95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Kent County Health Department describes COVID-19 learning curve

picture of Kent County Health Department sign

Kent County’s Health Department director says the medical community has learned a lot about COVID-19 in the past couple months. It’s information that’s helping curbing the spread of the disease. 

The Kent County Health Department is hearing from citizens swearing they had COVID-19 symptoms in January, February and March. They claim they must have antibodies making them immune to the disease. It’s unlikely based on a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766367 examining a random sample of more than 800 adults in Los Angeles County, California.

“And only a little over four percent actually had those antibodies.”

Dr. Adam London is director of the Kent County Health Department.

“Really the overwhelming majority of us probably have not been infected and don’t have any protection thus far to COVID-19.”

The risk for infections still remains high from hand to mouth or eyes and surface contact, but it's inhalation of virus particles through coughs and sneezes that carries with it the greatest chance for infection.

“Another thing that we’re noticing is that the viral load exposure that a person receives correlates to severity of symptoms. So, for instance, if I were exposed to someone who, I’m walking down the street exposed to someone coughing I’m probably less likely to develop severe symptoms as a result of that infection than I would be if I were living in a congregant group setting with a lot of sick people all coughing. So, the viral load is very important in making sure that we don’t overwhelm the immune system. Which again, points to masks and social distancing as important tools for keeping that viral load exposure as low as possible.”

Dr. London also points to screening of symptoms; testing and then isolation and quarantine strategies are very effective.

I’m Patrick Center.