COVID-19 

Saginaw County Updates

Below is the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Saginaw.

For more information, please visit www.saginawpublichealth.org 

https://mailchi.mp/cac0656a2374/za8rmzwml3-4598928?e=e47a17d97b​

August 31, 2020

UPDATE for Saginaw County 8/31/2020

 

Cases in Saginaw Co.

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department was informed that 2375 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Here are the numbers:

Positive 2375 (+42 from Friday)
Recovered 1329 (+22 from Friday)
Deaths 128

 

 

What Can YOU Do?

So many of you have reached out to us asking what can be done to curb the rise in cases in Saginaw County. Thank you for commitment to serving as an important influencer in this fight against COVID-19. You play a vital role.
 

#1 – If you’re healthy:

CONTINUE TO WASH YOUR HANDS. WEAR YOUR MASK. WATCH YOUR DISTANCE.
 
#2 – If you’ve been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19 (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes):
 
STAY HOME!

  • Contact your healthcare provider immediately. Monitor yourself for symptoms. Get tested, stay home while you wait for results. Stay home for 14 days even if your test results are negative.

#3 – If you have symptoms (fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste/smell, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, etc):
 
STAY HOME! 

  • Contact your healthcare provider immediately to get tested for COVID-19 or to rule out other illnesses. Stay home while you wait for results. If positive, stay home until you can go 24 hours without a fever (without taking fever reducing medications), and your symptoms have improved, and at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms began. If negative, stay home until your symptoms have improved.

What we’re seeing is sick people continuing to be actively out and about when they are contagious. They aren’t staying put while they wait for results and are infecting others for days.

Equally concerning are those who think that a negative test result gives them a “get out of quarantine” pass. It does not! People who have been in close contact with a positive case need to stay home for a full 14 days until the incubation period passes.

If you have questions, please reach out to us on the COVID-19 hotline at (989) 758-3828.

 

 

COVID-19 and May Flooding

As you all know, our fight against COVID-19 took an interesting turn in May when our county, along with four others, experienced historic storms and flooding. The health department’s role in county-wide emergency preparedness was vital – especially as we implemented safe sheltering for those 700+ households (and a long-term care facility) evacuated during the pandemic.
 
Saginaw County Emergency Manager Lt. Mark Przybylski recently reported to us that of the 600 or so houses impacted in some way by the floods, several were successful in filing claims for flood insurance. In addition, nearly 500 have registered with FEMA for disaster assistance with nearly $1.4 million paid out already. The deadline to apply with FEMA is September 8.

May’s flood is just one more example of how Saginaw comes together to help our friends and neighbors. As part of the recovery efforts, the Saginaw County Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group formed with representatives of Saginaw County government, local non-profit agencies, charitable organizations, corporations, and faith-based groups working collaboratively to make sure everyone affected by May’s devastating severe storms and flooding is aware of and connected to recovery process details and resources. Information is available at www.reliefsaginaw.org and on Facebook @SaginawCoEM.

Wear Your Masks, Saginaw!

It’s one of our 3 Ws. So we’re passionate about asking everyone to put aside divisiveness and political points of view. Just this one simple act  – along with handwashing and social distancing – will help us battle COVID-19 in Saginaw County.

The CDC has created a new website to help you decide how to select, wear, and clean your mask. We hope this is helpful.

We encourage you to refer to www.mistartmap.info, the Saginaw County Health Department website at www.saginawpublichealth.org and our Facebook page. We continue to post timely information and videos to answer some of the most urgent questions we are receiving from partners and the public.


Be well. Stay home. Stay safe

August 20, 2020

Cases in Saginaw Co.

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department was informed that 2126 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Here are the numbers:

Positive 2126 (+28 from yesterday)
Recovered 1210 (+27 from yesterday)
Deaths 126

New Reporting Form for Businesses

In an effort to assist businesses in complying with Executive Order 2020-161Safeguards to Protect Michigan’s Workers from COVID-19, we have created a mechanism for electronically reporting COVID-19 cases within the workplace. The order requires that all businesses immediately notify the local public health department when an employee is identified with a confirmed case of COVID-19.  

Businesses with knowledge of a confirmed COVID-19 positive employee should visit www.saginawpublichealth.org, go to the "Information for Businesses and Employers" section of the Coronavirus page, complete the COVID-19 Reporting Form in its entirety, and submit it to the health department within 24 hours of notification. 

Submission can be completed by using the “SUBMIT” button on the form or via email to covid19@saginawcounty.com. Feel free to contact the Saginaw County Health Department at 758-3887 with questions regarding the form or reporting process.

COVID-19 Reporting Form

School Guidance Efforts Focus on Safety

In addition to helping dozens of county businesses safely reopen and manage their protocol for handling and reporting COVID-19 positive cases among staff and customers, the health department has been hard at work helping our 14 districts and several parochial school systems prepare for return to learning in the fall.

The following is a list of presentations and other pertinent school reopening documents, including an extensive toolkit we have published on our website and sent to all superintendents.  

  1. Parent Forum via Facebook Live event last week: View the Slide Deck (you can also view the presentation on our Facebook page here)

  2. July 15 school administrator meeting: View the Slide Deck

  3. August 14 school administrator meeting:  View the Slide Deck

  4. Overall page information for schools with some documents posted: Information for Schools and Childcare Facilities

  5. Toolkit Part A and Part B:  

July 6, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,295 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,295
Recovered 704
Deaths 121

July 6, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,284 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,284
Recovered 695
Deaths 120

As we look at our data, we are pleased to see no new deaths for several days. This is encouraging.

What is concerning over the course of the past two weeks is an increase in the average number of contacts per positive case of COVID-10. It has risen from 2.52 contacts/case to 4.34 which means that cases are having more direct contact with others as people continue to leave their homes.  This underscores the need to stay vigilant in practicing prevention (hand washing, covering coughs, staying six feet away from people, wearing a mask, and staying home if you feel ill).

Please know that ANYTIME we leave the house we are increasing our RISK of coming into contact with COVID-19.

Hand Sanitizer Health Alert

 

The CDC and FDA are warning consumers and health care providers that there has been a  sharp increase in hand sanitizer products  labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested.

Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Seek immediate medical attention and contact your poison center (1-800-222-1222) for advice if you have swallowed a hand sanitizer product or are experiencing symptoms from repeated use of these products that are on the “FDA’s testing and manufacturer’s recalls” list (https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitzers-methanol),

  2. Stop using any hand sanitizers that are on the “FDA’s testing and manufacturer’s recalls” list because using these methanol-containing products may result in serious adverse health events (e.g., blindness and death), and

  3. NEVER swallow hand sanitizer and only use it for its intended purpose.

Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who accidently ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk.

To clarify, we want to remind everyone to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol (also referred to as ethyl alcohol). And be sure the hand sanitizer you’re using is NOT on the FDA’s recall list.

June 25, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,195 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,195
Recovered 608
Deaths 120

Health Department Navigates Reopening for Regular Services Amid Continued Pandemic Response

The laboratory will welcome back clients beginning Monday, July 6, for by-appointment-only drug testing. Those requiring this service are being instructed to call the health department at (989) 758-3825, ext. 4 or check Facebook for daily instructions about scheduling appointments online.

Only one client at a time will be allowed to enter the building, except for minors who need to be accompanied by a legal adult. Masks are required to enter the building and all visitors will be screened.

Throughout the shutdown, health department staff has balanced Zoom appointments with clients, answering questions and providing guidance on the COVID-19 hotlines — AND contact tracing positive COVID-19 cases. COVID-19 has been an “all hands on deck” crisis that continues. So navigating back to regular services is challenging given our limited resources. Our re-opening, like so many other businesses, will be gradual, thoughtful, well-planned and safe.

The dedicated individuals on this staff are among the true heroes of the pandemic and we ask that you join us in thanking them for their dedication during unprecedented times. If you’d like to send a note of thanks, please send it to cvasquez@saginawcounty.org.

June 24, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,187 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,187
Recovered 600
Deaths 120

The rise in recovered cases is always encouraging. While we are seeing a slight uptick in daily cases from 3.4 to 5.3 percent, our positivity rate (the number of positive cases among those tested) is still good.

As you know, some states are seeing large increases in cases. These should be a wake-up call for us. We need the Saginaw community – even as we re-open more and more – to remain vigilant in wearing masks, washing hands, covering our coughs, maintaining social distance, and staying home if we feel sick. COVID-19 is not gone, and we must – as a community – work together to prevent the spread until a treatment or vaccine is available.

June 23, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,172 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,172
Recovered 535
Deaths 117

 

This Week's Facebook Live Event

The Saginaw County Health Department invites you to join them again for a Facebook Live event at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 24. Appearing with them this week will be Dr. Nicholas Haddad, MD, FACP, FIDSA, CIC, an infectious disease specialist with CMU Health. The topic will be vaccines and the processes in place for vaccine development for COVID-19. They hope to answer questions many people have about timing for a vaccine, prioritization for vaccine distribution, mass vaccination efforts, impact – if any – on flu vaccinations and more.

Find Them On Facebook >

June 11, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,120 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,120
Recovered 362
Deaths 114

 

Testing Expands Again for Anyone Who Wants It

This week the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) expanded testing criteria once again. At this point, anyone who wishes to be tested for COVID-19 can go to the drive-thru sampling site at Great Lakes Bay Health Centers at 501 Lapeer Street at no cost, with no doctor’s order required.

Rite Aid on State Street in Saginaw is also doing testing through riteaid.com.

We STRONGLY encourage anyone considering testing to first talk to a primary care provider for guidance. Negative results do not mean that you may not still contract COVID-19. Diagnostic testing will provide results on whether active infection is present or not within your body. You could still develop disease or get exposed in the days or weeks after your test. With that being said, even with a negative test result everyone should remain vigilant in following good prevention habits including:

  • Frequent hand-washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol)

  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and if you are in public places wear a face covering to protect others around you

  • Clean and disinfect surfaces in and around your home, workspace, vehicles, and other common areas, and  

  • Abide by the governor's Stay Home Stay/Safe Order and if you feel sick, make sure to isolate yourself from others.

 

As always anyone who is experiencing symptoms should definitely first consult with their primary care provider to discuss testing, isolation, and treatment options.

June 9, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,111 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,111
Recovered 331
Deaths 112

Data Analysis Sheds Light on County’s COVID-19 Response

Thanks to our access this summer to a graduate student studying epidemiology at the Michigan State University, we are getting much-needed analysis of our COVID-19 data and will be sharing it with you as it becomes available.

As of the end of May 2020, the data depicts:

  • 33% of our positive cases came from congregate living facilities (nursing homes, jails, assisted living facilities, homeless shelters, hospice facilities)

  • However, these cases represented approximately 20% of our county’s deaths.

