendations.

The Delta variant, which spreads more easily than previous variants, is the basis for the new recommendations. Strasz said COVID-19 vaccines protect against the Delta variant. Breakthrough infections are possible, but those fully vaccinated usually report mild or no symptoms and have a low risk of hospitalization and death. Those who have had COVID-19 are also encouraged to get the vaccine, since they can be infected a second time.

Thus far, 60% of Bay County residents over age 12 have had at least one dose of the vaccine, which is available through the Bay County Health Department, individual providers, Great Lakes Bay Health Center, and many area pharmacies.