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Does Kent County meet MI Safe Start Phase 4 metrics?

MI Safe Start logo

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has lifted Michigan's coronavirus stay-at-home order and is allowing for the reopening of restaurants to dine-in customers next week. But does the relaxing of social distancing measures in West Michigan meet the requirements of the MI Safe Start plan?

There are five metrics required for moving into Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start plan which includes reopening aspects of retail, restaurants and bars, public transportation, education and office work.

The first metric requires reducing the case rate to less than 20 cases per million of population per day. On May 1st, Kent County was at 93 cases per day per million. It’s now in the low 30’s per day. A general downward trend, but not meeting the requirement.

“Just because we’re seeing this steady downward trend does not mean we’re out of the woods with this. It does not mean that the epidemic is over.”

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

“Our Grand Rapids region actually has the highest case rate of any region across the state of Michigan.”

If numbers increase?

“It’s very possible that we could move back to Phase 3.”

The MI Safe Start plan prescribes a Phase 3 to Phase 4 move requires a second metric; administering COVID-19 tests at a rate of more than 3,000 per million of population per day. The county is currently at about 1,400 tests per day. Again, short of Phase 4 requirements.

Dr. London explains we meet all the other metrics; a positivity rate of less than 10 percent, contact tracing within 24-hours of notification and hospitals have necessary bed capacity.

“I’m imploring everyone right now. Please, continue to wear masks in public places if you can. Please, continue to social distance.”

London asks if you can work from home, please do. If you feel sick? Stay home and get tested.

I’m Patrick Center.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.