Muskegon County health officials say a resident has tested positive for the new, more contagious variant of COVID-19. The news comes from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, who earlier this week announced that nearly 70 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19, had been confirmed in Michigan, with the first known positive case in Muskegon County.
Kathy Moore is Muskegon County’s Public Health Officer. She says the news is cause for concern, but hope remains as well.
“We know that the variant spreads a little easier than some others, so we want to monitor them a little more,” Moore said. “But we also know that the vaccination does have an impact, so it does help with the immunity as well.”
While a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the Pfizer vaccine is effective against the new variant strain, Moore says that there is still a “frustrating lack” of vaccine available to Muskegon County.
But by months end, the health department should have completed vaccinating all of its health care workers as well as those living or working in senior or assisted living facilities; and she says the county believes once that happens, Muskegon will have turned a major corner to ending the pandemic at least on the Lakeshore.
“We do, I think we are seeing that,” Moore said. “We know that the most severe or fatal cases are among that highest risk and vulnerable congregant population,” she said.
Muskegon still is slightly higher than the statewide positivity rate at roughly 5 %, but like all of Michigan, has seen consistent drops in new cases of the coronavirus for over five weeks straight.