Workers helping in flood recovery testing positive for COVID-19 in Bay County
(6/11/2020) - Mid-Michigan flood recovery efforts could be tied to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Bay County.
More than a dozen of workers helping with the clean-up have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Bay County was starting to see a decrease in the number of positive cases, so they are trying to track down these workers who tested positive. But that hasn't been easy.
"It's very concerning to us," said Bay County Health Officer Joel Strasz.
About 333 Bay County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since March, but now people who have recently visited the county have Strasz concerned. He said 19 people over the past few days have tested positive for the virus.
"We discovered they were workers related to restorations efforts taking place in Midland," Strasz said. "We reached out to those workers, but there is significant language obstacles to overcome.".
He believes most of those workers are from Texas or Florida. They were staying in Bay County while working for a company handling flood recovery efforts in Midland.
Strasz did not want to identify the company Thursday, but there was another problem once the positive tests came back.
"We initially notified the employer to have the affected positives quarantine and isolate themselves in their hotel rooms and then what we have learned is a number of these people have gone back to their home states," he said.
Strasz said the health department has been working with the employer and the Midland County Health Department to get in contact with the workers and find out who they were in contact with while they were in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
"It's virtually impossible to determine at this point who they have come in contact with," Strasz said.
He said one person from Mid-Michigan who had contact with the workers from Texas and Florida has tested positive for coronavirus.