GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Officials from the Kent County and Ottawa County Health Departments said in a press conference Friday afternoon that they would be committing their offices to providing the public with consistent updates throughout the ever-changing COVID-19 situation.
Kent County's Dr Adam London began Friday saying, "We understand there is a lot of fear and confusion in the community."
He and Kristina Wieghmink, Communications Director at the Ottawa County Health Department, wanted to address the public ahead of the weekend to emphasize the importance of sharing accurate information about COVID-19 in a regular fashion.
There have yet to be any confirmed cases of the virus in Ottawa County. There are 3 people who have tested positive in Kent County.
Dr London said that 4 additional cases have been positively identified in the state of Michigan. While he did not know exactly where the samples came from, he said they were not Kent County residents.
Both health officials applauded Governor Gretchen Whitmer for issuing an order barring events that would have over 250 people in attendance.
Both health departments said they would still hold on to their recommendation of cancelling any event that would see more than 100 people in the same location.
Dr London told media in attendance Friday that his department would continue to update the county's website over the upcoming weekend. Saying, "this is a very fluid situation and as these details change we will provide that information to you."
He said they would not be releasing any personal details about the individuals who have tested positive for the virus, saying it would only expose them to stigma within the community. .
Dr London said that many community partners have reached out to ask if there was anything they could do to help the health department's efforts. He said that while they are doing well supply-wise, the state bloodbanks are starting to run low.
The Kent County Health Department will be holding a special blood drive this Monday (March 16) from 8:00am until 2:00pm.
In terms of helping people on a person-person basis, Dr London suggested considering your elderly loved ones. Saying "what can people do to help? Think about those who are vulnerable, 60 and older and those with compromised immune systems."
Dr London also said that health providers in the area are starting to get overwhelmed, saying that many of the people who are showing up to health centers wanting to be tested are not even showing any signs of COVID-19.
"That compromises their ability to care for the other crises in the community. The reality is we're still having all kinds of other medical emergencies," he said.