Residents called to tighten safety precautions after Lakeland hospitalizations rise

NOW: Residents called to tighten safety precautions after Lakeland hospitalizations rise

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- Health officials in Berrien County are calling on residents to be more rigid in slowing the spread of COVID-19 now that Lakeland Hospital is reporting one of its highest case counts.

The hospital was treating 34 coronavirus patients as of its Tuesday update and the Berrien County Health Department said this is the result of a trend they have been following – the continued spike in cases in this region.

“We know that typically two weeks after we see a surge in cases we start to see more hospitalizations and possible deaths,” said Gillian Conrad, Communications Manager for the Berrien County Health Department.

Berrien County’s positivity rate for those tested also continues to rise – now at seven percent, when they say four or lower is ideal.

This may signal a bigger problem overall.

“What we might be seeing in this new wave of cases is us getting to another new plateau, another new state of normal for what we would consider a controlled amount of COVID-19 in our community, but it’s certainly concerning that we’re seeing so many tests come back positive as well as hospitalizations,” said Conrad.

Despite Michigan being one of the more stringent states throughout the pandemic, health officials said the rise in positive tests, cases and hospitalizations all point to individuals not helping mitigate the virus.

“We oftentimes don’t think twice about heading over to grandma’s house or getting together with friends on the weekend, even if you might feel a little sick, but this could be detrimental to other people because you could be spreading COVID-19 or any other illness,” said Conrad. “We’ve seen many cases of where people think they just had a cold, allergies or a sinus infection and it turns out to be coronavirus. Even with mild symptoms, this virus can be spread to others.”

As a result of the increased hospitalizations, Spectrum Health Lakeland and the Berrien County Health Department will hold a joint news conference Thursday to address the community.

Spectrum Health Lakeland's daily COVID-19 dashboard:

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