Current data on confirmed COVID-19 cases in Flint and resources to stop the spread

FLINT, Michigan —  Locally, the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the city of Flint. According to local and state reports, Flint’s current risk level for COVID-19 remains “very high risk.” This continued rise in positive COVID-19 numbers has a direct negative impact on local hospitals.

Earlier this year, the federal government and the State of Michigan requested from local hospitals up-to-date inpatient data for positive COVID-19 cases. On October 22nd, 2021 McLaren Flint reported that since June 1st of this year a total of 254 admissions were due to positive COVID-19 patients. The breakdown revealed that 201 of these patients who were admitted for COVID-19 were unvaccinated. The total number of deaths from the unvaccinated patient population was 30 in McLaren alone. 

Hurley Medical Center, Flint’s only public hospital, also feels the severe impact of positive COVID-19 patients that are unvaccinated. As of October 15th, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the seven-day average of bed occupancy is 97.4% of adult inpatient beds are currently occupied within HMC. The Emergency Department at HMC has also seen 66 positive COVID-19 cases in the last seven days. A simple breakdown of that number would be to imagine every room in the adult ED at HMC filled with positive cases twice over. 

Over the last week, Flint has averaged 181 positive cases and the hospitals remain at 98% of their ICU bed capacity. 

This week's data reports that 48.9% 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. In September daily new cases in Flint were documented at 17 per 100,000. As October comes to an end the total number of positive cases continues to rise to 44.6 positive cases per 100,000. 

Community efforts to fight the increasing spread of the virus require testing when showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Here you can find a link to free testing centers within Flint and surrounding areas. 

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.