Local agencies offer support to seasonal
workers who tested positive for the virus

LAPEER COUNTY — A localized outbreak of COVID-19 has been identified in the migrant worker population. In the past week, Lapeer County’s new virus cases have grown by 34 and, on Monday, the county’s health department director said the vast majority of those cases were among the migrant population that live and work in the Imlay City area.

Kathy Haskins said a cluster of eight confirmed infections were identified late last week among the seasonal agriculture workers and, as a result, additional testing was performed on Friday.

“Many of those test results have now come back, with an additional 24 cases identified, most of whom are connected with the original reported cluster. At this time, the majority of these cases involve three of the camps, and a couple private residents. Public health, Great Lakes Bay Health Care, and the Hispanic Service Center are working diligently with the businesses and their workers to enable them to self-quarantine in their areas of lodging,” Haskins said.

“Other local resources have also graciously stepped up to assist with needed provisions to help contain the situation and education in order to help contain and stop the spread.”

Haskins said those affected include both workers who’ve recently arrived and others who have been in the area for some time. Because they can’t determine the initial or first case among the cluster, officials don’t know if the virus was contracted locally or not.

“Different crops are ready at different times, so the ones who do move tend to move based on this,” she noted.

“They are an important part of the work force for these farms.”

Two other cases were confirmed on Wednesday, June 17, before the cluster of infections was identified, bringing the week’s total to 34.

Haskins encouraged all residents to remain diligent in their every day actions to stay safe and prevent the spread of the disease.

“Not everyone who is infected with the coronavirus associated with COVID-19 will have symptoms. Also, don’t assume that your runny nose, sore throat, or low-grade fever are just ‘allergies.’ If uncertain, get tested.”

She stressed that wearing masks in public, maintaining social distance from others, hand washing and disinfecting surfaces remain the best defense against the virus.

“There are no other tools in our toolbox that will stop the spread of the virus at this time,” Haskins said.

Lapeer County’s total case tally now stands at 228 with 149 considered recovered from the virus. There hasn’t been a virus-related death in more than a month.

St. Clair County stats

In the past week, St. Clair County has reported an additional nine coronavirus cases and four deaths. That brings their case total to 530 as of Monday, June 22, with 49 deaths.

The county’s health department says 441 of the 530 residents have recovered from the illness.