Otsego County COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise, Health Department Explains Why
“We share their concern for their well-being in Otsego county, it is certainly an area that we are watching very closely,” said Lisa Peacock, Health Officer with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.
Otsego County has the most cases of any county in Northern Michigan.
According to health department data, Gaylord’s zip code accounts for the majority of these cases and the numbers continue to rise.
The health department says there are several reasons why.
“We recently saw an increase in cases in a congregate living setting which increases risk for spread,” Peacock said.
Peacock says they define congregate living as any close living facilities which includes nursing homes, homeless shelters and foster homes.
“There has been evidence of community spread in Otsego County as well as other areas, so when there is community spread we are likely to see an increased number of cases,” Peacock said.
The increased ability to test is also a factor.
“We’ve been able to test more people quickly, which leads to both a rapid rise in positive results but also allows us to quickly identify positive cases,” Peacock said.
Peacock says there was also a public gathering, before restrictions prevented them, that resulted in positive cases.
But now, social distancing is paying off.
“Otsego County residents are certainly doing their part in following social distancing guidelines and staying home to stay safe,” Peacock said. “We know that because when we are doing these case investigations we see that people are having a minimal number of contacts as we’re generally finding that most contacts are contained within living quarters or workplaces that conduct essential services.”
So, what can you do to stay safe?
“The best protection they can provide themselves is to stay home and only leave to provide essential services or receive essential items,” Peacock said.