GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Michiganders will likely wear the mask until Easter, said Metro Health’s medical director.
The comment came on Friday, August 14, during a virtual press conference about the Kent County program: Back to Work Safely, a public health monitoring tool being used in Kent County for screening. staff on COVID-19.
Dr. Ron Grifka is the medical director of Metro Health, an affiliate of the University of Michigan Health based near Grand Rapids. Grifka is one of many health professionals and Kent County officials who met on Friday morning almost to discuss infection rates in Kent County and beyond.
Related: Kent County̵7;s public health monitoring tool is working to slow the spread of coronavirus, officials say
Grifka said: “I really hate to say that, maybe we will wear a mask until Easter. “At that point, we should see the end of the respiratory season from winter to spring next year.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Friday she would give out 4 million masks to Michigan residents for free.
The MI Mask Aid partnership will provide masks for low-income residents, seniors, schools and shelters for the homeless. Donations include 2.5 million masks from FEMA and 1.5 million from Ford.
During a press conference on Friday, Whitmer said Michigan’s records were growing, but she wanted to see them drop. She urges Michiganders to use the mask and be alert.
“This virus won’t go away just because we’re tired of dealing with it. The only way we can stop this pandemic, end it, is to take it seriously, ”Whitmer said.
Grifka says the community has done a good job of keeping it clean, staying out of society and wearing masks.
“It’s not easy at all, it’s not fun,” Grifka said. “It really helped to smooth the curve.”
Grifka said he hopes not to see a second wave of the virus hitting Michigan but believes the state will instead see “two or three ripples”.
Grifka said: “We saw a slight increase after Memorial Day, a slight increase after 4 July.“ We will probably see a slight increase after Labor Day, but again as everyone did. mention, the level of ripple was not that great and once again the community did a good job ”.
Grifka said next spring, doctors hope they will have a vaccine. Analysts believe between 50% and 60% of the population will participate in the vaccination and that population education will be very important in the future, he said.
Another happy point, Grifka said, is that increasing social distance and wearing a mask to prevent COVID-19 will also keep flu rates low, which will further help care systems. health care.
Health care professionals in the virtual call discussed lower infection rates in Kent County compared to other parts of Michigan and tools such as check-ups that help employees get back to work.
Participating employers use employee screening tests to check for symptoms or recent exposure to COVID-19 each day before people start working.
Confidential data is sent to the Kent County Health Department so that employees can address the COVID-19 hotspots displayed in zip codes or various economic sectors.
The program is modeled after the employee screening that Meijer is working in at 250 locations.
As of Thursday, August 13, there were a total of 6,987 coronavirus positive cases in Kent County, said Kent County Health Service Director Adam London. The county is reporting a 2.2% mortality rate, which London says is “remarkable” compared to a statewide rate of 7%.
London says the employee screening test is keeping that ratio low just as people in the business sector are “embracing this message, embracing these tools and doing everything they can to make it. Your workplace is as safe as possible ”.
Kent County is testing as much as larger particles east of Michigan, he said, although Kent has fewer positive cases. Positive cases are trending up in the eastern part of Michigan, which London describes as the “red flag”.
Michigan reported 1,121 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, the highest number since May 14. The increase in testing is attributed to the higher number of cases. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Michigan has recorded 90,392 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection.
The community must continue to work together to fight the pandemic, London said.
“We cannot declare victory,” said London.
Also on MLive:
Friday, August 14, Michigan county coronavirus data: 12 counties are now in the ‘green’ zone
4 million free masks will be distributed to Michiganders
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