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Calhoun County continues to see unprecedented cases of COVID-19

Bronson Battle Creek
Posted at 5:21 PM, Nov 19, 2020

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Like many west Michigan counties, Calhoun County is still seeing unprecedented cases of COVID-19.

On Thursday, Battle Creek Public Schools announced all of its students would go remote starting Monday due to the strain the virus has put on their staffing.

In just one month, Calhoun County said they saw a nearly 250% increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The health officer for the county said they can't sustain these numbers if they continue to increase at this rate.

"If we continue on this trajectory, we’re going to be in a significant crisis situation," said Calhoun County Public Health Department's Health Officer Eric Pessell.

Calhoun County reached a cumulative case count of over 4,600 on Thursday.

"Now it’s at an unprecedented scale and continues to go up. Our 24 hour case rate are over 100 cases a day which is something that we did not see at all in the first three months of this pandemic," said Pessell.

As for deaths, the county said they've doubled the number of they had over the past six months, in just one month's time.

"It took seven months to get to our first 50, and it took us four weeks to get our second 50. It’s a life. Each one of those is a family," said Pessell.

They said their positivity rates are even higher.

"We need to have that percent positivity below three. That’s where it needs to be so that there’s very little spread in the community, and we would be able to contact trace and case investigate at that point. 15% positive rate when you’re doing 1000 tests a day, that’s 150," said Pessell.

While Pessell said there is a vaccine in sight, he said there are still many months until it will be available to the general public.

"Until that happens, we all have to double down on our protocol. Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but that light is going to be a dark next four, five or six months," said Pessell.

Pessell said he feels like a broken record continuing to tell people, but he wants the message to get there. He said to follow the new guidelines, wear a mask, social distance and not gather to help lower those numbers so eventually everyone can be back together again.