  • 20% of our positive cases came from health care workers. Of these, 68% had known health care contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

  • While Saginaw County has yet to display the racial disparity seen in other parts of the state as it relates to COVID-19, our numbers do reveal that while African Americans make up 19% of the county demographically, nearly 28% tested positive for the disease. Many of the earliest cases were among residents in the City of Saginaw. But countywide, less than 17% of all COVID-19 related deaths have been African Americans.

  • Central Michigan University is currently undertaking a study to examine why racial disparity was not as apparent here in Saginaw County as it has been statewide. We believe some of the factors may include:

    • Early testing – Saginaw County was among the first county to send testing samples to the State Lab for testing and has continued to expand testing efforts with many community partners

    • Buy-in from entire health care system – we had all hospitals at the table early to collaborate and coordinate efforts related to testing, PPE, safety protocol and standards of care

    • Our efforts to stay home/stay safe resulted in our hospital system never being overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases

    • The health department’s accessibility and communications with providers, schools, and businesses provided much-needed guidance for decision-making and safety precautions

    • Our Emergency Management Plan is sound and was successfully implemented

June 5, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,083 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,083
Recovered 331
Deaths 110

Crime Prevention Council Releases Letter

 

Saginaw’s Crime Prevention Council – of which the Saginaw County Health Department is a member – released a letter today to the media. We think it speaks volumes about the organizations involved in the council and their stance on police brutality, oaths of office, and equity from all aspects!

As your local health department, we ALWAYS advocate for equity, especially as it relates to health and wellness. In times like these, when in some parts of the state a pandemic affects one population more than others, it brings to light health disparities that public health fights continuously and passionately.

Saginaw County has yet to see racial disparity in our COVID-19 numbers. For that, we are grateful. In the coming weeks, you will learn more about our data as we benefit from the work of a volunteer epidemiologic graduate student. We will also be asking you to advocate strongly for adequate funding to build a more robust public health system to ensure that Saginaw County prevents disease, prolongs life, and promotes health FOR ALL.

 

June 3, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,060 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,060
Recovered 321
Deaths 109

 

COVID-19 Testing Available to All

he David R. Gamez Great Lakes Bay Health Center at 501 Lapeer Avenue in Saginaw is offering COVID-19 testing to anyone, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. There are no longer symptom or physician order requirements to be tested at this site. Sample collection is free for anyone living in Michigan, but identification and insurance cards (if available) are required. Those without health insurance can still be tested.

Drive-through or walk-up testing is available. Nasal swabs are taken outside in a tent or while seated in your vehicle. Results are communicated back within a few days.

In addition, Great Lakes Bay Health Centers is hosting a testing event in Buena Vista Charter Township next week. Testing will be conducted in the Town Green Park (next to Sav-A-Lot) on  Tuesday, June 16, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. or for as long as testing supplies last.

May 22, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 978 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 978
Recovered 247
Deaths 104

 

Celebrating Memorial Day in 2020
 

Memorial Day Weekend is Michigan’s official welcome to summer. It’s a popular time for traveling up north, hosting family barbeques, and gathering for parades and neighborhood celebrations. Unfortunately, Memorial Day Weekend 2020 is happening in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – and historic flooding -- as our state is still officially under Stay Home/Stay Safe orders.
 
So what does that mean for us here in Saginaw County?
 
It means we’re still washing our hands frequently, cleaning commonly used surfaces, wearing face coverings, maintaining social distance, and going out for essential purposes like work (for some), groceries, and gasoline.
 
As of yesterday, Governor Whitmer is allowing small gatherings of 10 people or less, as long as participants are outside and practice social distancing.
 

Remember:

  • Stay outside

  • Keep your distance

  • Keep your hands clean

  • Wear a mask if possible 
     

So, in the spirit of safer gatherings, here are some suggestions to celebrate Memorial Day and honor the men and women of our Armed Forces who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty:

  • Have a special patriotic-themed cookout and play yard games. End the evening with a campfire/fire pit and s’mores

  • Relax by your pool if it’s open and ready

  • Create your own drive-in theater in the backyard or driveway, playing old favorite movies to honor your favorite veteran

  • Use sidewalk chalk to create a patriotic thank-you message on your driveway

  • Organize a socially distant “parade” and drive creatively decorated vehicles through the neighborhood

  • Make your home a vacation destination with red/white/blue or tropical decorations

  • Make a donation to an organization that supports veterans

Please remember, it is up to each of us to do our part in this fight against COVID-19. In protecting ourselves and our families, we protect each other. 
 
To ensure your safety, remember these tips:

  • Be careful when grilling

  • Wear seat belts if traveling

  • Operate all watercraft as they are intended and wear life jackets

  • Maintain social distancing both in and out of water

  • Don’t share snorkels or goggles

  • Avoid contact of any kind with water in the Bad River, Shiawassee River and Saginaw River as recent heavy rains have resulted in the discharge of untreated sewage into them
     

Due to flooding:

  • Stay away from all puddles, rivers and streams

  • Do NOT attempt to drive vehicles around road barriers for road closures

  • Stay away from downed power lines

  • Stay away from stray or wild animals, and do not touch dead animals

  • Never use electrical equipment in wet areas, and

  • Do not let children go outdoors alone

May 20, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 962 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 962
Recovered 231
Deaths 100

 

Flood Advisory and Guidance for COVID-19 Safety

We are incredibly saddened and concerned that floods are now added to the list of potential health hazards for our county as we battle COVID-19. However, the recent heavy rains have resulted in the discharge of untreated sewage into the North Branch of the Bad River. Elevated levels of E. coli bacteria can be expected as the plume of sewage flows to the Shiawassee River through the State Game Area and National Wildlife Refuge to the Saginaw River.
 
We are advising people to avoid contact with water in these rivers until further notice. Swimming, wading, or any type of water recreation that could cause water to be swallowed or get into the mouth, nose or eyes is NOT recommended and can be a health hazard. Avoid direct skin contact if possible and immediately wash with soap and clean water if exposed.
 
We are also urging residents to be safe during and after flooding by doing the following:

  • Stay away from puddles, rivers and streams

  • Do NOT attempt to drive vehicles around road barriers for road closures

  • Stay away from downed power lines

  • Stay away from stray or wild animals, and do not touch dead animals

  • Never use electrical equipment in wet areas, and

  • Do not let children go outdoors alone

 

Any residents that evacuate need to be mindful to stay safe from COVID-19 by washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, isolating as much as possible when sick, avoiding touching your face, avoiding those who are sick, and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces. It is also important to practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet between yourself and others.
 
Residents that need to seek a shelter location should remain vigilant and wear face covers or masks, make sure to perform frequent handwashing and to social distance in the shelters. Shelters will be making every effort possible to adhere to these prevention strategies.

May 18, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 933 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 933
Recovered 212
Deaths 98


Wednesday's Facebook Live Event

Wednesday, May 20, the Saginaw County Health Department will hold their fourth Facebook Live event at 10 a.m. to answer questions from media and the public. Their special guest will be psychiatrist Dr. Furhut Jassen who will help address growing concerns surrounding COVID-19 and mental health needs in our county. Dr. Jassen will help viewers understand the impact of quarantine on stress, adjustment disorder, depression and anxiety as well as steps for knowing when and how to get help if needed.

May 15, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 880 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 880
Recovered 212
Deaths 94


Guide for Reopening Businesses


With more businesses opening and planning for gradual reopening, the following will help provide an overview for owners and managers. A complete toolkit will be available next week.

Below is the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Saginaw.

For more information, please visit www.saginawpublichealth.org 

https://mailchi.mp/cac0656a2374/za8rmzwml3-4598928?e=e47a17d97b​

August 31, 2020

UPDATE for Saginaw County 8/31/2020

 

Cases in Saginaw Co.

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department was informed that 2375 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Here are the numbers:

Positive 2375 (+42 from Friday)
Recovered 1329 (+22 from Friday)
Deaths 128

 

 

What Can YOU Do?

So many of you have reached out to us asking what can be done to curb the rise in cases in Saginaw County. Thank you for commitment to serving as an important influencer in this fight against COVID-19. You play a vital role.
 

#1 – If you’re healthy:

CONTINUE TO WASH YOUR HANDS. WEAR YOUR MASK. WATCH YOUR DISTANCE.
 
#2 – If you’ve been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19 (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes):
 
STAY HOME!

  • Contact your healthcare provider immediately. Monitor yourself for symptoms. Get tested, stay home while you wait for results. Stay home for 14 days even if your test results are negative.

#3 – If you have symptoms (fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste/smell, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, etc):
 
STAY HOME! 

  • Contact your healthcare provider immediately to get tested for COVID-19 or to rule out other illnesses. Stay home while you wait for results. If positive, stay home until you can go 24 hours without a fever (without taking fever reducing medications), and your symptoms have improved, and at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms began. If negative, stay home until your symptoms have improved.

What we’re seeing is sick people continuing to be actively out and about when they are contagious. They aren’t staying put while they wait for results and are infecting others for days.

Equally concerning are those who think that a negative test result gives them a “get out of quarantine” pass. It does not! People who have been in close contact with a positive case need to stay home for a full 14 days until the incubation period passes.

If you have questions, please reach out to us on the COVID-19 hotline at (989) 758-3828.

 

 

COVID-19 and May Flooding

As you all know, our fight against COVID-19 took an interesting turn in May when our county, along with four others, experienced historic storms and flooding. The health department’s role in county-wide emergency preparedness was vital – especially as we implemented safe sheltering for those 700+ households (and a long-term care facility) evacuated during the pandemic.
 
Saginaw County Emergency Manager Lt. Mark Przybylski recently reported to us that of the 600 or so houses impacted in some way by the floods, several were successful in filing claims for flood insurance. In addition, nearly 500 have registered with FEMA for disaster assistance with nearly $1.4 million paid out already. The deadline to apply with FEMA is September 8.

May’s flood is just one more example of how Saginaw comes together to help our friends and neighbors. As part of the recovery efforts, the Saginaw County Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group formed with representatives of Saginaw County government, local non-profit agencies, charitable organizations, corporations, and faith-based groups working collaboratively to make sure everyone affected by May’s devastating severe storms and flooding is aware of and connected to recovery process details and resources. Information is available at www.reliefsaginaw.org and on Facebook @SaginawCoEM.

Wear Your Masks, Saginaw!

It’s one of our 3 Ws. So we’re passionate about asking everyone to put aside divisiveness and political points of view. Just this one simple act  – along with handwashing and social distancing – will help us battle COVID-19 in Saginaw County.

The CDC has created a new website to help you decide how to select, wear, and clean your mask. We hope this is helpful.

