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Coronavirus updates: West Michigan's response to the pandemic

Posted: 3:32 PM, Mar 13, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-27 10:33:43-04
America's first coronavirus death reported in Washington state

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — There are hundreds of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Michigan, and people and organizations across the region are constantly making far-reaching decisions in response to the pandemic.

This story will be updated as governments, businesses, museums and others announce changes.

MARCH 27

MEDICAL: PRESCRIPTIONS

Prescription deliveries

SpartanNash stores will offer free same-day prescription deliveries beginning April 1, including Family Fare, D&W, Forest Hill Foods, VG's Grocery, Family Fresh Market, and Econofoods. Contact the SpartanNash pharmacy that you use.

Priority Health members can use the company's free mail order option through Express Scripts to obtain 90-day prescriptions. Deliver is free but co-pays apply.

Priority Health has expanded free delivery options at Meijer, Walgreens, and CVS. At Meijer, free next-day deliveries available beginning Mar. 30; call the Meijer pharmacy you use. At CVS, free home delivery available at least through Apr. 17, but can take 1-2 days; contact the pharmacy you use. At Walgreens, delivery usually available on the next business day through at least Apr. 21; contact your local pharmacy.

MARCH 26

LAW ENFORCEMENT

Ottawa County

Do not call 911 to report violations of the governor’s stay-at-home order. In Ottawa County, send an email to StayHomeStaySafeComplaints@miOttawa.org. Emails will be reviewed for possible action.

MENTAL HEALTH

Wedgwood Counseling Services

Virtual counseling available for adults, teens, children, and families. Call 616-942-7294.

DENTAL CARE

My Community Dental Centers

Of the 34 non-profit dental centers in the state, there are 16 that remain open for emergency dental needs. Call 877-313-6232.

Do not go to an emergency room for dental emergencies.

HOME REPAIR

Battle Creek Minor Home Repair Program

Assistance available on a case-by-case basis to low- to moderate-income homeowners for emergency repairs to water, electrical, and heat in homes.
To apply or see if you qualify (Battle Creek residents only), go here.

DEPT. OF NATURAL RESOURCES

State parks open with appropriate social distancing.
Campgrounds closed through April 13.
Overnight lodging facilities and shelters closed through May 15.
Reservations for campsites beetween now and April 13 cancelled with full refunds and no cancellation fee charged. Questions: 800-447-2757.
State park headquarters buildings, contact stations, bathroom buildings, vault toilets, and playgrounds closed.
Recreation Passport temporarily not required for admission.
Silver Lake Park ORV Area opening delayed to April 1.

MARCH 25

MEDICAL DONATIONS

Newaygo County Emergency Services

Donations accepted Wednesday, Mar. 25, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at county maintenance building 1020 E Wilcox Ave., White Cloud. Call 231-689-7354 if you cannot donate at that time.

Accepted items: N95 Masks,Isolation masks (adult/child), Masks with face shield/visor, Handmade or sewn reusable masks, Face shields, Goggles/safety glasses, Bouffant caps, Extended extra protection gloves – all sizes, Isolation gowns, Bleach wipes, Swabs (flexible mini-tip), Pocket-sized sanitizer, Thermometers (digital, disposable, temporal)

ENTERTAINMENT

Kalamazoo State Theatre

Newly postponed shows; purchased tickets will be honored at new dates:

  • Robert Cray Band - Original date: March 15/ New date: September 9, 2020
  • Kalamazoo Academy of Rock - Original date: March 21 / New date: May 17, 2020
  • 1964 The Tribute - Original date: March 27 / New date: February 13, 2021
  • Buddy Guy - Original date: April 1 / New date: October 22, 2020
  • REO Speedwagon - Original date: April 17 / New date: October 30, 2020
  • Tommy Emmanuel - Original date: April 22 / New date: January 13, 2020
  • Almost Queen - Original date: April 24 / New date: September 26, 2020

March 24

DELAYS

City of Portage brush pickup

The city's quarterly brush pickup is delayed by one week to April 13. Leaves and ornamental grasses in biodegradable yard waste bags will be collected.

The spring cleanup program is set to run on schedule on April 20.

Questions about the propgrams can be directed to the Department of Public Works at 269-329-4444.

RETAIL/SHOPPING

Rivertown Crossings

Mall closed. Mall Walker Program suspended. Food court may operate curbside takeout and delivery. Access permitted to businesses inside which provide "goods or services to sustain or protect life."

Woodland Mall

Mall closed. Restaurants can offer takeout and delivery.

