Kent County Health Department

Nursing home COVID-19 testing photo
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The Kent County Health Department announced Monday its experiencing a decline in the number of residents seeking COVID-19 tests, and according to Christopher Bendekgey, the Community Clinical Services Division Director, 40%-50% fewer people are getting tested currently than at the height of infections in early to mid-July. 

So, what’s causing the slowdown? What factors are contributing to fewer tests at health department sites?

Bendekgey weighs in. 

“There’s more organizations coming online with their testing capacities and capabilities,” he explains.

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The number of COVID-19 cases and positivity rate in Kent County are declining at the moment. Although that’s good news, the county health director admits a return to the classroom is going to be imperfect and difficult.

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Kent County Health Department

Kent County’s Health director is asking residents to resist from stigmatizes individuals and groups who have recovered from COVID-19.

In Kent County, 149 residents have died from COVID-19. Of the 6,645 residents have contracted the disease, 5,204 have survived it.

Dr. Adam London, Director of the Kent County Health Department says many of them who have fully recovered are being stigmatized – shunned by some in the community.

picture of Kent County Health Department sign

This week, the state moved the Grand Rapids region from a COVID-19 Medium-High risk to Medium risk after the past two weeks indicated new cases remained flat. But it’s the positivity rate that health officials are watching closely.

The Kent County Health Department is recording an average increase of five deaths per week and about 40 new COVID-19 cases per day.

There have been some ups and downs over the past two weeks, but overall, cases are flat. And during that same period some encouraging news; the positivity rate has declined.

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Under Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s economic reopening plan there are six phases of reopening. The phase each region falls under is dependent on the number of reported COVID-19 cases. Governor Whitmer says as restaurants, bars, hair and nail salons have reopened – the Lansing and Grand Rapids regions have seen an increase in cases.

picture of Kent County Health Department sign

A Grand Rapids area bar has been ordered closed by Kent County officials after it failed to adhere to social distance protocols.

After a cellphone video circulated on social media revealing Grand Rapids’ Social House Tavern crowd in violation of social distance protocols, the Kent County Health Department ordered it closed until further notice.

“We take these things all very seriously. And, in particular, when it comes to bars and restaurants.”

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

Novel coronavirus

The daily U.S. count of new coronavirus cases stood near an all-time high Thursday. It's hovering close to the late-April peak when 36,400 were reported. The Kent County Health Department is watching with concern after a jump in cases reported Thursday.

In early May, Kent County experienced its COVID-19 outbreak peak with161 cases reported on average each day. Between may 2nd and June 10th cases declined to an average of 26 new cases.

Dr. Adam London photo
Kent County Health Department

The number of Kent County COVID-19 cases is trending in a positive direction. However, the county health director is warning we need to be careful and smart about our social behaviors.

There’s an increase of COVID-19 cases in 19 states. In a handful of those states where stay-orders were lifted, Kent County Health Department Director Dr. Adam London says are now reconsidering the decision.

Kent County Health Department

According to data from the Kent County Health Department, those living the 49508 and 49509 zip codes are being infected with COVID-19 at the higher rates than any other zipcode in the county.

“We were seeing that there are pockets within the Kent County area that were showing higher rates of positive cases and so our goal was to find sites within those areas or as close to those areas that we could offer testing to those communities.” 

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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.