On December 23, St. Clair County Health Department staff started receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and shared the moment with photos posted to the department’s Facebook page.

New virus cases drop but death figures
remain steady, health officials report

TRI-CITY AREA — The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to trend lower but, unfortunately, Lapeer and St. Clair counties’ weekly death numbers have not dropped.

Between December 22-28, 11 Lapeer County and 16 St. Clair County residents died from the virus. The week prior those figures were 10 and 14, respectively. As of Dec. 28, Lapeer County had 97 COVID-19-related deaths and St. Clair County had 144.

The rate of new coronavirus cases fell by more than half in the past week in Lapeer County. Only 128 additional cases were confirmed Dec. 22-28 as compared to 316 between Dec. 15-21. To date, Lapeer County has 3,538 confirmed and 432 probable cases. Still, the county continues to exceed the state average for several metrics including the test positivity rate (13 percent Lapeer, 8.7 percent state) and daily new cases per 100,000 (32.6 for Lapeer and 28.8 for MI).

“As of this morning there were 17 confirmed cases hospitalized locally, with 5 in ICU, of which 3 were on ventilators,” said Lapeer County Health Department Director Kathy Haskins.

St. Clair County’s new case rate also dropped but not as dramatically–323 additional cases in the past week versus 445 from Dec. 15-21. Fortunately, the number of active cases continues to drop–a trend seen over the past two weeks. There were 210 fewer residents actively battling the virus in the past week as compared to Dec. 15-21. As of the 28th, the health department was reporting more than 3,000 active cases. The county’s case total stood at 6,831 with 3,597 considered recovered.

Both departments continue to work on administering COVID-19 vaccines. The Lapeer County Health Department said they received 400 doses of the Moderna vaccine last week and have been administering it to county residents that fall within the state’s Tier 1A prioritization guidelines like health care workers. On December 23, the St. Clair County Health Department announced they had started administering the Moderna vaccine to their staff.

On Monday, state officials announced that a campaign to vaccinate residents and staff of skilled nursing homes had begun through Michigan’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care Program.

Michigan health officials have set a goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders over age 16, about 5.6 million people, by the end of 2021.