Kent transport

Kent and Calhoun counties release update on pandemic response during post-surge recovery phase

WEST MICHIGAN – West Michigan County Health Services is issuing updates in the battle against COVID-19.

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) says positive COVID cases have dropped significantly, noting an average of 158 cases per day from 1,200 per day in mid-January. They say positivity rates have fallen to 15.4% and the number of hospitalized patients has fallen from around 400 to less than 200.

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The health department recognizes that COVID-19 is likely to stick around, so it plans to continue to monitor data and provide the latest information as it comes to light.

KCHD notes that they will not issue vaccine mandates; however, eligible parties are encouraged to receive the vaccine to reduce the risk of serious illness and death. They also point out that the county’s recommendations not to override state or federal health agencies; therefore, there may still be repercussions (such as exclusion from schools and daycares) if staff with a confirmed or suspected illness are not vaccinated.

The health department also says face masks are still required on public transportation, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Meanwhile, the Calhoun County Public Health Department (CCPHD) is revoking quarantine protocols in K-12 Settings as good as General publicstarting Monday, February 21.

CCPHD notes that isolation orders in schools will persist when students test positive for COVID-19, per the Michigan Public Health Code.

Like Kent County, Calhoun County is also seeing a noticeable reduction in COVID-19 cases.

“We are seeing COVID-19 rates drop in our community and the threat of a community surge is decreasing,” says health officer Eric Pessell. “In the future, our residents will have the tools and knowledge to make the choices that are best for their health status and risk tolerance. Please keep what you have learned over the past two years in mind when making decisions about risk levels at home, at work and in the community, for as long as COVID-19 persists in our community. »

Calhoun County health officials advise using your personal best judgment and considering all risk factors when deciding whether or not to wear a face mask indoors.

As pandemic conditions continue to improve, CCPHD still recommends getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and asking your doctor for antibody treatment if you test positive for the virus. Health officials are also encouraging isolation and quarantine to prevent others from getting sick if you test positive and to get tested if you feel sick or have been exposed to someone who tests positive.

Masks are also encouraged. Click here to find out where free KN95 masks are offered.

READ MORE: MDHHS updates mask guidelines and removes masking recommendations in most public indoor spaces

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