The Health Department of Northwest Michigan, which covers Charlevoix County, issue a press release today stating that they have not yet been notified of tests results showing the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet or Otsego counties. It states that mitigation strategies and response plans are the same for all variants. The full text of the release is available below as well as here: https://wvbi.biccenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/1.6.2022-COVID-Update.pdf.
Health Department continues to encourage masks as source control
with cases increasing and new variants emerging
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan to date has not yet been notified of the presence of Omicron in its four-county jurisdiction of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties.
Although not yet detected in the jurisdiction, Omicron is known to be more transmissible than previous variants. To identify a specific variant a very small percentage of positive COVID-19 tests are randomly selected for sequencing, which takes time to process. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has indicated that rapidly increasing numbers of Omicron cases being identified in other areas of the state and the current pattern of transmission likely indicate that it is present even where it hasn’t been identified yet. With a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the jurisdiction the health department is providing area residents with resources and guidance should they learn of exposure or test positive.
Lisa Peacock, Health Officer for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, is reiterating to residents that, “regardless of variant, if COVID positive or exposed, the protective measures are the same – correct and consistent masking, getting tested, and staying home when symptomatic or while waiting for test results.”
The new guidance document was created to support area residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to a confirmed case to understand quarantine and isolation timelines. It is becoming more evident that a person with COVID-19 is most contagious in the 2 days prior and 3 days following symptom onset therefore it is imperative that everyone understand the steps they need to take to keep themselves and those around them safe. While CDC and MDHHS guidelines for isolation and quarantine have changed, masking recommendations from health officials remain the same – correct and consistent masking in public settings regardless of vaccination status.
“It is important to recognize universal masking in public settings as a method of source control. When masks are worn correctly the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others is reduced. We continue to see an increased risk of spread from asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic cases and those with mild early symptoms onset which supports our recommendations for continued protective measures when in public settings,” Peacock added.
For a list of vaccine providers and locations in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties, click here. To schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan exclusively for children 5 to 11 years old, click here. To schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment with the health department for anyone 12 and older, click here. A parent/guardian must accompany those younger than 18 to a COVID-19 clinic. Please bring an insurance card to the appointment. Anyone with questions or unable to find a time or date that works for them and/or their child may call the health department at 800-432-4121.
Stay up to date on the latest information in the Health Department of Northwest Michigan jurisdiction by liking and following our Facebook page and visiting our COVID-19 Data Dashboard. To locate a testing facility, visit the Michigan COVID-19 Test Finder website. To track the risk levels of COVID-19 pandemic indicators, visit the MI Safe Start Map website. For more information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the MDHHS vaccine website or the CDC vaccine website.