Over 70 Michigan counties have "substantial" or "high" levels of COVID-19 community transmission
Michigan is the fifth lowest in the country for COVID-19 case rates. But the state still has high level areas for community transmissions in all of its regions.
That’s according to a COVID-19 update from University of Michigan assistant professor of epidemiology Marisa Eisenberg.
"Even though we are among the lower case rates across the U.S., we are still in high transmission level in terms of our CDC level. And all regions across Michigan have high transmission areas," she said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps track of these risk levels across the county.
For the time period of August 12 to August 18, the CDC reported that over 70 Michigan counties are categorized as either having “substantial” or “high” levels for coronavirus community transmission.
Fifty of those counties on the CDC tracker, including the state's three biggest counties, Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, are in the "high" level alone.
The CDC says in areas with substantial or high levels of transmission, everyone should wear masks indoors.
Eisenberg said cases are also increasing across all age groups. Adults aged 25 to 34 are the highest. People aged 18 to 24 are second.
According to a Wednesday case update by the state, there are 925,377 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 20,076 confirmed deaths.
Tuesday and Wednesday combined saw over 2,690 new cases.
U of M experts also emphasized the importance of layered protection. Especially as the school year starts soon. (Many are starting next week.)
Layered protection means that even if you got vaccinated, you can also mask up or socially distance in an area with high transmission levels.
Fifty-five percent of Michiganders older than 12 are fully vaccinated.
Emily Martin is an epidemiologist at U of M. Martin pointed to a U.K. study showing the high effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines (Pfizer and AstraZeneca) against the delta variant.
She explained that more cases in an area can potentially lead to more breakthrough cases, but it is still less likely that you'll become infected if you're fully vaccinated. Martin said data show breakthrough cases also tend to be less severe.
"It is important to continue to keep community rates low and continue putting vaccines out into the community. Because everyone's risk goes up when the community levels go up," she explained.
Data from the state show that less than 1% of fully vaccinated people have had a breakthrough case in Michigan.