St. Clair County becomes Michigan’s latest COVID hotspot

St. Clair County becomes COVID hot spot: Human behavior, low vaccine doses blamed

St. Clair County is Michigan’s top county in new coronavirus cases per-capita.

Officials in St. Clair County said resident behavior plays a major factor in how and why COVID is spreading in the county.

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“This is about personal responsibility. If you don’t want to listen to experts, be responsible for yourself and, more importantly, realize that what you do is impacting the people around you,” said county health director Dr. Annette Mercatante. “You have this highly-contagious form of this virus that lands in the fertile soil of the Thumb, where people don’t wear masks and don’t abide by social distancing rules.”

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It’s a multi-front battle. Justin Westmiller is the the county’s emergency management director. He said the county is receiving such small vaccine doses, but also the demand for vaccines is falling.

“This COVID-19 response has been so very political, but I think there’s a lot of things contributing to people not interested in getting the vaccine yet or getting it at all,” Westmiller said.

“We spend time fighting with people who don’t want to quarantine or don’t want a test or don’t want to even answer our calls if we are trying to find where they have been or who may have been exposed,” Mercatante said.

And now the virus is being spread to health care workers, which means that are not at work as hospitals fill up.

“I am not hearing a lot of people say the virus is a hoax anymore, what I am still struggling with is people saying they don’t need to do anything about it,” Mercatante said. “We are smart people, we have to decide we are going to beat this. We have to stop fighting each other and fight the virus.”

About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.