Officials once again recommend indoor mask wearing for all


TRI-CITY AREA — Both Lapeer and St. Clair counties are now considered to be at the “substantial” community transition level for COVID-19. In response to rising case numbers, local health officials are recommending that all individuals wear masks while indoors in public.

“The Delta variant of COVID-19 is highly contagious and increases the risk of illness and outbreaks. That is why a layered protection strategy is once again needed to help stop the spread of the virus. Vaccination remains the best tool in our toolbox to prevent COVID-19 infection, severe disease, hospitalization, and death. However, adding back in another tool, like wearing your face mask while indoors, will help ensure everyone is doing their part to protect our community against the Delta variant,” said Dr. Annette Mercatante, Medical Health Officer.

Kathy Haskins, Lapeer County’s Health Department Director, said they’ve seen a definite rise in cases between Thursday, August 5 and Tuesday, August 10.

“We learned last Friday of three additional lab samples that were sequenced, indicating they were the Delta variant. Only a small sampling of tests are sequenced across the state. I believe it is safe to say that the Delta variant is active in the county,” she said.

As of Sunday, Aug. 8, Lapeer County has moved from “Moderate” to “Substantial” in terms of the Level of Community Transmission. The a Seven Day Moving Average of Cases/100K population as of August 9 was 51.37. The percent positivity of COVID tests stood at 6.3 percent. Between July 31 and August 6, Lapeer County confirmed 40 new cases along with 20 probable cases.

As of Monday, August 9, St. Clair County’s case rate stood at 54.67 per 100,000 persons with a test positivity rate of 5.68 percent. Between July 31 and August 6, St. Clair County recorded 85 new cases. Neither county reported any virus-related deaths during that time period.

“We understand the frustration brought on by the length of the pandemic and with the changing recommendations. It has been an exceptionally difficult period. However, as more is learned about the virus and the new variants, we must change our recommendations accordingly. Please know that we recognize the potential impact our guidance can have on the community and weigh those decisions carefully,” said Mercatante.

Haskins stressed that all three vaccines currently available “prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19, including the Delta variant.”

Vaccines remain widely available including from both county’s health departments, area clinics and pharmacies.

Lapeer County’s next drive through vaccine clinic will be held Monday, August 16 from 3-7 p.m. at The Bells, the former Almont Elementary School, located at 401 Church Street.