Vaccinated local leaders urge constituents to do the same

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published July 28, 2021

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WARREN — “Protect yourself. Protect your family. Get vaccinated.”

That’s the bottom line of a message coming to mailboxes from Warren-area leaders who said collectively they wouldn’t ask constituents to do what they haven’t done themselves.

In response to a reported rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths resulting from the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, public health officials are sounding the alarm about a growing “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”

According to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48.3% of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated and 55.8% had received at least one dose as of July 15. A total of 33,797,400 cases of the virus were reported nationwide as of July 14, with the seven-day average number of new cases up 69.3% (15,541) from the week prior.

“I was getting calls and emails from residents wanting two things: to be able to get to a vaccine clinic conveniently and to be able to talk to a medical professional about any concerns they had about the vaccine,” Warren City Treasurer Lorie Barnwell said.

With the Macomb County’s rate of fully vaccinated people almost 10 percentage points behind neighboring Oakland County, Barnwell said she organized the effort among her peers to help constituents, particularly those living south of 11 Mile Road, to get the vaccine.

“Not all residents have readily available transportation, access to the internet, or a primary care doctor. This is a way to help all residents to ensure no one is left behind,” Barnwell said.

The mailing refers any vaccine-related inquiries from residents to the MyCare Health Clinic at 6900 E. 10 Mile Road, in Center Line. The phone number for the clinic is (586) 596-2693. Callers can ask questions or sign up to get the vaccine.

Barnwell said she partnered with the Macomb County Democratic Committee to organize the mailing and that the included leaders paid for it with personal funds.  

In addition to Barnwell, U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, state Sen. Paul Wojno, state Rep. Richard Steenland, state Rep. Lori Stone, Macomb County Commissioner Michelle Nard, Macomb County Commissioner Mai Xiong, Warren City Council President Pat Green, City Council Secretary Mindy Moore, Councilwoman Angela Rogensues, Councilman Ron Papandrea and Councilman Jonathan Lafferty were included in the mailing.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has independently urged Warren residents to get vaccinated and his staff has facilitated both COVID-19 testing and vaccination events at City Hall.

On July 19, Fouts announced on Facebook that his office opened later in the day due to a possible COVID-19 infection of an unvaccinated staffer.

“A model employee in all aspects except that the employee has not been vaccinated,” Fouts said.

The mayor added, “I hope that unvaccinated people will reconsider their viewpoint as cases are spiking due to the Delta virus from India. Even some vaccinated people are getting it but without the serious ramifications of hospitalization and death.

“Please be safe and get the shot,” Fouts said.

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