Saturday, October 23, 2021

Ingham County becomes an area of substantial COVID-19 transmission

August 6, 2021
<p>Campus on Sept. 18, 2020. MSU has put up large posters around campus to encourage students and the community to practice social distancing and to wear masks.</p>

Campus on Sept. 18, 2020. MSU has put up large posters around campus to encourage students and the community to practice social distancing and to wear masks.

Photo by Annie Barker | The State News

Ingham County is now an area of substantial transmission of COVID-19.

In an Instagram post shared via the Ingham County Health Department account, the department announced that the county has been deemed an area of substantial transmission. 

Areas of substantial transmission are those that have surpassed 50 cases weekly per every 100,000 people. 

“The CDC has metrics that they use to determine substantial, so the state worked with the data to calculate our data based on those metrics, and the metrics say that we’re at substantial,” Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said.

She said that Ingham County’s substantial status is not a determination from the health department, but rather a classification of the county’s current situation.

“I didn’t make it,” Vail said. “I just looked at the CDC map and said ‘We’re at substantial.’"

For comparison, neighboring Eaton County currently sits at a moderate risk level, which means that it has surpassed the threshold of 10 cases weekly per every 100,000 people, at 41.7.

Vail recommends residents of Ingham County wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. She also said that it would be wise to wear masks in crowded outdoor settings as well. 

“I do hope that a lot of businesses will decide that they’re going to enforce it,” she said. “You could have businesses with large outbreaks or a large number of cases or an exposure source or things like that, and they can prevent that from happening, and they also can protect their employees.”

Vail also said that Ingham County’s status can fluctuate, as the data is based on daily numbers.

“On one day you can go over the threshold for substantial, and the next day you can go back below it, and that’s what’s happening,” she said. “I might’ve had a whole bunch of cases report to me yesterday, and then not for the next couple of days, and that can cause a lot of fluctuation.”

Vail said that the most accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19 risk levels is on the MI Safe Start Map Website, under the CDC Transmission Indicators Framework. She said that this data accounts for anomalies like duplicate cases and false-positive cases that may throw off the data.


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