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Omicron Variant Identified in Oakland County
Vaccination, Masking, and Distancing are Vital to Reducing Spread
Pontiac, Michigan – The Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is present in Oakland County, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) alerted Oakland County Health Division today. A county resident tested positive for COVID-19 on December 5 and a lab identified the strain as the Omicron variant on December 16, then notified MDHHS.
A case investigation determined the resident, who was vaccinated but did not have a booster dose, had travelled internationally. The resident denied having any close contacts since returning home. MDHHS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are the agencies that look into any possible exposures while traveling.
“The bad news is that Omicron is here. The good news is our main tools still work as with any variant – masking regardless of vaccine status, distance, and vaccinations including booster doses,” Health Division Medical Director Dr. Russell Faust said. “Even if Omicron is slightly resistant to immunity to other variants, increasing your immunity through vaccinations will help prevent infection, hospitalization, and death.”
According to the CDC, the Omicron variant will likely spread more easily, but how easily Omicron spreads, compared to the Delta variant, remains unknown. The CDC expects that anyone with the Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms. Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. Breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, however, are likely to occur. Vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
“Emergence of Omicron in our area further emphasizes the importance of primary vaccinations and boosters, especially before any upcoming holiday gatherings” Oakland County Director of Health and Human Services Leigh-Anne Stafford said. “Vaccination, masking and social distancing is strongly encouraged to help slow spread of Omicron and all COVID-19 viruses.”
The following prevention strategies will reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus and help limit variants:
- Get anyone age 5 and older vaccinated and a booster shot when eligible
- Wear a mask in public indoor settings
- Physically distance from others
- Stay home whenever symptoms appear
- Get tested for COVID-19, especially before gatherings
- Self-isolate properly if you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19
- Wash your hands frequently
- Cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Follow recommendations for traveling
COVID-19 cases continue to be prevalent in Oakland County and Michigan. There were more than 11,800 new confirmed and probable cases from November 29 – December 12, 54 percent of whom were ages 39 years old and younger. The seven-day case average was 657 new cases per day in Oakland County as of December 15. The seven-day percent positivity for COVID-19 tests dropped to 15.38 percent from 16.60 percent the week before.
Most new cases in Michigan continue to be among individuals who are not fully vaccinated. They comprised 85.1 percent of cases, 88.1 percent of hospitalizations, and 85.8 percent of deaths from January 15-December 4, according to the MI COVID Response Data and Modeling Update.
Visit www.oaklandcountyvaccine.com for information about upcoming COVID vaccination sites and who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments when available are strongly recommended online or by contacting Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 during business hours.
More information about COVID-19 can be found on the Health Division’s website at www.oakgov.com/health or by contacting Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Nurse on Call is available 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. For up-to-date public health information, follow @publichealthOC on Facebook and Twitter.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 23, 2021
Contact: Kathleen Achtenberg achtenberg
Gov. Whitmer Proclaims Nov. 27 Small Business Saturday, Encourages Michiganders to Support Local Businesses this Holiday Season and Year-Round
Proclamation intended to celebrate resiliency, contributions of small businesses and entrepreneurs to the state
LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer today declared November 27 as Small Business Saturday in Michigan and urges Michiganders to buy locally this Saturday and throughout the year to support Michigan’s small businesses.
“Small businesses are the backbones of our communities, and we want to remind Michiganders that supporting local business
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses comprise more than 98 percent of Michigan businesses and employ half of Michigan workers. For every $100 spent at a local business, roughly $68 stays in the local economy, allowing business and job growth.
In addition, according to the Michigan Retailers Association, one in five Michigan jobs are in the retail industry. In 2020, Michigan residents sent $23.7 billion to out-of-state retailers. If only one in 10 out-of-state purchases were switched to local stores, Michigan would gain $1.9 billion in increased economic activity, creating 14,000 new jobs.
“While every day is a good day to shop small and buy nearby, we hope Michiganders will make a concentrated effort this Saturday and throughout the holiday season to shop at local retailers and businesses. Not only will you find gifts on store shelves and avoid possible shipping delays by buying nearby, but you’ll be supporting the local businesses who make our communities great places to live and work. With so many challenges facing business owners this year and last, they need the community’s support more than ever,” William J. Hallan, President and CEO, Michigan Retailers Association.
