37% boosted as COVID-19 infections continue

Courtesy Image An illustration of the coronavirus provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ALPENA — State health officials report just 37% of Northeast Michiganders have received a booster shot of the coronavirus vaccine as dozens of Northeast Michiganders continue to get infected.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services this week for the first time began reporting the percentage of residents of each county who have received booster shots of COVID-19 inoculation.

While 59% of Northeast Michiganders completed the initial round of the vaccine, the new data shows just 37% of area residents have received a booster shot, including 35% of Alpena County residents, 41% of Presque Isle County residents, 34% of Montmorency County residents, and 36% of Alcona County residents.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges all adults to get a booster shot as the effectiveness of the initial doses — most given last year — wanes.

The chart below shows the percentage of adults in each county and statewide who have received a booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine. The story continues below the graphic.

Meanwhile, local public health officials reported Monday that 46 Northeast Michiganders had been newly infected or probably infected with the coronavirus in the past week. That’s down from 61 newly infected residents last week and 61 the week before that, but still up notably from just 19 Northeast Michiganders infected in the week ending April 4.

Infections have started to rise again across the nation as a new subvariant of the omicron variant of COVID-19 takes hold, prompting some localities to reissue facemask mandates.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has not reinstituted any of its coronavirus-related mandates.

The chart below shows the number of newly infected Northeast Michiganders reported by local health departments each week. NOTE: The health departments have occasionally adjusted numbers downward as data is reviewed, meaning new cases sometimes show as a negative number. The story continues below the graphic.

Despite new infections on the rise, the new strain of the virus appears less dangerous than prior strains.

This week, Northeast Michigan public health officials reported just one death of a Northeast Michigander who had been infected with the coronavirus, after reporting zero deaths last week.

The chart below shows the number of new COVID-19-related deaths reported each week by local public health departments. The story continues below the graphic.

Hospitalizations are down, as well.

As of Monday, three COVID-19 patients were admitted at MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena, none of them in intensive care, compared to twice that amount last week. The hospital was 92% full as of Monday.

The chart below shows the number of COVID-19 patients admitted at MyMichigan Medical Center Alpena. The story continues below the graphic.

Overall, the newest phase of the pandemic seems far less severe than earlier periods.

In the week ending Dec. 9, for example, local public health officials reported 529 newly infected Northeast Michiganders and 13 deaths, while the hospital reported 24 COVID-19 patients, four of them in the ICU.

The total number of new infections could be higher, as the data doesn’t account for any positive results from home testing not reported to local public health departments. It also doesn’t account for asymptomatic people who never take a test but could still spread the disease.

Since February 2021, Northeast Michigan health officials have reported confirmed and probable infections as one number. A person counts as a probable infection if they’d been exposed to a confirmed infected person and are showing symptoms but hadn’t been tested, themselves — such as family members of infected people.

Since the pandemic’s start in mid-March 2020, public health officials have reported 11,293 Northeast Michiganders infected or probably infected and 288 related deaths.


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