We encourage you to refer to www.mistartmap.info, the Saginaw County Health Department website at www.saginawpublichealth.org and our Facebook page. We continue to post timely information and videos to answer some of the most urgent questions we are receiving from partners and the public.


Be well. Stay home. Stay safe

August 20, 2020

Cases in Saginaw Co.

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department was informed that 2126 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Here are the numbers:

Positive 2126 (+28 from yesterday)
Recovered 1210 (+27 from yesterday)
Deaths 126

New Reporting Form for Businesses

In an effort to assist businesses in complying with Executive Order 2020-161Safeguards to Protect Michigan’s Workers from COVID-19, we have created a mechanism for electronically reporting COVID-19 cases within the workplace. The order requires that all businesses immediately notify the local public health department when an employee is identified with a confirmed case of COVID-19.  

Businesses with knowledge of a confirmed COVID-19 positive employee should visit www.saginawpublichealth.org, go to the "Information for Businesses and Employers" section of the Coronavirus page, complete the COVID-19 Reporting Form in its entirety, and submit it to the health department within 24 hours of notification. 

Submission can be completed by using the “SUBMIT” button on the form or via email to covid19@saginawcounty.com. Feel free to contact the Saginaw County Health Department at 758-3887 with questions regarding the form or reporting process.

COVID-19 Reporting Form

School Guidance Efforts Focus on Safety

In addition to helping dozens of county businesses safely reopen and manage their protocol for handling and reporting COVID-19 positive cases among staff and customers, the health department has been hard at work helping our 14 districts and several parochial school systems prepare for return to learning in the fall.

The following is a list of presentations and other pertinent school reopening documents, including an extensive toolkit we have published on our website and sent to all superintendents.  

  1. Parent Forum via Facebook Live event last week: View the Slide Deck (you can also view the presentation on our Facebook page here)

  2. July 15 school administrator meeting: View the Slide Deck

  3. August 14 school administrator meeting:  View the Slide Deck

  4. Overall page information for schools with some documents posted: Information for Schools and Childcare Facilities

  5. Toolkit Part A and Part B:  

July 6, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,295 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,295
Recovered 704
Deaths 121

July 6, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,284 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,284
Recovered 695
Deaths 120

As we look at our data, we are pleased to see no new deaths for several days. This is encouraging.

What is concerning over the course of the past two weeks is an increase in the average number of contacts per positive case of COVID-10. It has risen from 2.52 contacts/case to 4.34 which means that cases are having more direct contact with others as people continue to leave their homes.  This underscores the need to stay vigilant in practicing prevention (hand washing, covering coughs, staying six feet away from people, wearing a mask, and staying home if you feel ill).

Please know that ANYTIME we leave the house we are increasing our RISK of coming into contact with COVID-19.

Hand Sanitizer Health Alert

 

The CDC and FDA are warning consumers and health care providers that there has been a  sharp increase in hand sanitizer products  labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested.

Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Seek immediate medical attention and contact your poison center (1-800-222-1222) for advice if you have swallowed a hand sanitizer product or are experiencing symptoms from repeated use of these products that are on the “FDA’s testing and manufacturer’s recalls” list (https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitzers-methanol),

  2. Stop using any hand sanitizers that are on the “FDA’s testing and manufacturer’s recalls” list because using these methanol-containing products may result in serious adverse health events (e.g., blindness and death), and

  3. NEVER swallow hand sanitizer and only use it for its intended purpose.

Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who accidently ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk.

To clarify, we want to remind everyone to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol (also referred to as ethyl alcohol). And be sure the hand sanitizer you’re using is NOT on the FDA’s recall list.

June 25, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,195 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,195
Recovered 608
Deaths 120

Health Department Navigates Reopening for Regular Services Amid Continued Pandemic Response

The laboratory will welcome back clients beginning Monday, July 6, for by-appointment-only drug testing. Those requiring this service are being instructed to call the health department at (989) 758-3825, ext. 4 or check Facebook for daily instructions about scheduling appointments online.

Only one client at a time will be allowed to enter the building, except for minors who need to be accompanied by a legal adult. Masks are required to enter the building and all visitors will be screened.

Throughout the shutdown, health department staff has balanced Zoom appointments with clients, answering questions and providing guidance on the COVID-19 hotlines — AND contact tracing positive COVID-19 cases. COVID-19 has been an “all hands on deck” crisis that continues. So navigating back to regular services is challenging given our limited resources. Our re-opening, like so many other businesses, will be gradual, thoughtful, well-planned and safe.

The dedicated individuals on this staff are among the true heroes of the pandemic and we ask that you join us in thanking them for their dedication during unprecedented times. If you’d like to send a note of thanks, please send it to cvasquez@saginawcounty.org.

June 24, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,187 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,187
Recovered 600
Deaths 120

The rise in recovered cases is always encouraging. While we are seeing a slight uptick in daily cases from 3.4 to 5.3 percent, our positivity rate (the number of positive cases among those tested) is still good.

As you know, some states are seeing large increases in cases. These should be a wake-up call for us. We need the Saginaw community – even as we re-open more and more – to remain vigilant in wearing masks, washing hands, covering our coughs, maintaining social distance, and staying home if we feel sick. COVID-19 is not gone, and we must – as a community – work together to prevent the spread until a treatment or vaccine is available.

June 23, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,172 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,172
Recovered 535
Deaths 117

 

This Week's Facebook Live Event

The Saginaw County Health Department invites you to join them again for a Facebook Live event at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 24. Appearing with them this week will be Dr. Nicholas Haddad, MD, FACP, FIDSA, CIC, an infectious disease specialist with CMU Health. The topic will be vaccines and the processes in place for vaccine development for COVID-19. They hope to answer questions many people have about timing for a vaccine, prioritization for vaccine distribution, mass vaccination efforts, impact – if any – on flu vaccinations and more.

Find Them On Facebook >

June 11, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,120 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,120
Recovered 362
Deaths 114

 

Testing Expands Again for Anyone Who Wants It

This week the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) expanded testing criteria once again. At this point, anyone who wishes to be tested for COVID-19 can go to the drive-thru sampling site at Great Lakes Bay Health Centers at 501 Lapeer Street at no cost, with no doctor’s order required.

Rite Aid on State Street in Saginaw is also doing testing through riteaid.com.

We STRONGLY encourage anyone considering testing to first talk to a primary care provider for guidance. Negative results do not mean that you may not still contract COVID-19. Diagnostic testing will provide results on whether active infection is present or not within your body. You could still develop disease or get exposed in the days or weeks after your test. With that being said, even with a negative test result everyone should remain vigilant in following good prevention habits including:

  • Frequent hand-washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol)

  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and if you are in public places wear a face covering to protect others around you

  • Clean and disinfect surfaces in and around your home, workspace, vehicles, and other common areas, and  

  • Abide by the governor's Stay Home Stay/Safe Order and if you feel sick, make sure to isolate yourself from others.

 

As always anyone who is experiencing symptoms should definitely first consult with their primary care provider to discuss testing, isolation, and treatment options.

June 9, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,111 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,111
Recovered 331
Deaths 112

Data Analysis Sheds Light on County’s COVID-19 Response

Thanks to our access this summer to a graduate student studying epidemiology at the Michigan State University, we are getting much-needed analysis of our COVID-19 data and will be sharing it with you as it becomes available.

As of the end of May 2020, the data depicts:

  • 33% of our positive cases came from congregate living facilities (nursing homes, jails, assisted living facilities, homeless shelters, hospice facilities)

  • However, these cases represented approximately 20% of our county’s deaths.

  • 20% of our positive cases came from health care workers. Of these, 68% had known health care contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

  • While Saginaw County has yet to display the racial disparity seen in other parts of the state as it relates to COVID-19, our numbers do reveal that while African Americans make up 19% of the county demographically, nearly 28% tested positive for the disease. Many of the earliest cases were among residents in the City of Saginaw. But countywide, less than 17% of all COVID-19 related deaths have been African Americans.

  • Central Michigan University is currently undertaking a study to examine why racial disparity was not as apparent here in Saginaw County as it has been statewide. We believe some of the factors may include:

    • Early testing – Saginaw County was among the first county to send testing samples to the State Lab for testing and has continued to expand testing efforts with many community partners

    • Buy-in from entire health care system – we had all hospitals at the table early to collaborate and coordinate efforts related to testing, PPE, safety protocol and standards of care

    • Our efforts to stay home/stay safe resulted in our hospital system never being overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases

    • The health department’s accessibility and communications with providers, schools, and businesses provided much-needed guidance for decision-making and safety precautions

    • Our Emergency Management Plan is sound and was successfully implemented

June 5, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,083 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,083
Recovered 331
Deaths 110

Crime Prevention Council Releases Letter

 

Saginaw’s Crime Prevention Council – of which the Saginaw County Health Department is a member – released a letter today to the media. We think it speaks volumes about the organizations involved in the council and their stance on police brutality, oaths of office, and equity from all aspects!

As your local health department, we ALWAYS advocate for equity, especially as it relates to health and wellness. In times like these, when in some parts of the state a pandemic affects one population more than others, it brings to light health disparities that public health fights continuously and passionately.

Saginaw County has yet to see racial disparity in our COVID-19 numbers. For that, we are grateful. In the coming weeks, you will learn more about our data as we benefit from the work of a volunteer epidemiologic graduate student. We will also be asking you to advocate strongly for adequate funding to build a more robust public health system to ensure that Saginaw County prevents disease, prolongs life, and promotes health FOR ALL.

 

June 3, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,060 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,060
Recovered 321
Deaths 109

 

COVID-19 Testing Available to All

he David R. Gamez Great Lakes Bay Health Center at 501 Lapeer Avenue in Saginaw is offering COVID-19 testing to anyone, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. There are no longer symptom or physician order requirements to be tested at this site. Sample collection is free for anyone living in Michigan, but identification and insurance cards (if available) are required. Those without health insurance can still be tested.

Drive-through or walk-up testing is available. Nasal swabs are taken outside in a tent or while seated in your vehicle. Results are communicated back within a few days.

In addition, Great Lakes Bay Health Centers is hosting a testing event in Buena Vista Charter Township next week. Testing will be conducted in the Town Green Park (next to Sav-A-Lot) on  Tuesday, June 16, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. or for as long as testing supplies last.

May 22, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 978 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 978
Recovered 247
Deaths 104

 

Celebrating Memorial Day in 2020
 

Memorial Day Weekend is Michigan’s official welcome to summer. It’s a popular time for traveling up north, hosting family barbeques, and gathering for parades and neighborhood celebrations. Unfortunately, Memorial Day Weekend 2020 is happening in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – and historic flooding -- as our state is still officially under Stay Home/Stay Safe orders.
 
