On Wednesday morning, the Washtenaw County Health Department reported 327 new infections, twenty-three hospitalizations, and one death in the previous twenty-four hours, the highest daily tally since the pandemic began. Last week’s positivity shot up to 6.2 percent.
Vaccine clinics relying on the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine are paused until more is known about possible health risks. The health department, the U-M, EMU, and Concordia College all cancelled J&J clinics or switched to other vaccines. Office of the President
Geoffrey Barnes, a cardiologist and vascular medicine specialist at Michigan Medicine notes that “The risk of blood clots in patients with COVID is far higher than the very small risk of a blood clot following a COVID-19 vaccine. Overall, the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination greatly outweigh the very small risks.” Michigan Health Blog
On Friday, Governor Whitmer made a series of recommendations to reduce the spread, including delayed return to in-person instruction for high schools, suspension of youth sports, and avoidance of indoor dining and gatherings. But Bridge Magazine reports that people aren’t listening, and Whitmer’s request for more vaccines from the federal government was denied. Even if vaccines were available, they wouldn’t act quickly enough to stem the tide, according to CDC director Rochelle Walensky. Instead, she called on Whitmer “to really close things down.” Bridge
Washtenaw County Health Department spokesperson Susan Ringler-Cerniglia acknowledged that shutdowns and restrictions would be “extremely helpful right now,” however “It’s not clear additional orders would be effective in the current climate, and enforcement becomes a huge challenge.”
Anyone sixteen and older is now eligible for a vaccine, but it continues to be difficult for younger people to get an appointment locally—even as shots are going unclaimed elsewhere in Michigan. Ringler-Cerniglia says that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services allocates doses based on “several factors, including population and the social vulnerability index.” The core problem remains supply and demand: vaccine production worldwide is still far short of the need.
Western-Washtenaw Area Value Express (WAVE) public transit is offering free rides to county residents and employees to Pierce Lake School mass vaccine site in Chelsea, in collaboration with Washtenaw County Health Department. Visit Ride the Wave or call dispatch at 734-475-9494 for details.