Pontiac, MI - Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter joined Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Pontiac Mayor Dr. Deirdre Waterman, and other community leaders to kick off the opening of another large-scale COVID-19 vaccine site in Oakland County Friday, April 2, 2021. Oakland County Health Division began administering doses by appointment this morning at the UWM Sports Complex in Pontiac.
Health Division nurses are expected to complete about 1,000 vaccine appointments by the end of the day.
“Sites like these at the UWM Sports Complex are so vital to our efforts to get more than 1 million Oakland County residents vaccinated quickly and efficiently,” Coulter said. “With more doses on the way to Michigan, we are continuing to accelerate our efforts to make a safe and effective vaccine available to all eligible residents.”
Oakland County providers are making progress administering COVID-19 vaccines. As of March 31, the providers have administered more than 586,000 doses supplied by the state of Michigan. Over 36 percent of Oakland County residents 16 years and older have received their first dose and nearly 70 percent of Oakland County seniors 65 years and older have also had a first dose.
“This community vaccination site will help us hit our statewide target of 100,000 shots a day and is a testament to what we can do when we work together,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I am grateful to Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter and United Wholesale Mortgage for doing their part as we continue ramping up doses to hit our 100,000 shots per day target. While I know we can all see the light at the end of the tunnel, we have to remember that we’re still in the tunnel—the only way out is forward and together. I urge all Michiganders in Oakland County and statewide to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible because the safe COVID-19 vaccines are the most effective way to protect you and your family and return to the normalcy we all crave.”
The Health Division expects to vaccinate between 1,000 and 3,000 residents each day that it utilizes the UWM Sports Complex, which has the capacity for up to 5,000 appointments per day if adequate vaccine supply becomes available. For the first and second week at UWM Sports Complex, public health nurses will administer doses from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ford Field supply to residents who live in communities with a high Social Vulnerability Index. In the weeks following, doses will come from the county’s state of Michigan allocation.
“We’re a company that believes in always doing what’s right for people, and in this case the people are those in and around Oakland County”, said Laura Lawson, chief people officer at UWM. “We’re humbled to have the opportunity to share this space for such an important cause and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure we’re doing what’s right for our community.”
Oakland County will schedule appointments at UWM Sports Complex and its other vaccine sites by pulling names from the county’s Save Your Spot list at OaklandCountyVaccine.com. On Monday, April 5, all Michigan residents 16 years and older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. There remain, however, hundreds of thousands of Oakland County residents to vaccinate who were previously eligible for the vaccine. Currently, there are 225,000 registrations on the Save Your Spot list.
Oakland County has created a vast distribution network. In addition to the drive-through locations spread throughout the county, the large vaccination sites like UWM, Suburban Showplace in Novi, Southfield Pavilion, and United Food and Commercial Workers in Madison Heights, the county is also holding community clinics in recreation centers and churches. The Health Division has a homebound vaccination program, a long-term care center program, and distributes vaccines to dozens of providers to supplement these efforts.
“We are so encouraged that eligibility has expanded and we are making progress,” Health Division Medical Director Russell Faust said. “Oakland County Health Division will continue to prioritize vaccination of individuals who live and work in Oakland County based on highest risk including older adults, those with a disability or medical condition, essential or frontline workers, and communities with residents who may have more difficulty accessing the vaccine.”
Oakland County’s seven-day case average for COVID-19 is 602 new cases per day as of March 31, a pace of about 4,200 new cases a week. Its seven-day death average for COVID-19 is zero. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Oakland County has had about 75,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, over 1,600 deaths, and more than 62,000 recoveries. Over three quarters of the confirmed cases in Oakland County have been below the age of 60, but almost 92 percent of the deaths have been above the age of 60. Over 27 percent of the deaths have been among blacks, who account for just under 14 percent of Oakland County’s population.
For the past two weeks (March 17-30), Oakland County has seen over 8,150 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 across most age groups. About 19 percent of these new cases were 18 years and below, 38 percent were 19-39 years, 32 percent were 40-59 years, and just over 11 percent were 60 years and above. The seven-day percent positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is 13.5 percent.
“When this pandemic hit just over a year ago, the community coalesced in such extraordinary ways. The business community pitched in and asked how they could help. Some even changed their business models to transition to make personal protective equipment. The non-profits shifted into high gear to meet the needs of people either suddenly out of jobs or suffering through crushing isolation. Our own health department employees worked tirelessly and without time off for weeks and months, even risking their own health to make sure our residents were informed, tested and vaccinated. And now, with a growing network of partners in health care, hospitals and pharmacies, we’re ready to meet this last challenge of the pandemic: getting as many people vaccinated as possible, as quickly as possible,” Coulter said.