SCHOOL MEAL SITES

Grand Rapids Public Schools

Some meal sites are no longer available as grab and go meal sites. These are the six meal sites available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays only 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.:

  • City High Middle School (1720 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505)
  • Hope Academy (240 Brown St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507)
  • New Faith Temple (1701 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507)
  • Ottawa Hills High School (2055 Rosewood Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506)
  • San Juan Diego Academy (1650 Godfrey Ave. SW, Wyoming, MI 49509)
  • Sibley Elementary (943 Sibley St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504)

Ottawa Area schools

Ottawa Area ISD has created an interactive map of meal distribution sites for families during the school shutdown.

Parents can go to any of the local district food plans through April 5. Most offer multiple opportunities and will provide meals for several days.

BLOOD DONATIONS

Versiti Blood Center of Michigan

Centers open and accepting donations across the state, including Grand Rapids at 1036 Fuller Avenue NE and Grandville at 3140 Wilson Avenue SW.
Traveling to blood donation centers allowed in the governor's stay-at-home order.

866-642-5663

SECRETARY OF STATE

All offices closed, but many services are available online, including license and registration renewal: https://onlineservices.michigan.gov/ExpressSOS.

EMPLOYERS

Herman Miller

Manufacturing at Herman Miller is shut down through Apr. 13. Questions, contact 800-597-8970.

FOOD DISTRIBUTION

North Kent Connect

New Hours: Drive-up service to NKC clients Mondays and Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mar. 25-Apr. 13.
NKC Thrift store closed. No donations accepted. If you have immediate need, call 211 or 800-887-1107.
Anyone interested in becoming a North Kent Connect client, call 616-866-3478

March 23

CLOSINGS

Diocese of Grand Rapids

All masses are canceled through Easter, but will continue to be livestreamed and aired on FOX 17.

Funerals will take place without a mass and with only immediate family members present, limiting gatherings to 10. Weddings and baptisms through April 13 will be postponed to a later date.

Gilmore Car Museum

The museum will be closed during the state's stay-at-home mandate. Events during that period will be postponed and rescheduled to a later date.

Tanger Outlets

All stores will be closed on Tuesday until further notice. Minimum basic operations and security will still be present at the shopping center.

EDUCATION

Grand Rapids Community College

GRCC will finish the semester using remote instruction. The online courses were initially expected to end April 3, but further developments with COVID-19 has forced the college to finish the semester without in-person classes.

Decisions about summer classes and commencement ceremonies are still being worked out.

GOVERNMENT

Barry County

Barry County and Barry County Trial Court Operations will be closed until April 13.

City of Douglas

Douglas City Hall is closed to the public, but calls will still be forwarded to employees during business hours. The police department will continue to provide services 24/7.

City of Portage

Tuesday's city council meeting will be conducted virtually. Each council member will attend the meeting by telephone.

Citizens can watch the meeting through cable access or on the city's website.

Anyone with questions about city council meetings can call the city's clerk at 269-329-4511.

City of South Haven

The city has suspended all public meetings and will close all city buildings to anyone who is not an employee. Essential services like police and fire departments, water, electricity and sewer will continue.

Further updates will be posted on the city's social media pages.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety

All public safety facilities are closed to the public until further notice. Walk-in crime reporting, arrests, and sex offender registry will not be available during the closure. However, most services provided through the department are still available online, by mail or by phone.

HEALTH CARE

Family Health Care

All patients will be required to complete a COVID-19 questionnaire before entering any Family Health Care buildings.

Curbside pickup services for medications are available from all the company's pharmacies. Medical clinics are open for people with urgent needs or with an illness.

Forest View Hospital

The facility is fully operational and is taking steps to protect employees and patients through screening and not allowing any in-person visits to patients.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Battle Creek Transit

Rides are now free. Enter buses by rear door unless using wheelchair or walker. Seats directly behind driver are blocked, others blocked for social distancing.

Kalamazoo Metro

All public transit service will be free starting Tuesday. Passengers will get on and exit the bus from the rear door and are asked to minimize contact with the driver and other passengers.

People who need to use a ramp to board can do so at the front door.

March 20

GOVERNMENT

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

COVID-19 Hotline: 888-535-6136
Email: COVID-19@michigan.gov
Newsletter updates: Subscribe at michigan.gov/coronavirus
Online updates: michigan.gov/coronavirus

HEALTH CARE

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital

Mary Free Bed is canceling all non-urgent outpatient appointments at all its Grand Rapids-area locations. Those with an urgent need will be treated at the main Grand Rapids campus.

