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Families should separate for holidays due to rising COVID numbers, expert says

Posted at 6:30 AM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 06:32:31-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Health officials here in West Michigan are sending a warning about a recent uptick in cases of COVID-19.

With the holidays quickly approaching, we wanted to sit down with an infectious disease specialist about these recent numbers.

Dr. Andrew Jameson, MD, infectious disease specialist at Mercy Health, says within the last couple of days 16% of people that come in with symptoms are testing positive for COVID-19, compared to 3% a month ago.

His message now is to stay safe and separate, especially heading into the holidays.

"I'm so feeling bad for everyone," Dr. Jameson said. "You want to get together as family. You've delayed getting together a family so long. You've tried so hard to stay away from grandma or whatever. But now is the time we have to buckle down again and try really hard to keep that away. Because it's not actually these big group events that we're we're so worried about at the beginning anymore."

Dr. Jameson is also continuing to recommend masking indoors, especially if you are around other people. He says when people are indoors, the six-foot distancing doesn't matter all that much due to poor ventilation.
Masking up is going to be the biggest protector in preventing you or a loved one in the same room from getting the virus, he said.

On Friday, The Kent County Health Department issued a public health statement saying cases of COVID-19 in Kent County are on the rise, with the positivity rate at 4.5%, which is "a significant increase from previous weeks."

The health department stated that Kent Count is exceeding 150 cases per million, and local hospitals are at capacity with both COVID and non-COVID patients.

Right now in Kent County, nearly 12,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, with more than 300 confirmed just Monday.