So what does that mean for us here in Saginaw County?
 
It means we’re still washing our hands frequently, cleaning commonly used surfaces, wearing face coverings, maintaining social distance, and going out for essential purposes like work (for some), groceries, and gasoline.
 
As of yesterday, Governor Whitmer is allowing small gatherings of 10 people or less, as long as participants are outside and practice social distancing.
 

Remember:

  • Stay outside

  • Keep your distance

  • Keep your hands clean

  • Wear a mask if possible 
     

So, in the spirit of safer gatherings, here are some suggestions to celebrate Memorial Day and honor the men and women of our Armed Forces who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty:

  • Have a special patriotic-themed cookout and play yard games. End the evening with a campfire/fire pit and s’mores

  • Relax by your pool if it’s open and ready

  • Create your own drive-in theater in the backyard or driveway, playing old favorite movies to honor your favorite veteran

  • Use sidewalk chalk to create a patriotic thank-you message on your driveway

  • Organize a socially distant “parade” and drive creatively decorated vehicles through the neighborhood

  • Make your home a vacation destination with red/white/blue or tropical decorations

  • Make a donation to an organization that supports veterans

Please remember, it is up to each of us to do our part in this fight against COVID-19. In protecting ourselves and our families, we protect each other. 
 
To ensure your safety, remember these tips:

  • Be careful when grilling

  • Wear seat belts if traveling

  • Operate all watercraft as they are intended and wear life jackets

  • Maintain social distancing both in and out of water

  • Don’t share snorkels or goggles

  • Avoid contact of any kind with water in the Bad River, Shiawassee River and Saginaw River as recent heavy rains have resulted in the discharge of untreated sewage into them
     

Due to flooding:

  • Stay away from all puddles, rivers and streams

  • Do NOT attempt to drive vehicles around road barriers for road closures

  • Stay away from downed power lines

  • Stay away from stray or wild animals, and do not touch dead animals

  • Never use electrical equipment in wet areas, and

  • Do not let children go outdoors alone

May 20, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 962 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 962
Recovered 231
Deaths 100

 

Flood Advisory and Guidance for COVID-19 Safety

We are incredibly saddened and concerned that floods are now added to the list of potential health hazards for our county as we battle COVID-19. However, the recent heavy rains have resulted in the discharge of untreated sewage into the North Branch of the Bad River. Elevated levels of E. coli bacteria can be expected as the plume of sewage flows to the Shiawassee River through the State Game Area and National Wildlife Refuge to the Saginaw River.
 
We are advising people to avoid contact with water in these rivers until further notice. Swimming, wading, or any type of water recreation that could cause water to be swallowed or get into the mouth, nose or eyes is NOT recommended and can be a health hazard. Avoid direct skin contact if possible and immediately wash with soap and clean water if exposed.
 
We are also urging residents to be safe during and after flooding by doing the following:

  • Stay away from puddles, rivers and streams

  • Do NOT attempt to drive vehicles around road barriers for road closures

  • Stay away from downed power lines

  • Stay away from stray or wild animals, and do not touch dead animals

  • Never use electrical equipment in wet areas, and

  • Do not let children go outdoors alone

 

Any residents that evacuate need to be mindful to stay safe from COVID-19 by washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, isolating as much as possible when sick, avoiding touching your face, avoiding those who are sick, and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces. It is also important to practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet between yourself and others.
 
Residents that need to seek a shelter location should remain vigilant and wear face covers or masks, make sure to perform frequent handwashing and to social distance in the shelters. Shelters will be making every effort possible to adhere to these prevention strategies.

May 18, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 933 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 933
Recovered 212
Deaths 98


Wednesday's Facebook Live Event

Wednesday, May 20, the Saginaw County Health Department will hold their fourth Facebook Live event at 10 a.m. to answer questions from media and the public. Their special guest will be psychiatrist Dr. Furhut Jassen who will help address growing concerns surrounding COVID-19 and mental health needs in our county. Dr. Jassen will help viewers understand the impact of quarantine on stress, adjustment disorder, depression and anxiety as well as steps for knowing when and how to get help if needed.

May 15, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 880 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 880
Recovered 212
Deaths 94


Guide for Reopening Businesses


With more businesses opening and planning for gradual reopening, the following will help provide an overview for owners and managers. A complete toolkit will be available next week.

May 13, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 852 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the numbers:

Positive 852
Recovered 183
Deaths 89

May 12, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 832 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 832
Recovered 173
Deaths 86


We know many of you are wondering why Saginaw has more cases and deaths than surrounding counties in the region. In addition to the fact that we have a larger population and a mix of urban, suburban, and rural communities, we have two major health systems and six testing sites in Saginaw. That capacity to test is one factor that may likely be driving up our numbers.
 
You may also be asking if the Stay Home/Stay Safe order issued by our governor is even working in Saginaw County. We want to assure you that it is. Our early modeling predicted a much more dire situation. By doing nothing but business as usual, we estimated nearly 3,000 deaths from this pandemic in our county alone. Eighty-six is still 86 too many. But our efforts to stay home whenever possible to minimize the spread and protect one another – especially our most vulnerable populations – has been critical. And it remains so.
 
Have we peaked? We are not willing to say so just yet. Regardless of what’s happening in southeast Michigan, COVID-19 came here later and we can expect our peak to be later. We are watching the data closely and see some encouraging signs, but we simply don’t know for sure yet.
 
We know folks are getting restless, the weather is getting nicer, and people want to return to normal. But we simply can’t abandon caution. In fact, the health department will continue promoting our #StayHomeSaginaw program for the foreseeable future. Even as people return to work and businesses gradually re-open, we want people to be mindful of limiting exposure by going out only when necessary, wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and practicing meticulous hand washing and other health hygiene.
 
COVID-19 is not going away. It has achieved what we call “community spread.” In other words, you are as likely to be exposed to COVID-19 when we go to the store or go out and get gas as we are if we come into direct contact with a COVID-19 patient. It’s here in our community, and we need to remain committed to preventing its spread and protecting one another.

July 6, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,284 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,284
Recovered 695
Deaths 120

As we look at our data, we are pleased to see no new deaths for several days. This is encouraging.

What is concerning over the course of the past two weeks is an increase in the average number of contacts per positive case of COVID-10. It has risen from 2.52 contacts/case to 4.34 which means that cases are having more direct contact with others as people continue to leave their homes.  This underscores the need to stay vigilant in practicing prevention (hand washing, covering coughs, staying six feet away from people, wearing a mask, and staying home if you feel ill).

Please know that ANYTIME we leave the house we are increasing our RISK of coming into contact with COVID-19.

Hand Sanitizer Health Alert

 

The CDC and FDA are warning consumers and health care providers that there has been a  sharp increase in hand sanitizer products  labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested.

Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Seek immediate medical attention and contact your poison center (1-800-222-1222) for advice if you have swallowed a hand sanitizer product or are experiencing symptoms from repeated use of these products that are on the “FDA’s testing and manufacturer’s recalls” list (https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitzers-methanol),

  2. Stop using any hand sanitizers that are on the “FDA’s testing and manufacturer’s recalls” list because using these methanol-containing products may result in serious adverse health events (e.g., blindness and death), and

  3. NEVER swallow hand sanitizer and only use it for its intended purpose.

Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who accidently ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk.

To clarify, we want to remind everyone to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol (also referred to as ethyl alcohol). And be sure the hand sanitizer you’re using is NOT on the FDA’s recall list.

June 25, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,195 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,195
Recovered 608
Deaths 120

Health Department Navigates Reopening for Regular Services Amid Continued Pandemic Response

The laboratory will welcome back clients beginning Monday, July 6, for by-appointment-only drug testing. Those requiring this service are being instructed to call the health department at (989) 758-3825, ext. 4 or check Facebook for daily instructions about scheduling appointments online.

Only one client at a time will be allowed to enter the building, except for minors who need to be accompanied by a legal adult. Masks are required to enter the building and all visitors will be screened.

Throughout the shutdown, health department staff has balanced Zoom appointments with clients, answering questions and providing guidance on the COVID-19 hotlines — AND contact tracing positive COVID-19 cases. COVID-19 has been an “all hands on deck” crisis that continues. So navigating back to regular services is challenging given our limited resources. Our re-opening, like so many other businesses, will be gradual, thoughtful, well-planned and safe.

The dedicated individuals on this staff are among the true heroes of the pandemic and we ask that you join us in thanking them for their dedication during unprecedented times. If you’d like to send a note of thanks, please send it to cvasquez@saginawcounty.org.

June 24, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,187 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,187
Recovered 600
Deaths 120

The rise in recovered cases is always encouraging. While we are seeing a slight uptick in daily cases from 3.4 to 5.3 percent, our positivity rate (the number of positive cases among those tested) is still good.

As you know, some states are seeing large increases in cases. These should be a wake-up call for us. We need the Saginaw community – even as we re-open more and more – to remain vigilant in wearing masks, washing hands, covering our coughs, maintaining social distance, and staying home if we feel sick. COVID-19 is not gone, and we must – as a community – work together to prevent the spread until a treatment or vaccine is available.

June 23, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,172 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,172
Recovered 535
Deaths 117

 

This Week's Facebook Live Event

The Saginaw County Health Department invites you to join them again for a Facebook Live event at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 24. Appearing with them this week will be Dr. Nicholas Haddad, MD, FACP, FIDSA, CIC, an infectious disease specialist with CMU Health. The topic will be vaccines and the processes in place for vaccine development for COVID-19. They hope to answer questions many people have about timing for a vaccine, prioritization for vaccine distribution, mass vaccination efforts, impact – if any – on flu vaccinations and more.

Find Them On Facebook >

June 11, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,120 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,120
Recovered 362
Deaths 114

 

Testing Expands Again for Anyone Who Wants It

This week the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) expanded testing criteria once again. At this point, anyone who wishes to be tested for COVID-19 can go to the drive-thru sampling site at Great Lakes Bay Health Centers at 501 Lapeer Street at no cost, with no doctor’s order required.

Rite Aid on State Street in Saginaw is also doing testing through riteaid.com.

We STRONGLY encourage anyone considering testing to first talk to a primary care provider for guidance. Negative results do not mean that you may not still contract COVID-19. Diagnostic testing will provide results on whether active infection is present or not within your body. You could still develop disease or get exposed in the days or weeks after your test. With that being said, even with a negative test result everyone should remain vigilant in following good prevention habits including:

  • Frequent hand-washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol)

  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and if you are in public places wear a face covering to protect others around you

  • Clean and disinfect surfaces in and around your home, workspace, vehicles, and other common areas, and  

  • Abide by the governor's Stay Home Stay/Safe Order and if you feel sick, make sure to isolate yourself from others.

