Cases of COVID-19 in the Traverse City region have been declining this week and the percent of positive tests has also been decreasing.
But public health officials repeat the same refrain: don’t let your guard down. The pandemic is far from over and the upcoming flu season, in-person classes resuming and the cold pushing people in-doors — where risk is higher — remain top of mind.
Another reason to avoid complacency is because COVID-19 risk changes often. Some regions have changed from medium risk to high risk within a week. That said, one local health department says the public shouldn't focus too closely on daily increases as indicators of the spread of the virus. Some small clusters may be isolated from the general public, meaning there may not be much community spread.
Most indications show the area is currently managing the pandemic. The state recently updated the MI Safe Start map and labeled the Traverse City region in northern Michigan risk Level B. The risk is now measured from Low-A-B-C-D-E with E being highest risk. So far, northern Michigan has the lowest risk in the state, and the number of reported deaths caused by the coronavirus is low in the region.
More testing is becoming available at local health departments and some Walgreens stores across the area.
The state is not reporting any school outbreaks in the region, as of Monday.
The Munson Healthcare system in recent weeks has been averaging three to six (COVID-19 patients who require hospitalization. The hospitals report having adequate supplies of PPE and enough testing capabilities for patients and staff.
CDC Halloween recommendations
This week, the CDC released recommendations for the upcoming spooky festivities. The agency advises against door-to-door and car trunk trick-or-treating, haunted houses, hayrides and other fall festivals with members outside your household.
Individual candy bags left on the driveway, parades and outdoor costume parties are moderately risky. Haunted forests and other distanced outdoor festivities, where there isn’t drug and alcohol consumption, are probably the safest option, according to the CDC.