Leelanau News and Events

Health Department Issues Guidance With COVID Cases Increasing & New Variant Emerging

Jan. 7, 2022

Between Tuesday, Jan. 4, and Thursday Jan. 6, 162 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Leelanau and Benzie counties (with 102 of those cases in Leelanau), according to the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department (BLDHD).

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has indicated that rapidly increasing numbers of Omicron cases being identified in other areas of the state and the current pattern of transmission likely indicate that it is present even where it hasn’t been identified yet. To date the BLDHD has not yet been notified of the presence of Omicron in Benzie and Leelanau counties, but notes that Omicron is known to be more transmissible than previous variants and to identify a specific variant a very small percentage of positive COVID-19 tests are randomly selected for sequencing, which takes time to process.

Lisa Peacock, health officer for the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department, is reiterating to residents that, “regardless of variant, if COVID positive or exposed, the protective measures are the same – correct and consistent masking, getting tested, and staying home when symptomatic or while waiting for test results.”

With the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the jurisdiction, BLDHD created a new guidance document to support area residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to a confirmed case to understand quarantine and isolation timelines. Health officials noted is becoming more evident that a person with COVID-19 is most contagious in the 2 days prior and 3 days following symptom onset therefore it is imperative that everyone understand the steps they need to take to keep themselves and those around them safe.

They also note while CDC and MDHHS guidelines for isolation and quarantine have changed, masking recommendations from health officials remain the same – correct and consistent masking in public settings regardless of vaccination status.

“It is important to recognize universal masking in public settings as a method of source control. When masks are worn correctly the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others is reduced. We continue to see an increased risk of spread from asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic cases and those with mild early symptoms onset which supports our recommendations for continued protective measures when in public settings,” Peacock added.

The health department offers COVID-19 vaccination clinics for all area residents and visitors 12 and older. There is an upcoming Leelanau Community COVID-19 Vaccine clinic from noon-5pm Tuesday, January 11 at the VFW Post in Lake Leelanau. Click here to schedule an appointment

Leelanau's Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic (open to 5-11 years old only; parent/guardian must accompany minor) is 8am-noon and 1-4:30pm Wednesday, January 12 at the BLDHD Leelanau Office. Appointments are required. Call 231-882-4409 to schedule.

The Disability Network is working with Honu Management Company to provide vaccinations for homebound/disabled individuals who cannot go to a vaccine site. Individuals seeking this service are to contact Lorna Teng at Disability Network: 231-922-0903, extension 1, or email lteng@disabilitynetwork.net.

The health department is offering also free COVID-19 testing with the support of Honu lab. Walk-ins are welcome. Pre-registration is not required, but it is recommended to reduce time spent at the testing clinic. Testing is available: Mondays and Thursdays, 10:00-3:00, VFW Post 7731, 7475 E Duck Lake Rd, Lake Leelanau, MI. To register for testing in Leelanau, click here

 The Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department is reporting the following:
• On Tuesday, January 4, 82 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Benzie (31) and Leelanau (51), and one new COVID-19 associated death in Benzie (1).
• On Wednesday, January 5, 38 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Benzie (14) and Leelanau (24).
• On Thursday, January 6, 42 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Benzie (15) and Leelanau (27).

As of 4pm Jan. 6, the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department is reporting:

• Total COVID-19 cases in the following counties: Benzie – 2,497, Leelanau – 2,685
• Active COVID-19 cases in the following counties: Benzie – 244, Leelanau – 325
• Recovered COVID-19 cases in the following counties: Benzie – 2,203, Leelanau – 2,324
• Confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the following counties: Benzie – 50, Leelanau– 36
• Hospitalized: 296 total; 9 currently


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