 

As always anyone who is experiencing symptoms should definitely first consult with their primary care provider to discuss testing, isolation, and treatment options.

June 9, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,111 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,111
Recovered 331
Deaths 112

Data Analysis Sheds Light on County’s COVID-19 Response

Thanks to our access this summer to a graduate student studying epidemiology at the Michigan State University, we are getting much-needed analysis of our COVID-19 data and will be sharing it with you as it becomes available.

As of the end of May 2020, the data depicts:

  • 33% of our positive cases came from congregate living facilities (nursing homes, jails, assisted living facilities, homeless shelters, hospice facilities)

  • However, these cases represented approximately 20% of our county’s deaths.

  • 20% of our positive cases came from health care workers. Of these, 68% had known health care contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

  • While Saginaw County has yet to display the racial disparity seen in other parts of the state as it relates to COVID-19, our numbers do reveal that while African Americans make up 19% of the county demographically, nearly 28% tested positive for the disease. Many of the earliest cases were among residents in the City of Saginaw. But countywide, less than 17% of all COVID-19 related deaths have been African Americans.

  • Central Michigan University is currently undertaking a study to examine why racial disparity was not as apparent here in Saginaw County as it has been statewide. We believe some of the factors may include:

    • Early testing – Saginaw County was among the first county to send testing samples to the State Lab for testing and has continued to expand testing efforts with many community partners

    • Buy-in from entire health care system – we had all hospitals at the table early to collaborate and coordinate efforts related to testing, PPE, safety protocol and standards of care

    • Our efforts to stay home/stay safe resulted in our hospital system never being overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases

    • The health department’s accessibility and communications with providers, schools, and businesses provided much-needed guidance for decision-making and safety precautions

    • Our Emergency Management Plan is sound and was successfully implemented

June 3, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 1,060 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 1,060
Recovered 321
Deaths 109

 

COVID-19 Testing Available to All

he David R. Gamez Great Lakes Bay Health Center at 501 Lapeer Avenue in Saginaw is offering COVID-19 testing to anyone, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. There are no longer symptom or physician order requirements to be tested at this site. Sample collection is free for anyone living in Michigan, but identification and insurance cards (if available) are required. Those without health insurance can still be tested.

Drive-through or walk-up testing is available. Nasal swabs are taken outside in a tent or while seated in your vehicle. Results are communicated back within a few days.

In addition, Great Lakes Bay Health Centers is hosting a testing event in Buena Vista Charter Township next week. Testing will be conducted in the Town Green Park (next to Sav-A-Lot) on  Tuesday, June 16, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. or for as long as testing supplies last.

May 15, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 880 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 880
Recovered 212
Deaths 94


Guide for Reopening Businesses


With more businesses opening and planning for gradual reopening, the following will help provide an overview for owners and managers. A complete toolkit will be available next week.

May 13, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 852 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here are the numbers:

Positive 852
Recovered 183
Deaths 89

May 12, 2020

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department has been informed that 832 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

Here are the numbers:

Positive 832
Recovered 173
Deaths 86


We know many of you are wondering why Saginaw has more cases and deaths than surrounding counties in the region. In addition to the fact that we have a larger population and a mix of urban, suburban, and rural communities, we have two major health systems and six testing sites in Saginaw. That capacity to test is one factor that may likely be driving up our numbers.
 
You may also be asking if the Stay Home/Stay Safe order issued by our governor is even working in Saginaw County. We want to assure you that it is. Our early modeling predicted a much more dire situation. By doing nothing but business as usual, we estimated nearly 3,000 deaths from this pandemic in our county alone. Eighty-six is still 86 too many. But our efforts to stay home whenever possible to minimize the spread and protect one another – especially our most vulnerable populations – has been critical. And it remains so.
 
Have we peaked? We are not willing to say so just yet. Regardless of what’s happening in southeast Michigan, COVID-19 came here later and we can expect our peak to be later. We are watching the data closely and see some encouraging signs, but we simply don’t know for sure yet.
 
We know folks are getting restless, the weather is getting nicer, and people want to return to normal. But we simply can’t abandon caution. In fact, the health department will continue promoting our #StayHomeSaginaw program for the foreseeable future. Even as people return to work and businesses gradually re-open, we want people to be mindful of limiting exposure by going out only when necessary, wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and practicing meticulous hand washing and other health hygiene.
 
COVID-19 is not going away. It has achieved what we call “community spread.” In other words, you are as likely to be exposed to COVID-19 when we go to the store or go out and get gas as we are if we come into direct contact with a COVID-19 patient. It’s here in our community, and we need to remain committed to preventing its spread and protecting one another.

Saginaw Co. Case Data for December 22

Positive since 10/1: 8,735
Total positive: 11,573

Deaths since 10/1: 221
Total deaths: 357

Positivity rate 10/1: 3.5%
Positivity rate now: 14%

County hospital capacity
(week of Dec. 14): 94% full

COVID-19 related: 40% 
ICUs: 96% full
COVID-19 in ICU: 55%

Health Department Vaccinates CMU Medical Students

Twenty CMU College of Medicine students received a first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from the health department yesterday, with 50 more expected to receive it today. During the coming weeks, approximately 200 students will receive the vaccine through us. 

CMU students work on the front lines of care in our community - in our emergency departments, labor/delivery, and inpatient medicine floors. Many will stay in the region and become the physicians.

“We are deeply grateful to nurses, staff, providers and administration of the Saginaw County Health Department,” says Steve Vance, Associate Dean of Clinical Education for CMU (pictured on left). “Our students represent the emerging healthcare workforce. Protecting them with this vaccine allows them to both provide care for patients today and gain the experience necessary to lead the response to future pandemics.”

We value our partnerships with CMU and are honored to provide this service!

Vaccine Distribution and Administration Update

Together with our healthcare partners, we have been working collaboratively on COVID-19 vaccination planning for weeks, and we continue to connect frequently to discuss and implement receipt, storage, handling, and administration.

By the end of the day today, Saginaw County providers will have administered over 2,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, or nearly 70% of the initial 3,000 dose allotment, to Phase 1A – Priority One personnel. 

The Moderna vaccine is currently being shipped to locations that did not get Pfizer doses last week. We will eventually get the Moderna vaccine here at the health department as well, but not this initial shipment. The state has earmarked it for communities and facilities without ultra-cold freezer storage. 

So, as more partners receive the Moderna vaccine this week, our community is making great strides in vaccinating our Phase 1A – Priority One healthcare workers.  

Within the next two weeks, we will likely begin Priority Two and some Priority Three groups. Our hospitals will move seamlessly from Phase 1A – Priority One right to Priority Two (long-term care) and then Priority Three (outpatient care areas) as they will be vaccinating those within their health care systems. 

A majority of the health department's first shipment has gone to EMS providers and medical first responders for Phase 1A – Priority One. We have also vaccinated health department staff and CMU medical students (see above).  We will also be providing vaccines for a few long-term care facilities that are not enrolled in pharmacy distribution for Priority Two. After that, we will move to Priority Three, for which we are in the process of rolling out a business enrollment form. This will allow those in Phase 1A – Priority Three, such as independent dentists, gastroenterologists, and other outpatient clinics, to enroll their offices and employees to be vaccinated. 
 
We will be doing the same for the next Phase 1B – critical infrastructure. Saginaw County, for example, will enroll in this program, and we will help identify county employees who fit the updated critical infrastructure criteria. From there we will establish one main point of contact for each business to arrange for vaccination through employer-based clinics. We will use our nursing staff to provide vaccinations for businesses and entities that don't have their own occupational health services. 
 
Based on Facebook comments and calls to the health department, we know everyone is anxious to know exactly when they will have the opportunity to get vaccinated. Ultimately, timing on movement through these phases relies on manpower to administer the vaccine and doses received. Please know that careful consideration is going into the allocation of this scarce medical resource. We appreciate your patience and remain committed to updating you often.
 
Finally, for those interested in tracking COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped and administered in Saginaw County and around the state, visit the state's vaccine dashboard.  

Facebook Live Tomorrow

Fresh from our experience of getting our COVID-19 vaccines live on Facebook last Friday, we will be sharing how it felt, if we had any side effects, and how the v-safe app works on tomorrow’s regularly scheduled FB Live event at 10am.
 
In addition to our normal COVID-19 update – including a look at the three metrics the state is using to impose or relax restrictions – we will talk about the new variant of COVID-19 coming out of the UK. We will also clarify some of the new epidemic order changes for our state and reiterate holiday recommendations.
 
If we don’t see you online, please have safe and peaceful holidays. And as always...wash your hands, wear your masks, watch your distance, and limit indoor gatherings. Be safe, Saginaw!

 

County Data

Yesterday we began updating our county-wide data directly on our website using Microsoft BI for added functionality. To see today's data, click here

We encourage you to refer to www.mistartmap.info, the Saginaw County Health Department website at www.saginawpublichealth.org and our Facebook page. We continue to post timely information and videos to answer some of the most urgent questions we are receiving from partners and the public.


Be well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Christina Harrington, MPH
Health Officer

Delicia Pruitt, MD
Medical Director

Saginaw Co. Case Data for December 14

Positive since 10/1: 7,828
Total positive: 10,666

Deaths since 10/1: 172
Total deaths: 308

Positivity rate 10/1: 3.5%
Positivity rate now: 16.5%

County hospital capacity (week of Dec. 7): 96.25% full

COVID-19 related: 45.51% 
ICUs: 92.78% full
COVID-19 in ICU: 50.52%

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Our Saginaw County COVID-19 Vaccine Planning Committee met this morning to once again work through the logistics of our county's first shipments, which we anticipate tomorrow or Wednesday. We are working collaboratively as a community to support distribution and administration to those receiving the vaccine first. Based on recommendations from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), MDHHS has prioritized initial vaccine allocation to:

  • Ensuring the continued functioning of the health care system and essential services in the community

  • Protecting people at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness

 

Our county will be receive almost 3,000 doses, which will go to Phase 1A Priority One:

  • Group A: EMS providers, including medical first responders

  • Group B: Hospital workers on general medical floors

  • Group C: Emergency departments

  • Group D: Intensive care units

 

Subsequent shipments will be prioritized for Phase 1A Priority Two:

  • Group A: Staff at skilled nursing facilities, psychiatric hospitals, homes for the aged, adult foster care centers, assisted living facilities, home health workers with high-risk clients

  • Group B: Residents at skilled nursing facilities, psychiatric hospitals, homes for the aged, adult foster care centers, assisted living facilities, home health workers working with high-risk clients

 

We anticipate weekly shipments of the Pfizer vaccine and, when approved, the Moderna vaccine. When additional doses are available we will move to Phase 1A Priority Three:

  • Group A: Workers with direct patient contact who conduct high-risk procedures (dentists, endoscopy, dialysis)

  • Group B: Outpatient care, urgent care, ambulatory care and home health

  • Group C: Those who have indirect patient contact with specialized skills critical to hospitals, public health, laboratories, pharmacies

We will explain more about subsequent phases when we get closer to being able to vaccinate them. As a side note, Saginaw County Health Department nurses will be among the first to be vaccinated so they are protected when vaccinating others.

