Vaccine expansion, Covid positive case rate come to a head in Michigan

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan finds itself look at a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, there’s a lot to be optimistic about: more than 35 percent of eligible people in the state have at least one dose of vaccine.

On the other hand, the state just reported an average of more than 6,000 cases in the last three days.

According to local health officials, the hope is to get the younger population vaccinated quickly in order to get the virus under control because as of early April, it is surging once again.

“Our percent positivity is the highest it’s been since April,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail. “Our case counts are about to match where we topped out in November of last year…and our hospitalizations have gone up 300 percent.”

Covid cases aren’t the only thing that’s going up — vaccine distribution is as well. Vail estimates she’s receiving triple the number of vaccines that she was a few months ago. Sparrow Health Systems is also getting more vaccine and expanding its distribution.

“Later this week we are going to open our indoor vaccination clinic,” said Elizabeth Reust, the vaccination clinic manager at Sparrow’s Frandor location. “The reason we’re doing that is because in the drive thru we’re limited to about 1,000 a day …we can do 2-3,000 per day in the indoor clinic and we anticipate we’re going to get more vaccination from the state as more becomes available so we want to be able to do that.”

Recent numbers indicate it’s increasingly important that younger people get their shots. Not only will that help get to herd immunity faster, but Vail says nearly half of the new cases in Ingham County over the last week came from people in the 10-29 age groups.

She says if people in that demographic take it seriously, it can curb the spread and Michigan could be in much better shape for the summer.

“We have to put some priority on putting those folks in to get vaccinated,” Vail said. “That’s what the data shows…This is the beginning of the end to the extent that people want to get vaccinated.”

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