People who need regular outpatient therapy will be contacted to schedule virtual appointments with Mary Free Bed staff.

Priority Health

Priority Health is offering all its members virtual access to medical professionals for non-emergency care at no extra cost. Medication delivery service has also been expanded.

MEALS

Grand Rapids Community College

GRCC has prepared meal pickups for students impacted by the shutdown of school and various buildings on campus.

Food will be delivered through a curbside pickup on Lyon Street at the brick-paved portion on the north end of Juan R. Olivarez Student Plaza.

Pickup times will be from:

  • 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on March 24
  • Noon to 2 p.m. on April 1
  • 10 a.m. to noon on April 6

Senior Meals

Meals available for curbside pickup to persons 60+ in Muskegon and Ottawa Counties from a partnership created by AgeWell Services of West Michigan and the Veggie Van from the Greater Grand Rapids YMCA:

Click here for locations and times.

March 19

EVENTS

Ultimate Sport Show

DeVos Place March 19-22 postponed.

GOVERNMENT

City of Kalamazoo

The city has restored water service to everyone with a delinquent water account to allow them to wash their hands and maintain proper hygiene during the coronavirus outbreak.

Kent County Treasurer's Office

The office is closed to the public until further notice. Checks and money order payments can be mailed to:
Kent County Treasurer, P.O. Box Y
Grand Rapids, MI 49501

Staff can also be reached by phone at 616-632-7500.

Mason County

All county buildings are closed to the public.

The courthouse, airport terminal and animal control will close at the end of business Thursday and reopen April 6. The building, zoning, and drain comission buildings will close at 5 p.m. Friday and reopen April 6.

The offices are still operating and can be reached by phone.

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

All lobbies under LARA are closed to the public, including the Liquor Control Commission, Marijuana Regulatory Agency and several others.

Each department will continue to serve the public, but payments are encouraged to be made online and communication will be through the LARA website, email or phone at 517-335-9700.

Muskegon County courts

All courts are closed for everything outside of essential functions like arraignments for people in custody, emergency child protective proceedings and search warrants.

Personal protection warrants can be filed via mail, a drop box at the Hall of Justice and emailing familycourtservices@co.muskegon.mi.us.

TRANSPORTATION

Amtrak

Daily roundtrips suspended on Pere Marquette Grand Rapids-to-Chicago, Chicago-to-Grand Rapids. Amtrak Thruway Bus connections between Grand Rapids and the Kalamazoo Amtrak state available daily.

  • Still operating: Amtrak Blue Water line round trip between Port Huron-East Lansing-Chicago and Wolverine corridor service twice daily between Chicago and Detroit.

The Rapid

Public access is being limited at Rapids Central Station and Vernon J. Ehlers Amtrak Station.

Riders will only be able to go into the information center at Rapid Central Station for Wave card purchases and reloads.

Greyhound customers who need to purchase a ticket will have to wait at the southeast entrance to be escorted into the building. If no one is available to escort you into the building, a ticket can be purchased from the Greyhound driver.

March 18

ACTIVITIES

Grand Rapids Children's Museum
Closed until further notice.

Michigan International Speedway

MIS has canceled its Easter egg hunt scheduled for April 5.

DISABILITY SERVICES

Disability Advocates of Kent County

Offices closed, but staff is on site. Staff is taking calls and arranging virtual appointments.

GOVERNMENT

Berrien County Sheriff's Office

The records lobbies in St. Joseph and Niles will be closed to the public through April 6. Obtaining a pistol purchase permit, sex offender registrant updates and fingerprinting will be postponed until the records lobby reopens.

Pistol sales records and licenses to purchase can be mailed when they are completed and the gun has been purhcased. Mail should be addressed to:

Berrien County Sheriff's Office
Attn: Records Department
919 Port Street
St. Joseph, MI 49085

General questions can be directed to records department employees from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 269-983-7141.

Ionia County

All Ionia County buildings and non-essential departments and services will be closed through April 5. Normal hours will resume on April 6. Emergency services will continue to operate.

The Ionia County Treasurer will be available at the sheriff's office from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on March 24 and 31 to accept payments on delinquent taxes. Everything else needs to be sent by mail to the treasurer's office.

Anyone with a court date during the closure is asked to call and leave a message for more information.

The Ionia County Animal Shelter will be closed until April 7.

The road department, Bertha Brock Park and MSU extension office will all be closed until April 6.