Several people have asked us if we are getting the vaccine. Yes, we are, without hesitation! We would the first to roll up our sleeves if it weren't for the fact that, in doing so, we would keep an ICU nurse or other Phase 1A Priority One worker from receiving his or her's. Because of the limited doses available this week, we will get our vaccines with our Phase 1A Priority Three Group B and C colleagues.

We will continue to keep you informed about Saginaw County's vaccine plans.

Drive-Thru Flu Clinic This Week

We are hosting a drive-thru flu clinic on Wednesday from 11am to 1:30pm at the Old Sears Automotive Building at the corner of Tittabawassee and Bay (now the Covenant COVID Testing Center). This event will allow us to vaccine members of our community for influenza and will also serve as a "test run" for future COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

Pre-registration is highly recommended to minimize wait times. You can find the pre-registration form here. The first 200 people to register will receive a Flu Care Kit from Molina, a sponsor for the event. We will also be giving away free masks.  

Please get your flu shot if you haven't already!

We encourage you to refer to www.mistartmap.info, the Saginaw County Health Department website at www.saginawpublichealth.org and our Facebook page. We continue to post timely information and videos to answer some of the most urgent questions we are receiving from partners and the public.


Be well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Christina Harrington, MPH
Health Officer

Delicia Pruitt, MD
Medical Director

Saginaw Co. Case Data for December 10

 

Positive since 10/1: 7,237
Total positive: 10,075

 

Deaths since 10/1: 158
Total deaths: 294

 

Positivity rate 10/1: 3.5%
Positivity rate now: 19.2%

County hospital capacity (week of Dec. 7): 96.25% full

COVID-19 related: 45.51% 
ICUs: 92.78% full
COVID-19 in ICU: 50.52%


More On Positivity Rate: A Metric the State is Watching

With the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) announcing a 12-day extension of our “pause to save lives,” they are also pointing to three specific metrics they will be watching to determine next steps. One of those metrics is our state’s COVID-19 positivity rate.

 
Positivity rate literally means the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that come back positive, or (positive tests)/(total tests) x 100%. It’s an important number because it helps us determine the level of transmission or degree of “spread” of COVID-19 in our state.
 
An ideal resource to learn more about our positivity rate in real time is mistartmap.info. Locally, in Saginaw County, we use this site regularly to track our positivity rate. Back in October, our 7-day average positivity rate was around 3.5%. We were as high as 16.9% in mid-November, declined a bit to 13.7% on December 1, but then jumped up to 18.9% by December 4 and 19.2% yesterday.
 
Testing has been such an important tool in our fight against COVID-19. Individuals and their healthcare providers use it to treat the illness appropriately and to determine the need to isolate from others for at least 10 days. We rely on it to track the "state of the pandemic," to help us provide guidance to businesses and schools, and to help us determine if our community is doing enough testing for the amount of people who are getting infected.
 
MDHHS is now using it to guide its policy decisions about statewide restrictions designed to reduce transmission.
 
Be sure to tune into our weekly FB Live events every Wednesday at 10am where we consistently analyze Saginaw County’s positivity rate, along with the other two metrics MDHHS will be tracking in the extended “pause to save lives.”

COVID-19 Vaccination Update


Planning, Approval and Distribution

We should know more very soon from FDA and CDC experts reviewing Pfizer's safety and efficacy data this week and whether they will recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.

We estimate the allotment for Michigan will ship next Tuesday. Between weekly calls with MDHHS and more frequent calls with local and regional partners for planning, we know the original allotment of doses we expected from Pfizer has come down to just 84,000 doses for the entire state. Pharmacy chains will be getting the majority of these for administration to staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities where the virus has been especially prevalent and deadly. Also, included in the first tier of Phase One will be our hospital settings, with initial prioritization on EMS, ICU and emergency room workers -- those on the very front lines of the fight against COVID-19.

After this initial shipment, we expect weekly shipments from Pfizer and, once approved, Moderna. At that point, administration hospital wide and to other healthcare professionals will commense.

The best way to describe vaccine planning is...the path is being laid as we walk down it. An incredible amount of work is being done to get the vaccine out and into the arms of those who need it most. But, it is a fluid situation that is ever changing. Please know that Saginaw County health partners are collaborating and coordinating nearly around the clock to make this happen as soon as possible.

 

Vaccine Information

If you haven't already, please check our two fact sheets to learn more. We want people to know as much as possible about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines coming our way...as well as to be prepared for the potential of side effects ranging from redness at the injection site to fever, headache, and fatigue.

There was news yesterday of two people in the United Kingdom who had severe allergic reactions to the vaccine. Both were prone to anaphylactic reactions and carried epi pens. Both have recovered. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will be reviewing all findings and will likely require screening questions that vaccine administrators will assess before giving the vaccine. 

Vaccine Safety and Monitoring

Rest assured that anyone receiving a vaccine will be filling out a health questionnaire along with a consent form. In addition, those vaccinated will be able to enroll in v-safe -- an after vaccination health checker. This is a smartphone-based tool from the CDC that use text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects. Depending on your answers, someone from the CDC may call to check on you.

COVID-19 Testing Turnaround Times

To help provide additional information about COVID-19 testing, MDHHS has added testing turnaround time data to the michigan.gov/coronavirus website. Data will be updated weekly on Thursdays and tell users a 14-day average time it takes for a diagnostic COVID-19 lab test to be reported to the state health department. Total turnaround time is calculated by subtracting the date of the sample collection data from the date the laboratory results are received by the state.

Test results may be available to patients and/or providers sooner than the date the are received at MDHHS.

Support Our Local Restaurants!

The pandemic has been extremely difficult for our county's restauranteurs. And the 8-day "pause" followed by a 12-day extension compound the matter. We strongly encourage everyone to support those businesses that are offering takeout and safe, outside dining options during the state's "pause."

Meanwhile our staff work is working very closely with those who reach out to us for support and assistance. Too often people assume health inspectors and restaurants are at odds with one another. On the contrary, our staff take an educational approach and, throughout the pandemic, have been just a phone call away for restaurant owners in need of clarification on when and how an igloo meets rules, how to protect staff and customers, and how to wisely invest in inside mitigation strategies to keep feeding us once restrictions are lifted by the state!  Meanwhile, go get some takeout!

Holiday Guidance

From Secret Santas to outdoor bonfires, it's time to get creative with your upcoming holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, for 2020, "not smart" and "not this year" probably describe your usual traditions. 

Yesterday's FB Live event provided lots of guidance and suggestions for good cheer that can't be dimmed by the coronavirus. Be sure to watch here.

If you don't have time to watch during this busy season, here are some tips:

  • Don't throw caution to the wind just because it's Christmas!

  • Give a gift, not COVID-19

  • Practice the 3Ws: wash your hands, wear your mask, watch your distance

  • Manage your stress during the season

  • Take care of yourself -- eat healthy, don't over eat, stay active, get adequate sleep

  • Connect with others -- pick up the phone or Zoom friends and family

  • Prioritize making the holidays special for those right in your own house

  • Don't drink and drive

  • Quit smoking

  • Wear your seat belt

  • Monitor children around toys -- especially anything they put in their mouths

  • Practice fire safety

  • Practice food safety -- keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot

  • Limit or cancel travel

  • Keep indoor gatherings to 10 or less people from no more than two healthy households

  • If your house is small, don't be the host

You should NOT ATTEND OR HOST holiday gatherings if you are:

  • Sick

  • Waiting for test results

  • Exposed to COVID-19 through close contact

  • Vulnerable -- elderly and/or have serious underlying health conditions

 

Flu Shot Clinic Next Week

We are hosting a Flu Shot Clinic next Wednesday, December 16, 11am-1:30pm at the old Sears Automotive Building, which is now the Covenant COVID Testing Center. 
 
Pre-registration is required at www.saginawpublichealth.org.

 

We encourage you to refer to www.mistartmap.info, the Saginaw County Health Department website at www.saginawpublichealth.org and our Facebook page. We continue to post timely information and videos to answer some of the most urgent questions we are receiving from partners and the public.


Be well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Christina Harrington, MPH
Health Officer

Delicia Pruitt, MD
Medical Director

Saginaw Co. Case Data for December 1

Positive since 10/1: 5,587
Total positive: 8,425

Deaths since 10/1: 103
Total deaths: 239

Positivity rate 10/1: 3.5%
Positivity rate now: 14.7%

Hospital capacity countywide: 93.74% full

COVID-19 related: 44.17% 
ICUs: 99.19% full
COVID-19 in ICU: 40.32%

Deeper Look at November Deaths

Given today’s sharp increase in deaths (+18), we would like to provide additional information. Here’s what we know, from November 1-December 1:
 
1)      79% of the deaths in November were caucasian
2)      57% female
3)      22% lived in a congregate setting
4)      Highest % age breakdown (37.5%) of deaths were people 80-89 years of age
 
We do NOT know how many of these deaths were hospitalized versus at home.
 
We are working to keep you updated as much as possible. With the volume of cases statewide, we are experiencing data delays frequently. Thanks for your patience and understanding as we work to fight the virus and keep our community informed!

Tomorrow's FB Live Tackles COVID-19 Questions

Tomorrow, Wednesday, December 2, we will again hold our weekly FB Live event at 10 am. This week we will provide our usual COVID-19 update. In addition, we will address some of the most commonly asked questions that come into our COVID-19 Hotline: when will we see the impact of Thanksgiving gatherings, isolation vs. quarantine, when to return to work, COVID-19 testing, what constitutes a COVID death, and more.

We encourage people to watch and pose questions in the comments section as well.

We encourage you to refer to www.mistartmap.info, the Saginaw County Health Department website at www.saginawpublichealth.org and our Facebook page. We continue to post timely information and videos to answer some of the most urgent questions we are receiving from partners and the public.


