KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Kent County is continuing to see its rate of new COVID-19 cases increase, but Dr. Adam London with the county health department said there are several reasons to explain the rise in cases.
Tuesday, Kent County recorded 205 new cases of coronavirus, its highest daily case count to date. There are now 1,305 total cases; the majority of them in the city of Grand Rapids.
London said there appears to be a surge in cases following the weekend, with cases being reported in a lump.
"We're seeing coming out of each weekend some irregularities, some surges, and lulls in the numbers reported to us," said London. "I think that's because that these results are being batched in such a way that we're getting large results all at once."
Additionally, the county has made an effort to increase testing and target testing on vulnerable populations, like long term care facilities and shelters, as well as workplaces that are reporting clusters of infections.
"We've done a lot of testing the past couple of days in places like that, places where we expect that we're going to see a higher than average rate of infection," said London. "And so as we do this very targeted testing, and again we are w hunting for illness, we're hunting for virus, trying to find where people are positive, so we can isolate them and protect the others in their surroundings."
London notes it shouldn't be a surprise that as testing increases, so will the number of cases.
For the number of cases within the county, the death rate is lower than the state average. Kent County has 33 deaths as of Tuesday, which means there is a 2.5% fatality rate, compared to a 9% fatality rate within Michigan.
"So while our percentage of cases as a proportion of the state's number is pretty high day over day, the percentage of deaths, which is the number that we're most seriously concerned about, has stayed very low," said London.
While Kent County is seeing this rise in cases, London said that people should still be following public health guidance like maintaining social distance and wearing a mask in public.
In Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's latest stay at home order, it required Michiganders to wear masks or a covering over their mouth and nose in enclosed public spaces unless they have trouble breathing. The state said it won't be criminally enforcing this, but stores have the right to refuse service if someone isn't wearing a mask.
"Everyone who can wear a mask should," said London. "That prevents or limits the possibility of of a person who is infected from spreading that virus to others."
There are some important exceptions to this though, London said.
"Children, especially under the age of two should never wear a mask, the risk of suffocation is too great," said London. "Anyone who has trouble breathing, because of any chronic health condition or, or any other condition should not wear a mask. Anyone who's unconscious, or incapacitated, or who doesn't have the ability to take the mask off should not be wearing a mask."
Watch the full update from the Kent County Health Department here:
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