It's nearly been a year since the first cases of COVID-19 was detected here in Michigan. The world changed for all of us since then. Dr. Adam London, director of the Kent County Health Department, spoke to us about the past year and how the Kent County Health Department is moving forward as vaccine eligibility requirements enhance.
We're doing very well overall as a county," said Dr. London. "Tragically, we have seen 650 people lose their lives to COVID-19. Over the course of the past year, in our hearts and our thoughts, our prayers go out to all those families."
London says the death toll could have been much greater as much as 10 times that number. He says it's because of the work at the Kent County Health Department, the numbers are drastically lower.
"We continue to see a steady and manageable number of new cases per day, and the vaccine roll out is happening steady, and very well so far," he said. "I think we're all feeling a lot better right now than where we were at a year ago, a year ago, we didn't know exactly what we were going be faced with."
Nearly every aspect of life has been impacted by the pandemic, but Dr. London suggests things are getting better.
"We had a lot of questions about whether or not a vaccine could be produced very quickly. We were seeing high mortality rates in other parts of the world," he said. "It's been a long year for all of us and we've seen schools and businesses and so many sectors of life struggle over the past year. However, it does feel like at this point, there is a light at the end of the tunnel."
As more people across Kent County receive the vaccine, there's hope that businesses and communities can reopen again.
"We're now we have over 110,000, and county residents who received at least one dose of vaccine. So, that's astounding progress in such a short time now," London said. "We all really, really want to get to the end of this to a point where we can reopen businesses and social gatherings. It's been a long year. I think the last time I was a social gathering was when Hamilton was in town over a year ago."
Dr. London suggests that while things are moving forward in the right direction, it's still important be cautious and follow protocols from the health department.
"It's been it's been a struggle for all of us. But we're very energized and enthusiastic to be where we're at now," he said. "We just need people to to maintain discipline with the the public health recommendations for a little while longer to get us through this. So we don't have a setback and don't overwhelm hospitals and see an increase in mortality once again."
And the health department continues to work with local hospitals to roll out more doses as fast as possible.
"We've done a great job working with Spectrum and Mercy Health, St. Mary's and other partners in this region to make sure that we can roll it out and distribute it as quickly as we can receive it," London said. I's our goal to make sure we're using at least 90% of the vaccine received every week. We're actually far better than that. So that's a great sign. We just need more vaccine. The good news, there's a lots of indication that we're going to see a huge increase in vaccine over the next month or two."