Bay County Health Officer concerned as county sees rise in COVID-19 cases

Published: May. 12, 2020 at 5:11 PM EDT
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As a number of mid-Michigan counties see the rate of positive COVID-19 decrease, Bay County is concerned because its seeing a jump in cases.

A Bay County resident was the first coronavirus patient in mid-Michigan back in March.

He has since recovered and the county's COVID-19 totals have been manageable.

But the county health officer there is concerned because they had a spike in cases over the past week.

Bay County has more than 200 positive coronavirus cases in all, certainly not one of the highest counts in the state, but about twenty percent of those have come in the past seven days.

"Yes, its a pretty big jump," says Bay County Health Officer Joel Strasz.

And that jump has Strasz concerned. For a time, health care workers made up more than fifty percent of the COVID-19 cases in the county, those front line workers who have to care for patients.

But Strasz says there is evidence of community spread, as a business outside of the health care field has infections.

"It was a business where workers share tools, they work in close quarters with each other," he says.

He did not want to identify the business, described as essential, but about five of its workers tested positive.

Strasz says the company is making safety improvements. One reason for community spread is people who test positive are not always able to go into a proper quarantine for 14 days.

"If they don't isolate themselves properly, and they may not be able to do that either, especially if they are living in close quarters, the disease will spread pretty rapidly through a particular household," says Strasz.

He says Bay County will eventually begin to reopen its economy in the coming weeks, but people will have to stay vigilant in warding off the virus.

"As the state begins to open up more and more, as we interact more and more with each other, we have to realize that the chance for the virus to spread is very much real and very much there," he warns.

New numbers out today shows Bay County has 214 positive cases, an increase of ten from yesterday.