Coronavirus / Covid-19

picture of GR Ford Airport Logo
Gerald R. Ford International Airport

The numbers of people using a western Michigan airport are approaching levels prior to the start of restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Management at Gerald R. Ford International Airport outside Grand Rapids say travel numbers are about 90% of what they were in March 2020, WOOD-TV reported.

About 60,000 people are expected to travel through the airport in Cascade Township in the next 10 days.

The airport finished 2020 with half the number of travelers it normally sees. By the end of this year, it is hoping to get closer to 70%.

Novel coronavirus graphic

Michigan, where COVID-19 is surging more than in any state, on Thursday reported its first confirmed case of a coronavirus variant that was initially identified in Brazil.

There are concerns it might affect re-infect people who have already had COVID-19. The variant was found in a resident in Bay County, where the local health officials were investigating the person’s exposure history.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine distribution photo
Jake May/The Flint Journal / Associated Press

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility is expanding to anyone 16-years of age and older at the West Michigan Vaccine Clinic at Grand Rapids’ DeVos Place. The timing coincides with a concerning new wave in COVID-19 cases impacting younger people. 

“This is strangely and sadly reminiscent of what we felt in the fall.”

Dr. Darryl Elmouchi is President of Spectrum Health West Michigan. He explains that a couple of weeks ago COVID-19 inpatient admissions were at about 50. Since then admissions are climbing faster than the Thanksgiving surge.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer photo
Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked the White House on Tuesday if it would consider sending additional COVID-19 vaccines to states, including Michigan, that face surging coronavirus cases.

Whitmer later announced that the state’s direct allotment of doses — which is separate from vaccines going to pharmacies from the federal government — will total about 620,000 next week, a record. That is 12%, or roughly 66,000, more than this week and includes a substantial boost in the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP, File


Michigan, which not long ago had one of the country’s lowest COVID-19 infection rates, is confronting an alarming spike that some experts worry could be a harbinger nationally.

Vaccine available to homeless
David Zalubowski / Associated Press

Vaccinated church leaders serving as medical volunteers will begin canvassing Grand Rapids neighborhoods identified as having a high number of socially vulnerable residents. It’s a grassroots COVID-19 vaccine registration effort.

The Kent County COVID-19 Church Task Force has been meeting once a week since the coronavirus pandemic began more than one year ago. Leaders from 50 Kent County congregations hosting a one-hour meeting with the health department.

Novel coronavirus graphic

Michigan is set to expand vaccine eligibility starting Monday, a move that comes as public health experts voice fresh concerns about the state’s rising COVID-19 infection rate.

Residents age 50 and older will be eligible for vaccines starting Monday. Ford Field in Detroit is set to open Wednesday as Michigan’s first federally run mass vaccine site.

However, the state’s COVID-19 cases have been increasing. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, said the state’s case rate spiked 77% over the past four weeks to 172.9 cases per million people.

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney sits in the courtroom during her arraignment, Friday March, 19, 2021 photo
Nicole Hester / Ann Arbor News via AP

Supporters boarded the doors at a western Michigan restaurant to show authorities that the owner will keep it closed, a condition necessary to spring her from jail for violating court orders related to COVID-19.

Marlena Pavlos-Hackney, meanwhile, remained in custody Saturday, 90 miles away at the Ingham County jail.

Holly Shashaguay said she helped board up Marlena’s Bistro and Pizzeria in Holland on Friday night.

“When I painted that ‘complied’ sign, I was crying the whole time,” Shashaguay told “We didn’t want to do it, but we did.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Feb. 9, 2021 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Michigan on Friday eased outdoor stadium capacity restrictions before baseball’s opening day but ordered weekly rapid testing of teen athletes amid a climbing coronavirus case rate that ranks fourth nationally over the past week.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said, for now, she does not plan to tighten COVID-19 restrictions her administration had gradually loosened in recent months — noting ongoing vaccinations while also citing concerns about virus variants that more easily spread.

Novel coronavirus graphic

The Kent County Health Department says more than 28% of the county’s population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

While that’s a positive, it’s warning residents that COVID cases, positivity rate and hospitalizations are all climbing.

basketball referee photo

A number of Kent County high school boys and girls basketball teams are experiencing an increase COVID-19 outbreaks. The Kent County Health Department is advising teams take a week off limiting the virus’ spread.

Since the start of the Michigan high school basketball season in early February, more than half of Kent County teams have reported at least one player testing positive for COVID-19 with the health department.

“For every one of those they also had students that had to be placed in quarantine because they were close contacts to the at least one player.”