Be well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Christina Harrington, MPH
Health Officer

Delicia Pruitt, MD
Medical Director

Saginaw Co. Case Data for November 23

Positive since 10/1: 4,457

Total positive: 7,295

Deaths since 10/1: 74

Total deaths: 210

See county-wide data below. If you haven't already minimized your upcoming Thanksgiving plans, please consider doing so now! Ideally, celebrate with your immediate household only. At the very least, keep your gathering to 10 or less from no more than two healthy households. Please note, a negative test is NOT a free pass to gather with others outside your household for Thanksgiving. Remember, COVID-19 has a 2-14 day incubation period. If you have been exposed, you can test negative and still develop COVID-19 up through day 14 and expose others unknowingly. 

If you have children returning from college, please have them quarantine for 14 days before interacting with vulnerable family members.

All About Testing

A new fact sheet outlines the three different types of testing currently available for COVID-19. Make sure you ASK your testing location which test you are getting and what the results actually tell you. For the most up-to-date testing sites near you, call 211 or click here.

COVID-19 Testing Primer Fact Sheet

COVID-19 Vaccine Progress the Topic of Next Week's FB Live

With so much in the news about emerging vaccines for COVID-19, we are excited to make that the topic of next week's FB live event on Wednesday, November 25 at 10am. Once again, we will be joined by local expert Dr. Nicholas Haddad, MD, FACP, FIDSA, CIC, an infectious disease specialist with CMU Health. Dr. Haddad is going to help us address vaccine progress, when we might expect the vaccine here in Saginaw, how it will be distributed, and how it can impact our community. You won't want to miss this hopeful discussion!

We encourage you to refer to www.mistartmap.info, the Saginaw County Health Department website at www.saginawpublichealth.org and our Facebook page. We continue to post timely information and videos to answer some of the most urgent questions we are receiving from partners and the public.


Be well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Christina Harrington, MPH
Health Officer

Delicia Pruitt, MD
Medical Director

Saginaw Co. Case Data for November 19

Positive since 10/1: 3,767

Total positive: 6,605

Deaths since 10/1: 51

Total deaths: 187

Our state's 3-week "pause" is now in effect. It is designed to curb large indoor gatherings and restrict group activities that have shown to increase the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Please continue to do your part by washing your hands, wearing your mask, watching your distance, limiting gatherings, and safely supporting local businesses impacted by restrictions. Let's be proactive and help minimize the strain on our hospitals, healthcare and public health workers! If you have any questions, please reach out to us at the COVID-19 Hotline at (989) 758-3828.

If You Employ People, Listen Up!

The health department is getting phone calls from employed residents receiving conflicting information about what they should do if they test positive for COVID-19 or are legitimately exposed to it whether in or outside the workplace.

Q: My employer is telling me to quarantine 5-7 days after testing positive, then retest. If that second test is negative, I'm supposed to return to work.

A: WRONG! Forgive the strong tone, but this is important!

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, they need to ISOLATE themselves at home away from other family members and only leave home for medical care. Here's what they need to do:

  • Notify you, the employer that they are positive.

  • Notify their healthcare provider ASAP (doctors don’t always received test results).

  • Fill out the self-reporting form at www.saginawpublichealth.org. Because of the surge in cases, not everyone is going to get a phone call from us, so it's critical that folks fill out this form. It is REQUIRED if they need a "return to work" letter from us.

  • Notify close contacts so they can start to quarantine themselves.

  • Your employee does not need to retest. They are no longer contagious and can return to work after:

    • 10 days have passed since symptoms started or since they were tested (if asymptomatic)

    • Fever free for 24 hours

    • Symptoms improve

Q: I am a close contact of someone who is positive for COVID-19. My employer (or healthcare provider) is telling me I can return to work if I test negative.

A: WRONG! Again, this is important!

First, there are three different kinds of COVID-19 tests. Make sure to instruct your employees to ask for a PCR test at their testing site. This is the swab test and is the gold standard for determining if someone has an active case of COVID-19. Some locations have rapid tests, but most are sending swabs to commercial labs for testing. Results may take several days. That said, even if your employee tests negative, they still have to quarantine for a full 14 days.

Here's what they need to do:

  • Determine when they last came into close contact with COVID+ person when that person was contagious (anywhere from 48 hours before the person's symptoms developed or their test came back positive through their isolation period).

  • Quarantine 14 days since last contact.

  • If the contact is with someone in your employee's household who hasn’t isolated from them, your employee's quarantine will be 24 days – the 10 days of the sick person's isolation and the following 14 days.

  • Monitor themselves for symptoms and consider testing.

  • DO NOT use a negative test result to get out of quarantine! 

  • Stay home through the 14th day to make sure they don’t develop COVID-19 at any time during its incubation period and spread it to others in your workplace.

We have developed a new fact sheet with scenarios to help everybody understand the difference between isolation (for sick people) and quarantine (for exposed people).

Download the Fact Sheet

We are also developing an employee training program designed to educate you and your workforce about COVID-19, strategies for slowing the spread both in and out of work, how to model safe behavior, and information about upcoming vaccines in an effort to create a culture of safety/prevention for COVID and all diseases.

If your business is interested in helping us pilot the training, contact charrington@saginawcounty.com

As always, one of our most important jobs is providing guidance and support to businesses as they work hard to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Please reach out to us if we can help in any way.

COVID-19 Vaccine Progress the Topic of Next Week's FB Live

With so much in the news about emerging vaccines for COVID-19, we are excited to make that the topic of next week's FB live event on Wednesday, November 25 at 10am. Once again, we will be joined by local expert Dr. Nicholas Haddad, MD, FACP, FIDSA, CIC, an infectious disease specialist with CMU Health. Dr. Haddad is going to help us address vaccine progress, when we might expect the vaccine here in Saginaw, how it will be distributed, and how it can impact our community. You won't want to miss this hopeful discussion!

We encourage you to refer to www.mistartmap.info, the Saginaw County Health Department website at www.saginawpublichealth.org and our Facebook page. We continue to post timely information and videos to answer some of the most urgent questions we are receiving from partners and the public.


Be well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Christina Harrington, MPH
Health Officer

Delicia Pruitt, MD
Medical Director

UPDATE for Saginaw County 10/27/2020

Cases in Saginaw Co.

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department was informed that 3,647 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Here are the numbers:

Positive 3,647 (+79 from yesterday)
Recovered 1915 (+2 from yesterday)
Deaths 148 

The Saginaw County Health Department is inundated with calls and concerns about the rise in cases locally, in Michigan, and throughout the nation.
 
We are confident saying the rise locally can be attributed to non-compliance: 1) more people exposing themselves to the virus in high-risk situations, not wearing masks, and not maintaining social distance in public, AND 2) refusal to quarantine once exposed.
 
More alarming might be the level of anxiety we’re perceiving from these calls when they don’t agree with their schools, employers, employees, contract tracers, case investigators, and even providers.
 
First and foremost, we need to bring down the level of defiance, anger, anxiety and panic. Let’s all take a deep breath and talk about a few important things:

  • COVID-19 isn’t a political issue – it’s a virus 

  • COVID-19 tolerance runs along a spectrum from absolute fear to absolute fake

  • Let’s try to meet in the middle

We can assure you that every single school district in our county is working extremely hard to protect students and staff by reducing the risk of COVID-19 and doing whatever they can to offer educational instruction to our children. 

The majority of businesses are working extremely hard to protect customers and employees by reducing the risk of COVID-19 and doing whatever they can to operate with restrictions. Those that aren't can be reported to MIOSHA.

Confronting others who aren't in the same spot on the spectrum as you is not effective. Complaining to the health department is inefficient when we need our small but mighty staff to be conducting case investigations to isolate sick people and self-quarantine exposed people.

Here's the best strategy to reduce our case counts. If we each try to do our best, we will make an impact and keep our community healthier. We ask you and your family to model the following:

  • Practice the 3Ws: wash your hands, wear your mask, watch your distance.

  • Please comply with isolation orders if you test positive for COVID-19 – stay home for 10 days after the onset of symptoms and don’t go out until you’ve been fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications and your symptoms have improved.

  • Please comply with self-quarantining if you’re exposed to COVID-19 – stay home for 14 days even if you test negative for COVID-19 during that time.

  • Watch our weekly COVID-19 updates on Facebook Live each Wednesday morning at 10am (they are recorded and available afterward) for balanced, fear-free information.

 

Facebook Live this Week

When you walk into or drive thru a COVID-19 testing site, do you know which kind of test you’re getting and what it tells you? Maybe or maybe not! Testing options and what they reveal are evolving. Tune in Wednesday, Oct. 28 to our Facebook Live event to learn about advancements in COVID-19 testing and what each is used for in the fight against the pandemic.

We encourage you to refer to www.mistartmap.info, the Saginaw County Health Department website at www.saginawpublichealth.org and our Facebook page. We continue to post timely information and videos to answer some of the most urgent questions we are receiving from partners and the public.


Be well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Christina Harrington, MPH
Health Officer

Delicia Pruitt, MD
Medical Director

UPDATE for Saginaw County 10/22/2020

 

Cases in Saginaw Co.

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department was informed that 3,350 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Here are the numbers:

Positive 3,350 (+70 from yesterday)
Recovered 1897 (unchanged from yesterday)
Deaths 147 (+2 from yesterday) 

 

CDC Redefines "Close Contact"

For months, we have been saying a “close contact” means spending a solid 15 minutes within 6 feet of someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
 
Yesterday, the CDC changed the definition to a “total of 15 minutes” – meaning shorter, but repeated encounters within 6 feet that add up to 15 minutes over a 24-hour period now count.

For example, close contact with a COVID-19 positive person could occur with 3 different encounters lasting just 5 minutes over 24 hours...or 5 different encounters within less than 6 feet for just 3 minutes over 24 hours...or 15 1-minute encounters. The key take-away is consistent with our guidance since the beginning –  WATCH YOUR DISTANCE. Stay six feet away from others outside your household at all times. And, if you do come into close contact with a COVID-19 positive case, please quarantine for two weeks.

 

Key Takeaways from Wednesday's Facebook Live for Parents With Sick Kids

This is the year to prevent the spread of ALL illnesses -- whether colds, flu, stomach bugs, or COVID-19 -- and not "push through it" like we're accustomed to doing with mild illnesses. That means when a kid wakes up feeling under the weather, they need to STAY HOME -- two scary words for working parents.

If your child has sniffles, new or worsening cough, congestion, fever, vomiting or diarrhea, call your doctor about what happens next to rule out COVID-19 or other illnesses. There are reliable tests to quickly confirm flu or RSV. And if allergies are to blame, doctors need to treat those and provide a note parents can give schools and day care facilities for peace of mind.

That said, having a back-up plan for home care is REALLY important for working parents!  The contingency plan needs to cover every eventuality -- from keeping kids home for a few days for a cold and sniffles...to as many as 14 days for quarantine after exposure to COVID-19.

