KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its community COVID-19 risk map, upgrading 16 Michigan counties to a high level of transmission.
In West Michigan, only Calhoun County is seeing that risk, but many others have jumped to a moderate risk including Kent, Barry and Kalamazoo counties.
"We remind people that we're not completely done with this," said Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department Health Officer Jim Rutherford.
The Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department said it's seeing another rise in COVID-19 cases.
"We're hopeful that this is just a blip. We experienced something similar last year, if you look at the data trending, very similar to what we experienced in the same month last year, so we're hopeful that this is just, you know, again, you know, a blip and that we're not going to go back into some significant climb," said Rutherford.
According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, Kalamazoo County is seeing around 212 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.
Kent County is seeing around 221 cases per 100,000 and Calhoun County is seeing around 241 cases per 100,000 people.
Hospitalizations have been down compared to the start of the pandemic. Rutherford said it can be a credit to less aggressive variants, the COVID-19 vaccine and even antiviral drugs.
"The progression of, you know, the medicines that we’re being able to get prescribed, oftentimes, you can take these at home. It prevents, you know, hospitalizations for individuals. That's key," said Rutherford.
Rutherford said Kalamazoo County is prepared and in a much better spot than it was a year or two ago.
"We're still going to get this. We're still going to get, you know, transmission, but keeping people similar to what you experienced called flu, that you're able to stay at home and, you know, reduce those symptoms, reduce the suffering, and reduce that, that, that unnecessary need to, you know, go to the hospital," said Rutherford.
The CDC recommends that people in counties with high transmission rates wear masks again in indoor, public places to help prevent the spread.