Meal delivery services will continue through the Ionia County Commission on Aging.

FOOD SERVICES
Comprehensive list of meal pickup times at Kent County schools: click here.
The Diocese of Kalamazoo is suspending all public masses from Friday to April 5. The annual Chrism Mass on April 7 has been relocated to St. Augustine Cathedral in Kalamazoo and limited in attendance by priests. It will be streamed on the diocesan website.

EDUCATION

Muskegon Community College

MCC is suspending all operations on campus through April 5. Classes will be held remotely and services like tutoring, counseling and class registration will be conducted online.

Davenport University postpones commencement

GOVERNMENT SERVICES

61st District Court

The court is suspending as many of its operations as possible until April 5. Exceptions include video arraignments of people in custody, arraignments on felonies and serious criminal offenses before video arraignment, probable cause conferences, scheduled preliminary exams, trials and sentencing for incarcerated people and other emergency proceedings.

The public is encouraged not to attend hearings.

People with questions about court business are encouraged to call the courthouse,

City of Grand Rapids

Multiple city buildings are being closed to the public through for walk-in visits until at least April 5, including:

  • City Hall
  • The March 26 Planning Commission meeting is canceled and business is being moved to the next available meeting in April or May. The March 10 meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals has been moved to April 16.
  • Parks and Recreation and Public Works
  • Water Administration Building
  • Customer service centers and field offices are closed to the public.

Department of Natural Resources

Hunting and fishing licenses, camping reservations, burn permits and other services will remain available online.

Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan

The housing center has closed its offices to the public until further notice but staff will be working remotely to help people in need.

Anyone in need of help can call 269-276-9100 and leave a message, contact a staff member through email or send a message through the organization's website.

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety

Kalamazoo police are offering alternative options to report crimes as part of their COVID-19 precautions.

The department's website allows for online crime reporting. Online reports must be non-emergencies, for an incident within city limits, not involve known suspects or evidence, can't involve drugs or firearms and cannot occur on a state highway.

All cases filed in the online system will be reviewed within five business days.

Kent County Road Commission

In-person services at all four road commission complexes are suspended until further notice. Administrative offices for the Kent County Drain Commissioner and Department of Public Works on Sribner Avenue are also suspending in-person services.

Signs are posted at each road commission location to direct people to remote options of communication.

Michigan unemployment agencies

The Unemployment Insurance Agency and Michigan Works! are asking everyone to limit visits to offices and use online resources for unemployment help. Offices will remain open, but the number of people allowed inside at one time will be limited.

Eligible employees can apply for unemployment benefits online or by calling 1-866-500-0017.

Resources through Michigan Works! are available on the agency's website and by calling 1-800-285-WORKS.

Michigan Department of Education

The department has created an online map with locations where meals will be provided during the state-mandated school closures. It will be updated twice a day until classes resume.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Social Security offices will offer only phone service effective Mar. 17 in addition to online service. In-person appointments will be handled over the phone instead. The SSN field office locator has information on contacting local offices. The national Social Security number is 800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Route 60 GRCC not in service while GRCC is restricted to online classes at least through April 3.
Route 100 Ferris Shuttle service suspended while Ferris University is only holding learning online.

May Mobility services suspended at least through March 27.

Kalamazoo Metro and Battle Creek Transit

Kalamazoo Metro is running on scheduled. Battle Creek Transit fixed-route buses, Tele-Transit, and BCGo running regular schedules.

MAX Transit
All bus routes are suspended until further notice.

Rides will still be available on Reserve-A-MAX if scheduled by reservation by 4 p.m. the day before a trip. Reserve-A-MAX is limited to people who need to get to work, medical appointments and the grocery store. Every trip will cost $1 until further notice.

The MAX Depot office will be closed to the public but the lobby will remain open. Office hours are being adjusted to 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To schedule a ride or order a bus pass, call 616-355-1010.

March 16

EDUCATION

Kalamazoo College

The rest of the semester will be conducted through online classes and employees will be working from home.

Kalamazoo College will not charge for room and board for anyone who is living in the residence halls. Special course and lab fees for the semester are also being waived.

Students have to vacate dorms by 5 p.m. Wednesday unless they are international students.

Kellogg Community College

Kellogg Community College's commencement ceremony is canceled along with all other campus events through May 15.

RETAIL

Tanger Outlets

Stores will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day until further notice. Individual stores may have different hours.

Tulip Time
Event organizers announced Monday the 91st annual Tulip Time Festival will not be held this year because of COVID-19 concerns.