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Ingham County Health Department ends regular COVID-19 media briefings

Illustration of Virus
Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.

As COVID-19 infections level off in Greater Lansing, the Ingham County Health Department is ending its regular biweekly coronavirus media briefings.

Despite a slight uptick in COVID-19 infections in the last few weeks, fewer deaths and cases of severe illness have been reported in the county. But Health Officer Linda Vail says COVID is not going away.

“We're going to continue to have COVID and COVID is going to become endemic," Vail explained.

Endemic is a term used to describe a disease that does not cause large outbreaks but is still present among the population.

Nearly 72% of Ingham County residents ages 16 and up have received at least two shots of a COVID-19 vaccine according to data shared Tuesday.

“That's another reason that you probably will not see these mask requirements go back up, we have a large percent of our population vaccinated, and we need to let people make those choices," Vail said.

Since the start of the pandemic, 755 residents of Ingham County have died of COVID-19 as of Tuesday.

Though residents in the age range of 25 and 39 have made up the majority of COVID cases in the county, Vail says infections in younger age groups have gone up recently.

"We saw, compared to earlier phases of the pandemic, we saw case rate climbs in our 5 to 11-year-olds as well as in our 12 to 17-year-olds here, which we had not seen in the early stages of the pandemic, a lot of pediatric cases. So that really changed in 2021, and going into 2022," she said.

Most COVID cases in Ingham County were concentrated in the 48911 and 48910 zip codes.

"Many refugees that we have, who are living in more concentrated housing, multifamily multigenerational close housing, are located in the 48911 zip code," Vail explained.

Data from the county shows unvaccinated people are nearly two times as likely to die from COVID compared with those who are vaccinated.

The health department has held regular media briefings to update the public since the start of the pandemic.

While Tuesday’s briefing was the last one to be regularly scheduled, Vail says the county is staying vigilant for two variants from South Africa to see how they could affect transmission in the area.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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