In 2020, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) launched the “Support Local” campaign to remind Michiganders of the importance of supporting local businesses during the holidays and throughout the winter season. The Support Local landing page at michigan.org/supportlocal o
“As we look at ways to grow an equitable and resilient economy in Michigan, we remain committed to supporting our small businesses, their workers, and the local communities in all corners of the state,” said MEDC CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr. “The Saturday after Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest days of the holiday season, and by shopping local, we can help Michigan workers, businesses, and communities thrive this season and beyond.”
“Small businesses play a vital role in their local communities and have been through unprecedented challenges
About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2021
Gov. Whitmer on Approved Reque
The MCCA unanimously voted to support issuing refund checks to Michigan consumers
LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Anita Fox released the following statement after the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCAA) voted unanimously to grant the governor’s request to deliver refund checks to every Michigander with auto insurance.
“As we continue to put Michiganders first, I am always working to find ways to lower costs and use every resource we have to help Michiganders thrive,” sai
“I applaud the MCCA’s quick response to the Governor’s call for the MCCA to provide the maximum refund of its $5 billion surplus to Michigan policyholders while maintaining the viability of the fund for auto accident survivors,” said Director Anita Fox. “I urge the MCCA Board to act promptly to determine the amount of and process and timetable for expeditiously issuing refunds to all Michiganders with auto insurance.”
The refund is possible in part because of the historic, bipartisan auto insurance reform signed into law by the governor in 2019 and would return money to every Michigander with auto insurance.
News Digest – Week of Oct. 11, 2021
Enjoy fabulous fall colors everywhere you find them!
Weatherization program helps low-income Michiganders reduce heating bills
Gov. Whitmer proclaims October as Weatherization Month
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 12, 2021
CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112, wheatonb@
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are raising awareness during Weatherization Month of a program that reduces household energy costs by an average of $283 per year – benefitting approximately 1,300 low-income families in Michigan.
The governor has proclaimed October as Weatherization Month in Michigan.
“Together, we can help low-income families reduce their energy costs and meet their basic needs,” Gov. Whitmer said. “Weatherization programs help families save money, protect the environment, and offer opportunities to local businesses that do weatherization work. My administration will ensure Michigan families can keep their homes warm as we head into the colder months.”
The U.S. Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program is administered at the state level by the MDHHS Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity. MDHHS utilizes Community Action Agencies and non-profit organizations to provide weatherization services at the local level.
Trained weatherization professionals known as energy auditors use computerized energy audit software and advanced diagnostic equipment such as blower doors and infrared cameras to create a comprehensive energy analysis of the home. This analysis is used to determine the most cost-effective measures to install in each home. The energy auditor creates a customized work order. Then trained contractors and crew members install the identified energy-efficient and health and safety measures.
“Weatherization reduces heating costs, which can be a lifeline for low-income families who might otherwise struggle to pay their utility bills,” said Lewis Roubal, MDHHS chief deputy director for opportunity. “Families benefiting from reduced heating bills can spend their money on food, clothing and other critical household needs.”
Energy efficiency measures installed in client homes include items such as insulation, blower-door-guided air sealing of key leakage junctures, and installations such as lighting and water saving measures.
Health and safety issues such as elevated levels of carbon monoxide, moisture problems, mold, ventilation needs, and heating systems safety and efficiency are also addressed. There is growing evidence that the program provides benefits beyond energy savings. Improved indoor air quality and appropriate ventilation strategies lead to healthier living conditions in weatherized homes. These healthier living conditions often lead to improved health outcomes such as reduced asthma triggers and fewer doctor visits.
Eligibility is based on household income and if the home’s current condition is weatherization ready.
Anyone interested in applying for the Weatherization Assistance Program can contact their local provider.
More information about home energy savings can be found by visiting the websites below that cover:
Training for those working in the Weatherization Assistance Program is provided by the Michigan Training and Education Center. For more information about the training, visit www.MichiganTEC.org.