By Jessica Mathews /

Local health officials say COVID-19 cases have dramatically increased in Livingston County Over the last two weeks - a trend that is mirrored both statewide and nationally.

Livingston County Health Department statistics indicate that over the past week, there were 180 total cases (average of 25 per day). “This is 3% higher than the previous week. Though this increase in case count between the last two weeks may seem small, the case count for this current week is 86% higher than the case count from 10/2-10/8.“ Officials say the increase in cases is likely due to continued community transmission and small group gatherings among adults. Additionally, the local test positivity rate in Livingston County is above the state’s rate this week, while the number of total tests has remained the same. Livingston County continues to be in the second highest risk level (“D”), as seen on the MI Safe Start Dashboard.

The Department says in August, an increased case count was associated with young adult gatherings and parties but there is now an increase in cases among older individuals aged 50-60 years. Officials say older individuals are at an increased risk for severe health complications associated with COVID-19 and are more likely to transmit the virus to others. They note the increase in continued community transmission among older individuals has the potential to have major impacts on both in-person schooling and hospital capacity.

Typically, each year the department sees an increase in hospitalizations due to flu, which stretches hospitals and healthcare systems to their limits. Officials say as they saw in the spring, high rates of COVID-19 placed an immense strain on the capacity of local hospital systems. Currently, they’re seeing an increase in COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Livingston County that are higher than rates seen in spring. If there is a severe flu season and COVID-19 cases continue to increase, officials say it will be devastating for the healthcare system and put many lives at risk. They stress that one way people can protect themselves is to get the flu vaccine - which can reduce the severity of the flu season and decrease the burden on local hospitals and clinics. The department noted that reducing the impact of COVID-19 and the flu on the community is possible and as the colder months approach, the Health Department wants to bring attention to the risk involved with indoor activities and events. It says gatherings, especially those with non-household members, pose a greater risk because of increased exposure to others.

The Health Department has issued various guidance for those who choose to attend or host a gathering along with preventative measures. The Department also released a weekly COVID-19 snapshot that includes more details on data trends in Livingston County, which can be viewed on our website.