On December 15, the St. Clair County Department of Health released streamlined quarantine recommendations designed to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the community while reducing disruption to daily life.
“These updated recommendations will provide the community with greater flexibility and choice in the face of exposure to COVID-19,” St. Clair County Medical Officer of Health Dr. Annette Mercatante said in a recent press release. “We are trying to slow the transmission of the virus while also recognizing the need for society to function so that essential services and needs can be met. It’s a delicate balance and we think this is reflected well in the latest recommendations. “
The advice is universal and applicable to everyone in the county, including working and school people, the release said.
“Quarantine is a strategy used to slow the spread of the disease,” the statement said. “People exposed to the virus are recommended to self-quarantine, while people with COVID-19 are advised to self-isolate for 10 days at home. “
Prevention remains essential to control the spread of COVID-19, the statement continued. A multi-level approach must be followed to ensure a healthy environment, allowing all residents of St. Clair County the best chance of staying healthy. Such an approach should include the following mitigation measures:
- Receive the COVID-19 vaccine (and booster if applicable)
- Wear a face mask indoors or in crowded outdoor places
- Wash your hands frequently
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet from others
- Improve ventilation systems in buildings
- Stay home during illness and get tested for COVID-19
- Follow recommended isolation and quarantine protocols.
For more information, call the information hotline at 810-966-4163, email [email protected], or visit scchealth.co or facebook.com/scchdmi.
Monthly media call, December 9 Facebook Live
As of December 16, the county had reported around 29,050 total cases and 583 total deaths during the outbreak. County health officials also reported a test positivity rate of 23.4%.
In a monthly media call on December 10, Mercatante said there appear to be exposures to COVID-19 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
“However, it should be noted that as the weather has gotten colder over the past month, people have moved indoors and this has also – we assume this has drastically increased the number of cases.” , she said.
She said there does not appear to be a rise in vaccines as the upcoming holiday approaches.
When asked if the Omicron variant was in St. Clair County, Mercatante replied that she did not know.
“Right now we are dealing with Delta,” she said.
On December 1, SCCHD’s COVID-19 testing process changed so that customers now collect their own nasal swab collection kit and consent form from an outdoor cabinet at the front of the building.
Asked about the response to the new process, Mercatante said it had been good so far and there had been no complaints or issues.
“Obviously this is a win for our staff and it looks like it has helped us increase our efficiency,” she said. “We go through about 70 to 90 tests a day which is an increase over what we were doing when we were walking towards the cars, so I think it’s more efficient for our staff and of course I think it is. It’s safer for our staff and for customers too; there is just less interaction and contact between them.
She also noted that the Department of Health was aware there were ongoing tests that are not being reported, with over-the-counter tests now available.
“But it’s okay, because if people know what to do, that’s the important part,” she said. “We would love to see people who test positive to come in and get a confirmatory test going into the system. … As long as they know if they are ready to brief their contacts, stay indoors, and be isolated for 10 days, I think these are the things we really need to focus on.
She said testing is an important tool and people should be doing it in order to make the right decisions for themselves.
During the Department of Health’s Facebook live stream on December 9, Mercatante said it was too early to say whether the county was seeing a plateau in new COVID-19 cases.
“We are still not at the peak we were in the spring, but there are certainly days when it feels and the reporting of leftover cases is still somewhat sporadic.”
Mercatante said the main vaccines currently provided by the health ministry are boosters.
She noted that for every case that the health ministry is aware of, there are one to three that it is not aware of.
“It’s about 2% of our population at any given time that is currently infected with COVID,” she said. “So there is a lot of risk there. It is likely that you will all have exposures or infections in the next few months and we just urge everyone to take the precautions they need to reduce this risk. “
Mercatante also mentioned that the county has monoclonal antibody treatment and that if someone has COVID-19, they should discuss with their health care provider the possibility of receiving it to reduce the risk of severe symptoms. and hospitalizations. Those who do not have a health care provider can contact the health service.
“All of our healthcare agencies, our three hospitals and Tri-Hospital EMS have come together to provide support for an infusion clinic that we run a few days a week to alleviate some of the burden on our hospital systems, which also have monoclonal antibody available, ”she said. “Monoclonal drugs only work if they are given within the first week or so of infection – I believe the limit is 10 days – but the sooner you get them, the more effective they are. So we want people to think about it from the start. There are eligibility conditions, not just for everyone, but we will explain this to you, your doctor knows what these are and will best determine if you will benefit from the monoclonal drugs. It is worth asking questions.
“This is urgent advocacy because across all of our systems, it is the staff resource that is the most limited right now with all the burden of enumerating inpatients,” she said. “Staffing has been an issue for a while, it’s just more critical now and we need those retired nurses who want to give a little back to your community, anyone who still remembers how to do it. intravenous. “
She noted that the volunteers would be checked and must be fully vaccinated.