WEST MICHIGAN — County health departments in West Michigan are issuing updates in the battle against COVID-19.
The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) says positive COVID cases have dropped significantly, noting an average 158 cases per day compared to 1,200 per day in mid-January. They say positivity rates are down to 15.4% and inpatient numbers have fallen from about 400 to under 200.
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The health department acknowledges that COVID-19 is likely here to stay, which is why they plan to continue monitoring data and delivering the latest information as they come to light.
KCHD notes they will not issue vaccine mandates; however, eligible parties are encouraged to receive the vaccine to reduce chances of severe illness and death. They also emphasize that the county’s recommendations to not supersede the state or federal health agencies; therefore, there may still be repercussions (such as exclusion from schools and childcare centers) if personnel with a confirmed or suspected illness are not vaccinated.
The health department also states that face masks are still required on public transportation, per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Meanwhile, the Calhoun County Public Health Department (CCPHD) is revoking quarantine protocols in K–12 settings as well as the general public, effective Monday, Feb. 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 witnessing a notable reduction in COVID-19 cases.
“We're seeing that COVID-19 rates are declining in our community and threat of community surge is lessening,” says Health Officer Eric Pessell. “Moving forward, our residents have the tools and knowledge to make choices that are best for their health status and risk tolerance. Please keep what you've learned in the past two years in mind as you make decisions about risk levels at home, work, and in the community, as long as COVID-19 persists in our community."
Calhoun County health officials advise using your best personal judgment and consider all risk factors on deciding whether or not wear a face mask indoors.
While pandemic conditions continue to improve, CCPHD still recommends getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and asking your doctor about antibody treatment if you test positive for the virus. Health officials also encourage isolation and quarantine to prevent others from getting sick if you test positive and to get tested if you feel sick or were exposed to someone who tested positive.
Masks are also encouraged. Click here to find out where free KN95 masks are offered.
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