CORUNNA — For a second consecutive week, Shiawassee County Health Department officials are reporting a double-digit increase in new coronavirus infections.
In its weekly update Wednesday, the health department announced the number of local cases has risen to 284 confirmed infections, up by 11 from 273 reported a week ago.
There are currently 16 active cases of the virus in the county — twice as many as last week — and 241 people have recovered, according to the health department. Twenty-seven county residents have died of COVID-19 related issues — none since July 1.
Statewide, health officials reported 996 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, noting the spike in cases can partially be attributed to a backlog of test results from a commercial lab. Overall, the state has reported 80,172 cases and 6,172 deaths since March.
While Shiawassee County only reported four confirmed cases of the respiratory virus throughout the month of June, July has proven to be a different story. Local cases have jumped by more than 30 this month, according to the health department, from 251 confirmed infections July 1 to 284 Wednesday. During that same span, recoveries increased by 24 to 241.
Shiawassee County Health Director Larry Johnson attributed the recent rise in cases to the gradual reopening of society, noting virus-related restrictions today are far different from the “Stay home, Stay Safe” orders imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in March and April.
“What we’re seeing now is that the cases are in younger people (under the age of 60) that are out in the community,” Johnson said Tuesday during the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Topics @ Twelve meeting. “They’re showing an easier ability to recover as opposed to the elderly that may have underlying health conditions, so that’s a positive, but yet it does show that they’re still susceptible to it, they still can get it, they can still get pretty sick and even die.”
In Shiawassee County, the majority of people diagnosed with the disease so far have been older than 50, accounting for 180 of the 284 confirmed cases.
Of the 11 cases confirmed this week, however, only two were attributed to individuals older than 50, according to the health department.
The county’s hardest-hit areas continue to be the Durand and Owosso ZIP code areas with 102 and 98 cases, respectively. Many of those diagnoses came early among senior citizens living in long-term care facilities, including Durand Senior Care and Rehab, Pleasant View, The Meadows and The Lodges of Durand.
Women account for 193 infections and men 91, however, deaths among men outnumber those among women 16-11 — similar to state and national trends.
Johnson said the health department is currently working to increase the amount of testing in the county, noting Memorial Healthcare and Convenient Urgent Care are currently the only facilities providing tests.
Drive-thru testing, in which individuals would receive a nasal swab without leaving their vehicles, is currently being explored by the county, Johnson continued. Further information regarding drive-thru testing will be announced in the coming weeks, he said.
Elsewhere, Saginaw County reports 1,704 cases and 122 deaths.
The village of Chesaning has 36 cases, many of which were tied to a long-term care facility. The village of Oakley, and Chesaning and Chapin townships all report fewer than five infections. Brady Township has eight total cases while Maple Grove Township has 10.
Clinton County has 324 cases and 12 deaths. The Mid-Michigan District Health Department reports cases in Duplain, Ovid and Victor townships, but doesn’t provide specific numbers.