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Genesee and Saginaw counties set COVID-19 records over the weekend

Saginaw County set its daily record coronavirus increase on Monday with 108 new cases.
Saginaw County set its daily record coronavirus increase on Monday with 108 new cases.(source: Saginaw County Health Department)
Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 2:08 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - Genesee and Saginaw counties both set records for the number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases over the weekend.

The records coincide with a statewide record for the number of new COVID-19 cases confirmed in a single day on Saturday. The 3,338 new cases confirmed in Michigan on Saturday is more than 50% higher than the previous single-day record of 2,015 set on Oct. 16.

The Genesee County Health Department confirmed 211 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday. That includes 130 new cases on Saturday and 81 new cases on Sunday.

Genesee County saw a record of 140 new coronavirus cases confirmed on Friday, which exceeded the previous record of 112 set on Oct. 16. The county is at the second highest risk level for coronavirus spread based on MI Safe Start data through Oct. 21 and is less than three cases per million people below the highest level.

Three more deaths in Genesee County were attributed to coronavirus over the weekend, increasing the county’s total to 305.

Last week, outgoing Genesee County Health Director John McKellar said the October surge in coronavirus cases is caused by people living in close quarters indoors as cold and rainy fall weather sets in.

The Saginaw County Health Department reported its second record daily coronavirus increase of October with 108 new cases on Monday. That easily exceeded the previous record of 81 cases around Oct. 15.

The 108 new cases reported Monday is part of 172 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Saginaw County since Friday. Saginaw County is at the highest risk level of coronavirus spread on the MI Safe Start map with 162.8 new cases confirmed per million people every day.

Health Officer Chris Harrington said most of Saginaw County’s new cases are coming from people not following basic coronavirus prevention measures, such as wearing face coverings, washing hands often or practicing social distancing.

“We still aren’t seeing noticeable clusters or outbreaks associated with specific events or locations,” she said. “Schools and businesses are keeping outbreaks to a minimum.”

Harrington encouraged residents to follow basic COVID-19 precautions and stay home if they feel ill or are exposed to the illness.

“We’re trying to control a disease that is uncontrollable because of human behavior,” she said. “It’s a tough thing to put life on hold for 14 days when you feel fine, but it’s extremely important. Stay home if you’re a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Stay home while you wait for test results. Stay home for a full 14 days even if you test negative, because you may still develop symptoms and be contagious for up to two weeks.”

Harrington is asking residents to reconsider their holiday plans this year to prevent spreading coronavirus among friends and family.

“We aren’t canceling Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas but we’re recommending common sense strategies to minimize the risks," she said. "This isn’t the year for large gatherings where the ‘gift of COVID’ can be shared as easily as food, drinks, and gifts.”

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