By Jessica Mathews /

Due to the high level of COVID-19 spread in Livingston County, the increase in numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, and the appearance of a new variant globally, the Health Department is recommending residents take extra precautions this holiday season.

In November, Livingston County saw the number of confirmed and probable cases rise over 161% when compared to October. There were 5,082 total cases in November – marking an average of 169 cases per day. That’s said to be an increase of 2,033% from July.

According to the CDC, the local COVID transmission level remains high – which is defined by a test positivity rate greater than or equal to 10%. The Department says throughout November, the test positivity rate has reached twice this threshold with rates reaching over 20%.

With the level of spread, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a face mask advisory that recommends all individuals wear masks at indoor gatherings, regardless of vaccination status.

Livingston County has also experienced a significant increase in hospitalizations and deaths. In November, there were a total of 38 hospital admissions including one pediatric hospitalization, a 27% increase compared to October. Additionally in November, there were 31 deaths - a 3% increase compared to October. Since the month of July, the number of deaths in cases referred to the Health Department per month has dramatically increased.

Officials say the rise in hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 is alarming and the county’s hospital, St. Joseph Mercy Livingston, has reached 100% capacity - placing further pressure on frontline healthcare staff.

The report goes on to discuss the new variant of concern, Omicron. The Department says it’s sending positive COVID samples for sequencing, especially from those with recent travel, to determine which variants are present in Livingston County and to quickly identify if the Omicron variant appears in the county.

The Health Department noted that vaccines, including boosters, are readily available and encouraged.

The full report is attached.