Kalamazoo County reports COVID-19 cases trending upward

Health officials urge residents to do their part to stop the spread and avoid social gatherings.
Kalamazoo County Health and Human Services
Posted at 12:45 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 12:45:17-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department reports that Kalamazoo County COVID-19 cases are trending upward.

As a result of this, health officials ask all residents to try to stop the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to public health guidance.

Widespread community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring within Kalamazoo County, even though the case rate declined from a peak from Oct. 8-15, cases have about doubled from late April's peak in cases.

Data from Sept. 13-Oct. 13 shows that only 7% of the 1,032 cases lived or worked in high-risk or congregate settings.

This data indicates that transmission is most likely occurring within in the general population, which is drove up the initial increase of cases in September and could have possibly contributed to the increased cases in middle aged (30-59-year-olds) and older adult populations (60+ years)

The data also shows that 18 to 24 year-olds made up 37% of cases during this timeframe.

Most exposures are happening in social gatherings outside of work or school, where people are not as strict with following the public health recommendations in their personal lives.

“If we want to continue to enjoy the little bit of normalcy we have added back in, like businesses reopening and our kids returning to school, then we must adhere to public health guidance in our social lives,” says Jim Rutherford, Health Officer of Kalamazoo County. “As the community starts to re-engage, it is even more critical that we take ownership as individuals. In our social lives, we must hold that responsibility and accountability. We all must do our part.”

Nearly 70% of cases during September 13 to October 13 were symptomatic.

With flu season on the way, Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department is urging residents to get vaccinated against the flu to protect themselves and their loved ones from the influenza virus.

“If you show symptoms, do not make assumptions this year that it is allergies or a common cold. Stay home if you are symptomatic and see your doctor," said Dr. William Nettleton, Medical Director for Kalamazoo County. "With COVID-19 still spreading, getting the flu shot is more important than ever to stay healthy. The influenza vaccine is a safe and effective way to reduce illness, school or work absences, hospital stays, and death due to the flu. The more people are protected from the flu, the more hospital beds and testing supplies can be available during the COVID-19 pandemic. This further protects yourself, your family, and your community."