GAYLORD — The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is allowing anyone over 16 to show up at its vaccination clinics this week and receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are trying to remove barriers anyone may have to getting vaccinated,” Lisa Peacock, health officer with the department said in a statement. “We are welcoming walk-ins at all of our clinics. We have evening clinic hours and weekend clinics. We have clinics in every one of our counties (Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego).”
A vaccine clinic is set for 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Ellison Place at 150 Dale Dr. in Gaylord. The Pfizer vaccine will be available. For information on the department’s clinics visit visit www.nwhealth.org. Anyone needing assistance should call 2-1-1 or their local Commission on Aging or Senior Services Center.
Meanwhile Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has outlined a plan which ties specific vaccination levels to rolling back coronavirus restrictions for state residents.
“On our path to vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 16 and up, we can take steps to gradually get back to normal while keeping people safe,” Whitmer said in a statement. “If you haven’t already, I encourage you to rise to the challenge and be a part of the solution so we can continue our economic recovery and have the summer we all crave.”
The plan known as “MI Vacc to Normal” outlines four vaccination-based milestones to gradually ease restrictions:
• Two weeks after 4.5 million Michiganders have received their first vaccine dose (55% of the eligible population), the state will lift requirements that employers mandate employees work remotely where feasible.
• Two weeks after 4.9 million Michiganders have received their first vaccine dose (60% of the eligible population), the state will increase indoor capacity for sporting events, conference centers, banquet halls and other similar facilities to 25%. The state will also increase capacity limits at gyms 50%, and lift curfews on restaurants and bars.
• Two weeks after 5.3 million Michiganders have received their first vaccine dose (65% of the eligible population), the state will lift all indoor capacity restrictions and relax limits on social gatherings.
• Two weeks after 5.7 million Michiganders have received their first vaccine dose (70% of the eligible population), the state will rescind the health department’s face mask and gathering order and stop issuing similar rules “unless unanticipated circumstances arise.”
The entire plan revolves around people getting the first of two vaccination doses, as two of three available (Pfizer and Moderna) require two injections.
As school officials, students and their families plan for typical year-end celebrations such as prom, graduation and other events, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is offering guidance on hosting safer high school end-of-year events.
MDHHS has advice on how schools can be safer while conducting a prom, graduation and year-end parties, and guidance for schools that choose to implement an end-of-year testing program. School officials and parents can find information on end-of-year school events pertaining to locations, mask wearing requirements, and guidelines for activities such as dancing, games and transportation.
The guidance may be viewed at www.michigan.gov/documents/coronavirus/End_of_Year_Gatherings_Guidance_042721_723470_7.pdf.
According to data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Otsego County was reporting 1,829 COVID-19 cases and 32 deaths as of May 1. A week earlier, the county’s totals stood at 1,776 cases and 30 deaths.
Crawford County had 873 cases and 13 deaths as of May 1, while Cheboygan County was reporting 1,509 cases and 41 deaths. A week ago Crawford County had 862 cases and 11 deaths, while Cheboygan County was reporting 1,434 cases and 41 deaths.
The state’s tally of cases differs from the Health Department of Northwest Michigan’s because the local department includes probable cases in its totals.
Michigan had 844,385 cases and 17,742 deaths from the virus as of May 1. The state was reporting 819,320 cases and 17,289 deaths as of April 24. The first two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan were reported March 10 and the first death was reported March 19 of last year.