Ottawa County's COVID-19 Response Updates - Thursday, April 16, 2020


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Ottawa County Updates I Thursday, April 16

Latest Video Updates 
Media Contact: Kristina Wieghmink, OCDPH public information officer I mobile/text 616-510-8523

We regretfully report three additional laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 deaths.
Our thoughts go out to the families and friends mourning their loss.

All decedents had underlying health conditions; a female in her mid-eighties,
a male in his mid-nineties, and a female in her late seventies

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Click the dashboard to expand. Data Source: Michigan Disease Surveillance System.

At this time, the Ottawa County data in the dashboard are for laboratory-confirmed cases only. As the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) begins providing probable case information, many other local health departments--including Ottawa County--will display laboratory-confirmed and probable case data separately in the dashboard. Case counts may differ from those reported by MDHHS if cases get reassigned to or from different jurisdictions.

The dashboard is updated daily at

What's the difference between the Stay Home,
Stay Safe Executive Order and social distancing?

Short answer: There is no difference.

Longer explanation: The Stay Home - Stay Safe Executive Order is a directive from Governor Whitmer that creates guidelines and restrictions for Michiganders to implement social distancing. These are developed based on the advisement of public health officials and medical health experts from what is known about the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and scientific data.

Social distancing is a method to slow the spread of diseases by limiting face-to-face interactions. With COVID-19, there are no vaccines nor treatment. Social distancing--rather physical distancing--is the best defense society has at getting diseases under control. This is known as nonpharmaceutical interventions--actions taken when there are no other ways medically to address an outbreak. This is why community mitigation strategies are developed such as the Stay Home - Stay Safe Executive Order.

Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay away from others when possible, even if you have no symptoms by

  • Staying at least 6 feet from other people
  • Not gathering in groups
  • Staying out of crowded places and avoiding mass gatherings


When will life go back to normal?

That will depend on each of us doing our part to slow the spread of the virus.
Federal and state agencies are working with experts and taking a fact-based, data-driven approach to reopening our economy in a way that protects people from the spread of COVID-19. Decisions are based on facts, science and recommendations from experts in public health, health care, business, labor and education.

One of the top factors to determine when and what restrictions can be lifted is whether the health care system can care for people who need supportive care. If people ignore the Stay Home - Stay Safe Executive Order, then it prolongs the restrictions having to be kept in place. If we are not physically distancing and implementing preventive measures, then more and more people will keep getting sick which results in an overwhelmed health care system that cannot handle the patient load.

By staying home and staying well, we are better able to break the chain of infection. This gives the health care system time and the needed support so they can keep a manageable flow of treatment for patients at the same time pharmaceutical interventions are being developed (i.e., vaccines and treatments). The last thing anybody wants is for this pandemic to reemerge and we have to go through this all over again.

Factors to determine when it's best to reopen the economy:

  • Sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations.
  • Enhanced ability to test and trace.
  • Sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence.
  • And best practices for social distancing in the workplace.

"Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region," said Governor Whitmer. "This doesn’t mean our economy will reopen all at once, or that every state will take the same steps at the same time. But close coordination will ensure we get this right. Over time, people will go back to work, restaurants will reopen, and things will go back to normal. We look forward to working together as one region to tackle this challenge together.”



Community Mental Health of Ottawa County (CMHOC) encourages people to pay attention to their mental health needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolation, stress and uncertainty can weigh heavily on a person's ability to cope and remain healthy. CMHOC encourages you to practice self-care techniques such as relaxation and deep breathing exercises, enjoying the outdoors and talking to others about your feelings and concerns. Check in on you family, friends and neighbors to see if they are doing okay.

If you need help, please reach out. Contact CALL 2-1-1 for referrals to local mental health resources or visit our website at for mental health services and supports available in our community. CMHOC is open and accepting new clients. Please call 877-588-4357 or email to inquire about CMHOC services or if you need emergency assistance call our 24-hour Helpline at 866-512-4357. We are here for you and will get through this together.

Click for the state and local COVID-19 resource list.

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Use the hashtag #OttawaStaysHome on all your social media platforms and tell us why you stay home and what you’re doing to occupy the time. The county will share its favorite posts, images and videos. Be creative! Visit 

Beka Taylor Folkert shared: "One of my new Stay Home activities is to learn a Disney song on the ukulele every day for my almost 3-year-old niece. Today, was the title song from my all-time favorite movie 💛💛💛 #OttawaStaysHome"


Click the featured image to share.

Beginning on March 13, a coalition of more than 45 organizations representing front-line nonprofit agencies, funders, volunteer agencies, municipal governments, hospitals, schools, churches and economic development groups have come together almost daily to identify the greatest human service needs in our community and work together to solve them. This has been an amazing coalition that literally came together overnight and is a true testament to the collaborative spirit in Ottawa County. - Patrick Cisler, Executive Director of Community SPOKE & Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance



Midwest Governors Announce
Partnership to Reopen Regional Economy

Today, Governors Gretchen Whitmer (MI), Mike DeWine (OH), Tony Evers (WI), Tim Walz (MN), JB Pritzker (IL), Eric Holcomb (IN), and Andy Beshear (KY) announced that they will work in close coordination to reopen the economy in the Midwest region. The governors said, “We are doing everything we can to protect the people of our states and slow the spread of COVID-19, and we are eager to work together to mitigate the economic crisis this virus has caused in our region. Here in the Midwest, we are bound  by our commitment to our people and the community. We recognize that our economies are all reliant on each other, and we must work together to safely reopen them so hardworking people can get back to work and businesses can get back on their feet." 

Factors to determine when it's best to reopen the economy:

  • Sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations.
  • Enhanced ability to test and trace.
  • Sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence.
  • And best practices for social distancing in the workplace.


Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Extending Capacity for Disaster Relief Child Care Services for Essential Workforce

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-51, which extends until May 13 expanded capacity for child care services for health care workers, first responders, and other members of the essential workforce providing critical infrastructure to Michiganders during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The order provides temporary and limited relief from certain regulatory restrictions regarding child care services and facilitates the use of certain property for child care services.


Tech Startup Stabilization Fund Offers Support
for Early-stage Tech Companies During COVID-19 Outbreak

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today the creation of a $3 million Tech Startup Stabilization Fund to help stabilize early-stage tech startups in Michigan that are being impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. “In the face of this public health crisis and the economic uncertainty it is creating, it is more important than ever to encourage and support high-tech companies in the state in bringing their innovations to life,” said Fred Molnar, vice president of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation initiative at the MEDC. “Through the creation of this fund, we are hoping to provide a critical source of capital for early-stage tech companies in Michigan that will allow them to survive and succeed once this crisis is over.” 


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