Flags across the state were lowered to half-mast Tuesday to honor the 500,000 American lives lost to the coronavirus. More than 15,000 of those who died were Michiganders.
Ingham County Health Department Health Officer Linda Vail said she never imagined the damage COVID would have on the country in almost one full year.
“Unpredictable things happen and a half a million deaths is profound. It is devastating. It is devastating to the loved ones that have experienced that and have lost people. It is devastating in many ways. Many of those people died alone,” Vail said.
Health departments here in the greater Lansing area are continuing the fight against the virus.
Cases are trending down across the counties this week with the regional positivity rate dropping from 5.4% last week to 5.1% for Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, and Ingham counties. Jackson, Hillsdale, and Lenawee counties dropping from 5% positivity rate to a 4.2% according to Michigan Safe Start Map.
“I think everything looks really good right now but probably caution moving forward is wise because it’s been really unpredictable, I have to tell you,” Vail said.
Vaccination efforts continue to roll out with some shipments derailed by last week’s storm finally arriving at health departments across the state this week.
“We will have received 39,703 doses and based on scheduled appointments, which we’re hoping to increase on actually, we have 31,248 administered,” Vail said.
Vaccination centers have administered more than 130,000 doses of the vaccine across Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, and Jackson counties.
Michigan is one of the country’s top vaccine providers. Our statewide data shows that 680,961 Michiganders have been fully vaccinated and over 1.2 million have received the first dose of the vaccine.
Vaccination centers are hoping to keep this momentum rolling as more doses are made available but are looking for more volunteer vaccinators to help keep centers staffed.
Hillary Myers is the director of business development at Lansing Urgent Care, a major partner with the Ingham County Health Department for vaccination efforts.
“We’re not a very big company. We’re about 150 employees. But, the owners of Lansing Urgent Care said, if you have six lanes in your pavilion, we will staff four of them,” Myers said.
These volunteers have been taking shifts at the Michigan State University Pavilion vaccination center with the county health department since the county received vaccines in December. Many of them are offering their services as vaccinators before taking their regularly scheduled shifts at the urgent care center.
“Vaccinators are the hardest volunteer to come by, because not just anyone can vaccinate,’ Myers said.
In order to be a volunteer vaccinator, you must have a health background with relevant training. If you or someone you know could be a volunteer vaccinator please contact your local health department to volunteer or register through the MI Volunteer Registry.
Lansing Urgent Care is working on a volunteer website for COVID-19 response by the end of March.
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