TRI-CITY AREA — The number of positive COVID-19 cases and virus-related deaths has continued to decline over the past week.

Both Lapeer and St. Clair counties each reported four additional deaths since Tuesday, April 21, but the amount of new daily positive cases is now in the single digits.

As of Monday, the Lapeer County Health Department says they’ve only had two new cases since Saturday and St. Clair County’s case count grew by 17 in the same three day period.

As of Monday, 24 Lapeer County residents and 20 St. Clair County residents have died from the virus. Lapeer’s case count total stands at 164 and St. Clair’s is 354.

Lapeer County’s overall case fatality rate currently stands at 14 percent, higher than the state average of nine percent.

Health Department Director said that fact is concerning to their agency and it’s something staff will continue to closely monitor.

She believes the fatality rate could be due to two factors in particular—outbreaks of the virus in several longterm care facilities and the limits on testing that were initially in place.

“Although deaths can occur at any age, data has shown that those who are older and/or have underlying health conditions tend to make up a greater majority of the deaths related to Novel Coronavirus-19,” Haskins said.

She went on to say, “Due to short supplies, the initial prioritization for testing by the state was symptomatic, very ill, and those at high risk for contracting the virus. Thus, those testing positive were also more likely to be those with health issues and those very ill. With testing now available for more in the public, the data may well change.”

According to St. Clair County’s statistics, the majority of their 350-plus cases are already considered “recovered.” Per their definition, that means “a patient removed from isolation by a public health nurse with their symptoms considerably improving.”

Of those total cases, 84 required some kind of hospitalization and, as of Monday, April 27, seven percent of the county’s hospital beds were being used for COVID-19 patients.