Like most of the U.S., Livingston County is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases that can only be described as gobsmacking.
How bad are the numbers?
Before I tell you just how bad the numbers are, I have to say this: If you are planning a big Thanksgiving dinner with people from multiple households — or if you’ve accepted an invitation to one — I pray you reconsider. You will be gambling not only with your health, but the health of those you love. Big Thanksgivings dinners during this pandemic don’t bode well for merry Christmases.
Just don’t do it.
This past week has been Livingston County’s deadliest of the pandemic. (Correction: According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website, there were eight deaths in Livingston County between April 23-30.)
From the first COVID-19 death on March 24 to Nov. 13 — a span of nearly eight months — there were a total of 34 COVID-19 deaths, an average of about 4.5 deaths a month.
In just this past week — from Nov. 13 to today, Nov. 20 — there have been five more deaths.
In just one week.
And the numbers are only going up.
Since Nov. 1, the number of confirmed cases in Livingston County has skyrocketed 86.5%. In the past two days alone, there have been 342 more confirmed cases. The community averaged 91 cases a day for the last two weeks.
The rate of positive tests is 13.3%, a rate that has nearly doubled since Nov. 1, a rate comparable to Michigan’s 13.8%.
More tests and higher positive results indicates “significantly increased transmission in the community,” according to the LCHD, an increase that “far eclipses the daily number of positive cases from the first wave of COVID-19 earlier this year.”
There are so many cases that the LCHD, like all health departments in Michigan and across the country, is struggling to keep up with the increased demand for case investigation. It has adopted a new strategy to investigate only confirmed cases involving those younger than 19 and older than 64, as well as students attending in-person schools, and those in congregate living environments. Everyone else is notified of their test results by the lab or ordering provider, and are mailed an isolation packet.
This is not a time to ignore the numbers. This is not a time to ignore the warnings. For your sake — as well as for the sake of your family and friends — have yourself a merry little Thanksgiving at home, alone.