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Berrien County’s latest COVID-19 update good for schools, concerning for unvaccinated

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:08 PM EDT
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BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (WNDU) - In an update to inform the latest COVID-19 trends in Berrien County Wednesday, Acting Health Officer Courtney Davis says more people are coming down with the virus.

“We did see our case rate increase from the week before,” Davis says.

According to Davis, in the last 7 days, Berrien County has seen 193 new cases, an increase from last week’s total, and a 13.5% positivity rate.

The county’s lingering case rate is putting a strain on local hospitals, especially those who are unvaccinated says Spectrum Health Lakeland President Dr. Loren Hamel.

“We are utterly at capacity all across Lakeland. Our emergency departments are packed, our hospitals are full, our staffing is challenging. We don’t have the extra room,” Dr. Hamel says.

While Hamel reports in-patient COVID admissions are reasonably stable, he says approximately 87 percent of the hospital’s roughly 25 COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated, some of younger age.

“If you decided not to have a vaccine, let me just remind you, your risk of getting sick is 4.5 times greater, your chance of being in the hospital is 10 times greater, your chance from dying from the disease is 11 times greater,” Dr. Hamel says..

As for schools, Davis says they have seen an over 50 percent decrease in cases over the last month since mandating students to mask up on Labor Day.

“There is a noticeable correlation between fewer cases and quarantines in our school settings since we have had that public order from asking in place,” Davis says.

In the end, both Dr. Hamel & Davis hope the county sees less cases and more vaccinations.

“We’re all going to have antibodies one way or another. We are either going to get them from the disease, or get them from the vaccine. And if you look at all the data, it is just much safer to get your antibodies from the vaccine,” Dr. Hamel says.

To view the Berrien County Health Department’s live Facebook COVID-19, click here.

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