Health Officer Linda Vail shares latest updates regarding COVID-19 in Ingham County


Liam Jackson, News Editor

INGHAM COUNTY – As COVID-19 vaccinations have become available to everyone over the age of 16 in Ingham County, the end of the pandemic may finally be in sight. On Tuesday, the Health Officer for Ingham County, Linda Vail, provided the latest information on COVID cases and vaccinations.

“I am hopeful that we are getting through our last major surge with this pandemic,”  Vail said. “That kind of feels like a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Cases and hospitalizations

Although Vail said she hopes this is the last “major surge” of COVID-19, it is still a concerning surge nonetheless. There are  almost 4,000 active cases in the county, and hospitalizations are at a level that have not been seen since the pandemic first exploded last March. Last week alone, there were over 200 people hospitalized. 

“To get to hospitalization numbers that are higher than we’ve seen since the beginning of this pandemic is taxing,” Vail said.

The number of ventilated patients has risen significantly over the last month and a half as well. In the beginning of March, only two were on ventilators, and as of April 18, 2021, there were a total of 22 ventilated patients in the county.

“We’re tired in public health; we are tired in healthcare. We’ve been at this for over a year,” Vail said, “It’s hard to keep that morale up when you are working, and you are working and along you go again.”

 Vaccine Issuance

 On the issue of vaccines, Vail encouraged every eligible citizen to get immunized in order to slow down the surge.

“These vaccines work, and it is very important that we as a society get enough people vaccinated that we protect people who may not be able to get vaccinated,” she said.

As of April 18, 2021, almost 110,000 Ingham county residents have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Of those 110,000, just over 32,000 are ages 65 and older. This accounts for 81.2% of all seniors in the county. 

The Ingham County Health Department’s goal is to vaccinate 70% of all residents aged 16 and older in 2021. They are currently 65% of the way towards the goal and have just about 60,000 more residents that need to be vaccinated in order to reach this goal.

 Vail sounded hopeful that the vaccinations will stop hospitalization rates from getting to these levels again. 

“With significant numbers of people vaccinated, we shouldn’t see those rates of hospitalizations again because we know the vaccinations prevent hospitalizations and death,” she said.