JACKSON, Mich. — City officials in Jackson are putting the masks back on in an effort to keep people safe. This comes as the CDC has not only issued guidelines recommending mask-wearing regardless of vaccination status but also another rise in COVID rates.
Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies says this is about protection.
“We wanted to do whatever we could to keep our city staff and the public servants safe,” Dobies said. “Since we're charged with protecting the public health do what we can to keep our residents and business community safe as well.”
Public Health officials such as Vice President of Population Health Dr. Courtland Keteyian are saying the Delta variant is driving these numbers up.
“The Delta variant has proven to be easier to transmit much easier to transmit than other variants have been so far and so if you actually look at and compare the delta variant is probably one of the easiest to transmit viruses in history,” Keteyian said.
Health experts use a formula called r-naught to show how communicable or transmissible a virus is. The higher the number, the more transmissible. Keteyian says this variant is as contagious as chickenpox.
“For flu that number is typically around please around one to two. So, one case of flu will typically infect maybe wanted to other people estimates of covid originally where somewhere around maybe numbers vary but maybe you know two to four in that range. The delta variant is estimated to be closer to 7 or 8,” Keteyian said.
That number is being reflected in the number of people testing positive for COVID.
“Jackson County is considered high-risk transmission at this point,” Keteyian said. “That means our positivity rates have surpassed 10 percent which is very high. We've actually seen locally with the testing that we do at the hospital that we're seeing closer to 20 percent.”
Doctors are seeing a big rise in hospitalizations again. At least at Henry Ford Allegiance.
“People are still getting very sick and it's still very easy to spread,” Keteyian said. “we have more cases now in the hospital. We have 11 people hospitalized currently. A few weeks ago we had zero.”
Misinformation still playing a key role according to doctors.
“I think there's a lot of misinformation and honestly it's hard to understand just where all that comes from and the motivation behind so much of it,” Keteyian said. “Fighting a pandemic is something we have to do collectively and it's hard to do that when there's almost different information and so many things that are sort of providing opinions that are the conflict. Whether it’s getting vaccinated or getting a mask, the experts are all in agreement that masks prevent people from getting and transmitting covid and vaccines prevent people from dying from COVID.”
City hall will continue to operate in person.
“To go back to digital we would have to declare another local state of emergency and then pass a measure to enable us to have digital meetings so that we're not circumventing the Open Meetings Act,” Dobies said. “I don't think we're at that point yet I think that we will still be able to meet. We will still be able to be in council chambers. We’ll just be protecting ourselves with masks and hopefully people continue to get vaccinated to help protect the public health as well.”
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