COVID-19 vaccination cases and easy-to-use tools for tracking numbers in Flint

FLINT, Michigan — According to local and state reports, Flint’s current risk level for COVID-19 is “very high risk.” This week's data reports that 48.5% of Flint residents are vaccinated in comparison to the CDC’s recommendation of at least a 70% vaccination rate to effectively work towards the goal of herd immunity. Daily new cases in Flint have increased from 17 per 100,000 in September to 40.4 COVID-19 positive cases per 100,000.

Over the last week, the Flint metro area has averaged 164 new confirmed cases per day. 

Flint hospitals report having, in combination, a total of 159 staffed adult intensive care unit beds. 121 of the ICU beds are currently filled with non-COVID patients and 28 beds are with COVID patients.

To stay up to date with exposure notifications, Michigan has an exposure notification app for ios and android. The app is called ‘MI COVID alert’ and is free for all users.

The app has partnered with John Hopkins University and maintains patient privacy. It's able to notify the user if anyone - anonymously - has tested positive, locally. The goal of the app is to help the community stay ahead of any further outbreaks. 

COVID ActNow is another resource and website that's quick in providing daily updates on numbers locally and nationwide. The website is a nonprofit that sources its data from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and official state and county dashboards. 

Current recommendations to decrease the further spread of the virus include wearing masks for vaccinated individuals in public indoor spaces. Indoor gatherings should be avoided with people outside the immediate household unless gathering includes all vaccinated members. Travel should be avoided unless it is necessary or you are fully vaccinated. 

The Genesee County Health Department offers walk-in, no appointment needed vaccination clinics. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for those ages 12 and older, and the GCHD is offering the booster vaccination and the third dose of the vaccination, which are not the same.

The booster vaccine for Pfizer is recommended in: adults 65+, individuals 18+ in long term care facilities, individuals 18+ with underlying medical conditions including, but not limited to cancer, cerebrovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, smoking (current or former), HIV, dementia, neurological disease, Sickle Cell Disease, and substance use disorders.

The booster vaccine is also recommended for those with increased risk of COVID-19 due to occupation or institutional setting. The third vaccine dose is different from the booster dose because it is recommended for certain immunocompromised individuals. 

If you haven't received the COVID-19 vaccine, some steps to take to protect yourself and reduce the rate of infection is: avoid close contact with others, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, wear a face mask in indoor public spaces and outdoors where there is a high risk of COVID-19.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit: cdc.gov/vaccine

Read more articles by Jenifer Veloso.