By Colleen Lehmann
DCHD Public Health Liaison
Happy New Year to all . . . hope you are well as we begin to navigate 2022. The end of 2021/start of 2022 has been a challenge at J600, with record numbers of positive COVID cases and testing demands. Just this past week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2, there were 218 new cases (170 unvaccinated, 48 vaccinated). Four of those daily totals were 56, 48, 59, and 40 – and that was cutting down testing time to 3.5 hours due to staffing shortages. By comparison, the previous week’s total number of new cases was 133. The seven-day rolling positivity rate for Douglas County as of Dec. 27 was 13.9 percent, with Region 6 positivity rate at 11.5 percent.
Currently, DCHD is following 292 active/close contacts, and the county has seen a total of 4,331 cases and 46 deaths since the pandemic’s start. Testing so far today is on pace to set another record number of positive cases. Speaking of testing … We are experiencing a backlog in rapid testing supplies so are having to make changes to our testing schedule this week. I have attached a PSA regarding those changes and the reasons for them. I’d also like to point out that we are trying to discourage people from lining their vehicles on roadways when waiting in line for a COVID test. The line should remain within the parking lot area of Tuscola Outlet Mall, so as not to disrupt traffic flow.
With December coming to a close, I can report the following COVID numbers for 2021. There were 2,402 new cases and 14 deaths recorded in Douglas County for 2021. We began recording vaccination status in September 2021. In that four-month period there were 1,379 new cases — 1,162 of them unvaccinated and 217 vaccinated.
IDPH figures show Douglas County has 49.02% of residents with at least one vaccine, and 44.83 percent are fully vaccinated. There have been 3,133 boosters administered to county residents. We thank everyone who has taken this important step in protecting themselves and the greater community.
News on the COVID front …
Late last week, IDPH adopted CDC guidance on shortening isolation and quarantine periods for the general public. This is for everyone other than schools, higher education, corrections facilities, and long-term care facilities – interim guidance for these entities is expected any day and will be shared as soon as it is released.
The quick version on isolation is that anyone (regardless of vaccine status) who tests positive for COVID should isolate for 5 days, followed by another 5 days of strict masking. If symptoms abate after the initial 5 days no further isolation is required. See the attachment for more information on quarantining.
DCHD looks forward to reinstating weekly COVID clinics this week. On Thursday, Jan. 6 we will be back at Tuscola Community Building for appointment-based vaccinations of J&J, Moderna, and Pfizer. Appointments can be made online at dchealthdept.org. As of today, we have almost 200 appointments on the schedule this week.
Thank you as always for your support, your patience, and your understanding as we navigate these trying times. Here’s to all of us finding some measure of normalcy in 2022.