Berrien County COVID Cases Hit New Lows, But Virus Variants Pose Concern
Berrien County is now averaging just under five new cases a day, a big decline from the height of the pandemic. Test positivity rates are also low, at around three percent. In addition, Michigan fully reopened on June 22, dropping all capacity restrictions and face mask mandates.
County health department communications manager Gillian Conrad said the county is excited to fully reopen, but the pandemic is not quite over. She credits vaccines for the low case numbers, and said more people need to get the shot.
“If anybody has not yet made the move to get vaccinated, now is a good time to do that, Conrad said. “Enjoy your summer with the full protection the vaccines can provide.”
The biggest concern is the Delta variant, which was first detected in India and is highly contagious. Doctor Anthony Fauci has called it the greatest threat to eliminating COVID-19 in the United States.
Conrad said that so far, the vaccines are effective against the variants. About 40 percent of the county is fully vaccinated, but the arrival of a more contagious variant could lead to localized outbreaks.
“As long as we have unvaccinated individuals in our community, they are still at risk for COVID-19 to continue spreading,” Conrad said. “The longer we go with as many unvaccinated community members that we still have, the longer COVID-19 has a chance to keep mutating.”
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