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CORUNNA — A New York Times report Monday highlighted Shiawassee County as one of the biggest hot spots in the entire nation for the rate of COVID-19 infections.

According to the Times, Michigan tops the nation in new cases per 100,000 over the past seven days at 67 per 100,000. New Jersey is a distant second at 48.

Within Michigan, St. Clair County is hit hardest with 238 new cases per day over the last week (67 per 100,000). Shiawassee County residents are at an “extremely high risk” of exposure to COVID-19, the news outlet reported, with 55 new cases or 81 per 100,000.

There are about 68,000 residents in Shiawassee County.

“The recent spike in cases is very concerning and we are seeing more cases in the under-65 age group,” Shiawassee County Health Director Larry Johnson said Monday via email. “We’ve seen numerous recent cases involving school athletics. The variants are more contagious and that is why we must reach herd immunity as quickly as we can.”

The Times’ dashboard says the six worst “metro” areas for per-100K rise all are in Michigan, with the Jackson area worst at 80.1. Owosso (Shiawassee) is at 65.1.

Owosso, the Times said, also is third-worst in the nation behind Monroe and Mt. Pleasant in area’s with rising caseloads at 219 per 100K. Monroe is at 241 and Mt. Pleasant at 230.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the state now has seen 702,499 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 16,239 deaths.

Shiawassee County has recorded 4,319 cases and 84 deaths. The 219 new cases reported since Wednesday’s last weekly update is the highest total since the first week of January when 266 cases were reported.

Statewide, the positivity rate among people tested has been above 10 percent since March 21 and reached a high of 17 percent. Officials say a rate over 3 percent indicates growing infections.

Sunday, MDHHS said the positivity rate in Shiawassee County was 28.2 percent. The rate hasn’t been below 10 percent since March 22. The state said health workers are testing more than 100 people a day.

Hospitalizations have risen dramatically this past week. Memorial Healthcare on March 29 reported two COVID-19 patients. Monday, the facility said it had 17, including three in the ICU.

“We are in a race to vaccinate as many people as fast as we can,” Johnson said.

According to the Shiawassee County Health Department, the county received 1,600 vaccine doses, split evenly between first and second doses. The department has been receiving Moderna vaccines.

In addition, the SCHD received 800 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The department said 980 doses were provided to other organizations to provide shots.

Memorial Healthcare said Monday it received 300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine it intends to use for 16- to 17-year-olds. A clinic is slated for Wednesday for teens in the hospital auditorium.

According to MDHHS, the state has seen 36.5 percent of residents receive at least one dose of a vaccine. Nearly 23 percent are fully vaccinated — about 1.8 million people.

In Shiawassee County, the state says 20 percent of people are fully vaccinated — 11,184 people — while 35.4 percent have received at least one dose.

Vaccination options

n HomeJoy, a Corunna home-care firm, is taking registrations for homebound individuals interested in the vaccine at (989) 666-3887.

n Village Care Pharmacy, M-52 and M-21 in Owosso, is taking registrations at (989) 720-4545.

n The SCHD has opened an online “interest form” available through its website (hipaa.jotform.com/203646139090050) through which people who qualify can sign up to be contacted when an appointment is available. Anyone 16 and older may use the form.

n People also may call (989) 743-2460. Memorial Healthcare is using the Health Department’s waiting list to determine who receives shots. Second-dose clinics are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. The facility is currently contacting people on the SCHD waiting list.

n To get onto Central Pharmacy-Owosso’s list, call or text your name, date of birth and phone number to (989) 725-1344. Central Pharmacy-Laingsburg can be reached by calling (989) 651-1777. The Central Pharmacy-Perry number is (517) 625-8640, press “0” to reach a technician.

n The Meijer online form is available at clinic.meijer.com/register/CL0001.

n VGs is offering some appointments. Visit shopvgs.com/covid19vaccine for more information.

n The Rite Aid vaccine scheduler allows people to find appointments throughout Michigan at https://tinyurl.com/6ytk9mtp.

n Clinton County residents can add their name to the Mid-Michigan District Health Department list at mmdhd.org/covid-vaccine-information/. The website also includes links for a number of other potential vaccination sites.

n The Saginaw County Health Department vaccination site is saginawpublichealth.org/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine/.

Have another local option? Let us know. Email news@argus-press.com.

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