Officials urge vigilance and vaccinations

TRI-CITY AREA — The number of new COVID-19 infections continue to rise and health officials are urging residents to continue taking all the necessary precautions to stop its spread.

In the past week, Lapeer County has recorded 532 new cases and St. Clair County has seen 1,685. Those numbers exceed the weekly total for new cases seen during the “second wave” experienced in late November and early December. Between March 30 and April 5, eight residents of Lapeer County and 12 from St. Clair County who contracted COVID have died.

Officials continue to believe variants of the virus are causing the rapid spread, with the UK or B117 variant being the most prevalent.

“Where we go from here is all up to us. We can either step up, follow the science, and help bring this under control, or watch it continue to spread,” said Lapeer County Health Department Director Kathy Haskins.

“It’s not a harmless disease. Many who contract it continue to have ongoing health issues. They’ve survived, not recovered.’”

Haskins said that as of Monday morning, 36 people were hospitalized locally with the virus, with six in the intensive care unit. Regionally, health officials say that hospitals are nearing their limits and some larger facilities are no longer accepting patient transfers.

Haskins stresses that it’s imperative that everyone continues to follow ongoing guidance regarding wearing face masks, maintaining physical distance, regular hand washing, quarantines and getting the vaccine. Dr. Annette Mercatante of the St. Clair County Health Department echoed those same sentiments in a letter to the editor in this edition of the Tri-City Times.

As of Monday, April 5, everyone 16 years and older is eligible to be vaccinated.

As of Tuesday, appointments were still available for two special clinics organized by the Lapeer County Health Department. (See inset)

Beginning next week, the Lapeer County Health Department will begin offering later appointment times with clinics on Tuesdays and Thursdays that extend to 7 p.m.

To request an appointment through either health department, visit their respective websites, or

As of Monday, April 5, Lapeer County had a total of 5,904 confirmed cases and 137 virus deaths. St. Clair County had a total of 13,242 cases and 275 deaths with more than 4,000 active cases.