"I know this is a lousy situation," said Mary D. Moore, MD, an associate professor pediatrics at CMU Health in Saginaw and today's special guest. "And it's okay to say it's lousy."

But it's a reality some families will face:

  • With kids in school and athletics

  • As the weather gets cold and we head indoors where sharing germs is easier

  • Because more and more people are putting themselves in situations where they can be exposed to COVID-19

  • Since some exposed people put others at risk by not quarantining for 14 days

  • As we gather for holidays with friends and family we don't live with on a regular basis

 

Dr. Moore believes we are in the third peak of COVID-19 in the United States and cautioned listeners to keep practicing the 3 Ws: wash your hand, wear your masks, and watch your distance. At the same time, she provided a some perspective on COVID-19 for children in Saginaw County:

  • 12% of our positive cases involve children

  • 0 deaths among children

  • More girls than boys have been infected 

  • Boys, however, have had more severe cases

  • Only 5 children have been hospitalized since March for COVID-19

  • Most kids who get COVID-19 have symptoms but only mild ones 

  • In general, our local kids are fairing well

  • Schools are doing their very best to keep students and staff healthy and have kept outbreaks to a minimum

 

"It's a stressful time," Dr. Moore said. "This is not over. We're maybe half-way through this pandemic. It will take a while for a vaccine to go to everyone, so we need to prepare for a marathon and help each other along." She encourages families to stop "doom scrolling," stay active, lean on faith, help others, enjoy pets, rely on humor, and take breaks when needed. 

 

Upcoming FB live events will focus on more guidance for the holidays and new developments in COVID-19 testing so you can know what kind of test you're getting and what it does and doesn't tell you.

We encourage you to refer to www.mistartmap.info, the Saginaw County Health Department website at www.saginawpublichealth.org and our Facebook page. We continue to post timely information and videos to answer some of the most urgent questions we are receiving from partners and the public.


Be well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Christina Harrington, MPH
Health Officer

Delicia Pruitt, MD
Medical Director

UPDATE for Saginaw County 10/20/2020

Cases in Saginaw Co.

As of today, Saginaw County Health Department was informed that 3,260 Saginaw County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Here are the numbers:

Positive 3,260 (+25 from yesterday)
Recovered 1893 (+12 from yesterday)
Deaths 144 

Response to Uptick in Cases

 

We are receiving lots of questions about Saginaw County’s recent uptick in daily new cases, including 116 new cases over the weekend plus another 25 today. 

Based on our case investigations, we don’t see any one event or location linking our new cases together. Outbreaks in schools and businesses are minimal. The likely cause is more and more people putting themselves in situations where they can be exposed to the virus, and exposed people putting others at risk by not quarantining for 14 days. 
 
We understand that people are anxious to go back to normal life, like before COVID-19, and may be relaxing their safety precautions. But that doesn’t mean the virus has gone away or those at high risk of exposure should be lax. We need people to understand that when they get exposed to COVID-19, they need to quarantine themselves for 14 days to prevent the further spread of the disease. Whether exposed to COVID-19 at work, at a gathering, at home, or at school, people need to STAY HOME and STAY AWAY from others. We’re coming out of hiding more, leaving our homes for a multitude of essential and non-essential reasons or opening our homes to people we don’t routinely live with, and all this bears risk.
 
Now is precisely the time to remain vigilant on washing hands, wearing masks, and watching our distance – particularly as the weather gets colder and we move our activities back indoors – and continue to limit indoor gatherings as ordered.

Facebook Live Tomorrow Focuses on Guidance for Parents With Sick Kids

Every working parent dreads those mornings when you wake up to face a full day and instead find a flushed, feverish, snotty nose kid at the breakfast table. This year, the stress of trying to figure out what to do with a sick kid is further amplified by the fear of not knowing if it's COVID-19 or some other less threatening illness like a cold or allergies. And how do you know the difference when symptoms are the same?

That's the topic of tomorrow's Facebook Live event at 10 a.m. We will be joined by Mary D. Moore, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at CMU Health in Saginaw, to talk about the stress of illness — allergies, colds, flu and “regular” illnesses during a pandemic, what to do to rule out or confirm COVID-19, and how to handle school requirements.

Remember, 2020 is NOT the year for perfect school attendance! It IS the year for creating a Plan B contingency plan for handling sick kids that need to stay home. Tune in to learn more.

We encourage you to refer to www.mistartmap.info, the Saginaw County Health Department website at www.saginawpublichealth.org and our Facebook page. We continue to post timely information and videos to answer some of the most urgent questions we are receiving from partners and the public.


Be well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Christina Harrington, MPH
Health Officer

Delicia Pruitt, MD
Medical Director

Saginaw Co. Case Data for December 30

Positive since 10/1: 9,596
Total positive: 12,434

Deaths since 10/1: 239
Total deaths: 375

Positivity rate 10/1: 3.5%
Positivity rate now: 11.9%

County hospital capacity
(week of Dec. 28): 94% full

COVID-19 related: 36% 
ICUs: 96% full
COVID-19 in ICU: 55%

Perspective on Current Data

As we head into the New Year, we are cautiously optimistic about our data trends, particularly the three metrics the state is watching for epidemic orders:

Positivity rate -- While we're still higher than we'd like to be, Saginaw County has gone from over 19% positivity just weeks ago to under 12%. We hope this trend continues as we get out beyond the holidays.

Overall, our average daily testing is down a bit. We are usually consistently around 1,100 tests per day. We're now down to 850. This is likely because of the holidays, with testing locations closed. There could also be some reluctance to get tested if it keeps people in isolation this time of year. We will be watching this closely.

Daily cases/million -- Again, while we're still higher than we'd like to be, we are on a 45-day decline! We're now seeing an average of 59 new cases per day. 

Hospitalizations -- Although our hospitals remain near capacity, we are seeing a decline in the percentage of COVID-19 related admissions.

All in all, the numbers are looking better. But we can't let our guard down AT ALL! Please continue to wash your hands, wear your masks, watch your distance, get your vaccine when the opportunity arises for you, and avoid indoor gatherings of more than 10 from more than two households.

We wish you a safe and peaceful New Year, Saginaw!

Announcing Online Registration for independent Healthcare Facilities and Critical Infrastructure Businesses

The Saginaw County Health Department now has an online registration form available for non-hospital affiliated health facilities that fall under Phase 1A/Priority Three:

  • Group A -- Workers with direct patient contact who conduct high risk procedures (e.g. dentists, endoscopy, dialysis)

  • Group B -- Outpatient, urgent care, ambulatory care, and home health care

  • Group C -- Workers who have indirect patient contact with specialized skills critical to health care system (e.g. laboratories, pharmacies)

The registration form is available at saginawpublichealth.org or by clicking here. Remember, this is for independent, non-hospital affiliated facilities and practices. Healthcare worker who are employed or have privileges at one of our health systems will be vaccinated there.

Healthcare workers in these AND hospital affiliated outpatient settings will be a large group. We anticipate our community will need 3-4 weeks to complete this part of Phase 1A.

However, we are already planning for Phase 1B, for adults age 75+ and essential workers. Our online registration form is also extended to businesses that employ essential workers who keep critical infrastructure open and functioning. This includes:

  • K-12 school and childcare staff with direct contact with children

  • Workers in 16 sectors of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Program including chemical, communications, dams, emergency services, financial services, government facilities, information technology, transportation systems, energy, food and agriculture, health and public health, nuclear reactors, materials and waste, water and wastewater systems

  • Homeless shelters, corrections facilities, congregate childcare institutions, adult and child protective services

  • Non-hospital labs and mortuary services

The registration form is available at saginawpublichealth.org or by clicking here. At this time, we are not yet taking registrations for individuals 75+. This WILL come soon as a separate process.

We are asking that essential workers refrain from registering individually. Instead, we are asking the business (and one main contact) to fill out the registration form for that business. Once this is complete, a staff member from the health department will follow up with necessary paperwork, scheduling information, and vaccination location based on vaccine availability. Remember, essential workers (Phase 1B) will not be vaccinated until after Phase 1A is completed in our county. 


If you have any questions about whether or not your business qualifies as "essential and critical," please reach out to us at (989) 758-3800 or email chillman@saginawcounty.com.

Assisting Schools with Testing for Playoffs

As most of you are aware, four of our county's schools are in contention for football or volleyball post-season playoffs. The health department is working with each district on the required antigen testing planning and reporting.

In addition to ensuring that MDHHS gets the required testing kits to each location, we are training school staff to conduct, educate, and assist with the testing (which requires a nasal swab and smear on a small card). If a student or coach tests positive with the antigen test, the health department will follow-up with a rapid PCR test in our lab to confirm. 

This testing is required in order for the districts to participate in the playoffs and is part of a pilot testing program created by the state.

 

mySaginawHealth Coming Soon!

We are excited to announce that we will soon be launching mySaginawHealth, a web-based app to help Saginaw County residents self report COVID-19 positive test results and exposure.
 

The mySaginawHealth app will function like a nurse investigator:

  • Asking users for information about close contacts

  • Texting those contacts about monitoring for symptoms 

  • Calculating release from isolation or quarantine dates

  • Sending "return to work" or "excused for quarantine" letters to those who need them 

The app will never replace the human connection available at the health department. But it will help our investigative team focus on outbreaks and free up additional resources for vaccination efforts.

Stay tuned for more details!

Today's FB Live Focuses on Moderna Vaccine

Today's Facebook Live was devoted to providing viewers with information about the Moderna vaccine, which is quite similar to the Pfizer vaccine. Dr. Pruitt shared the potential side effects, contraindications, method of administration, and more.

People with severe allergies (anaphylaxis), bleeding disorders, pregnancy/breastfeeding, or fever should talk to their healthcare provider before getting the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine to weigh risks versus benefits. Some people will experience mild side effects with either vaccine, so Dr. Pruitt recommends taking Tylenol beforehand. These typically resolve in 24-48 hours.

Other advice from Dr. Pruitt includes:

  • Take whichever manufacturer's vaccine you are offered when the opportunity comes to you. 

  • Remember, you can't mix the two. If you have Dose 1 from one manufacturer, you must get Dose 2 from the same manufacturer.

  • Look at the EUA fact sheets for each vaccine to learn more.

Here's a look at the basic differences between the two vaccines we have available in Saginaw County right now:


 

County Data

County-wide data is displayed on our website using Microsoft BI for added functionality. To see today's data, click here.

We encourage you to refer to www.mistartmap.info, the Saginaw County Health Department website at www.saginawpublichealth.org and our Facebook page. We continue to post timely information and videos to answer some of the most urgent questions we are receiving from partners and the public.


Be well. Stay home. Stay safe.

Christina Harrington, MPH
Health Officer

Delicia Pruitt, MD
Medical Director

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