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Health Officer Expects Low Summer COVID Infection Rates

Linda Vail Zoom image
Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail, speaking with reporters via Zoom on Tuesday

Ingham County’s top health official says low COVID-19 case rates are likely this summer.

No new COVID cases were reported to the county Tuesday, the first time that has happened since last June.

Health Officer Linda Vail says the number of new coronavirus cases in Ingham County is small enough that the graph depicting the county’s cumulative total during the pandemic has flattened.

Vail adds that the rate of positive COVID test results has been slow to fall below the goal of three percent, but it recently dropped to two percent. “You expect those things to come down together," Vail states, "and you expect hospitalizations and deaths to lag behind them.”

That’s exactly what has been happening. Only two people are currently in intensive care at Lansing hospitals, and only one is on a ventilator.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports that 500,000 COVID-19 vaccines in Michigan will expire in August if left unused.

Vail says she doesn’t know how many of those doses might be in Ingham County. Some Johnson and Johnson vaccine doses have had their expiration date extended.

Vail adds that the health department will continue to hold vaccination clinics, while sharing doses with other counties to reduce waste, saying "we have sent vaccine to Isabella County, to Shiawassee County, we have sent vaccine to Washtenaw County, and we will be vaccinating as much as we can between now and August.”

Vail says most of the county’s vaccines are from Pfizer, which can be frozen for six months. Since most of it began arriving in April, it wouldn’t expire until October.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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