‘Things are not great’: The impact of COVID-19 in Barry-Eaton counties


BARRY and EATON COUNTIES, Mich. (WLNS) — A report from the Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) says that things are not great, “especially for the unvaccinated.”

According to the report, Barry and Eaton Counties are seeing more COVID-19 cases per capita than the state average.

The Mitten has approximately 509 weekly cases per 100,000 people, while Barry and Eaton counties are averaging around 689 cases per 100,000 in the last week.

These rates are the highest rates that the two mid-Michigan counties have seen so far.

The health department says it can only investigate a fifth of the cases being reported.

The health department also reports that the situation in schools is “concerning,” but COVID-19 safety policies can help.

Schools that require universal mask-wearing have fewer outbreaks and less than half as many school-related cases per capita.

In September, the health department rescinded the mask mandate after pushback from parents.

Courtesy: BEDHD

In order to create change, schools are adopting the test-to-stay policy, in which those who would be ordinarily quarantined due to a school-based exposure are able to test every morning before school.

Though testing supply is low in both counties, BEDHD is partnering with the Michigan National Guard and HONU to bring more rapid testing access to both Barry and Eaton counties.

There are plenty of vaccines available for adults, but pediatric vaccines are limited in availability.

Courtesy: BEDHD

More providers and pharmacies in Barry and Eaton Counties are beginning to offer vaccines.

The Barry Eaton District Health Department issued the following recommendations:

  1. Most importantly, get vaccinated. Get your children vaccinated, and talk with your loved ones about getting vaccinated.
  2. Stay home if you are sick. Keep your children home if they are ill, whether you know it’s COVID-19 or not.
    Follow isolation and quarantine recommendations.
  3. Wear a mask when indoors, around others that you don’t live with. Given the current level of spread in Barry and Eaton counties, this is the CDC recommendation as well. If your child’s school does not have a universalm masking policy, encourage your child to wear a mask and provide them with spare, clean masks.
  4. Choose your activities wisely. Choose gatherings where most or all people will be vaccinated or test negative before the event.
  5. Workplaces should re-evaluate their policies and practices to reduce transmission between co-workers or
    workers and the public. Screening, testing, ventilation, and vaccinations are all effective mitigation strategies that should be layered. Meetings should be held virtually whenever possible, especially if people are not required to wear masks.

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