BARRY COUNTY, Mich. — Barry-Eaton District Health Department issued a statement Friday agreeing that “significant personal and community actions are needed to reduce the current COVID-19 surge.”
Health officials say that while a lot of attention has been placed on in-school transmission of the virus, the “majority” of transmission has been happening outside of classrooms.
Moving schools to virtual instruction for the next two weeks and pausing youth sports activities for the same amount of time will help reduce spread in Barry and Eaton counties if both are done, the statement said.
“The rise in cases in our district is mostly stemming from activities outside of in-person learning – social activities like family gatherings, sleepovers and sports,” the statement said. “Just in the past week, we have identified new outbreaks at birthday parties, sports parties, sleepovers, funerals, restaurants, churches, daycares, youth sports teams, schools, long-term care (nursing homes), banks, office workplaces and apartment complexes.”
The rate of coronavirus cases in Eaton County is nearly as high as it was back in November, and the county’s positivity rate sits at 21.5%. Barry County’s is also considered high at 16.5%.
In addition to gatherings, health officials believe the B.1.1.7 variant is causing much of the surge and they urge everyone to get tested for the virus if they develop symptoms or believe they were exposed to it.
SEE MORE: CORONAVIRUS IN WEST MICHIGAN