Ottawa County's COVID-19 Response Updates - Fri-Sun, May 8-10, 2020


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Ottawa County I Fri-Sun, May 8-10

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

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Since the last update on Wednesday, May 6, Ottawa County has had four more deaths (from 19 to 23 total): A female in her 80s, female in her 70s, male in his 90s and male in his 80s - all lab-confirmed with underlying health conditions. Our hearts go out to their family and friends during this difficult time.


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


How are you celebrating Mom this Mother’s Day?

Celebrate Mother’s Day by keeping mom safe! Continue to practice physical distancing and avoid gathering in groups. Honoring your mother shouldn't be missed because of COVID-19. Mother’s Day isn’t canceled, though traditions like brunch, spa days or large family gatherings will have to wait this year. Call, video chat, email, text, mail letters or cards, or stay connected using social media. 

We encourage you to celebrate your moms, grandmas, aunts and other mother-figures safely. What ideas and plans do you have to celebrate at a safe, social distance? Share your ideas and creative plans on social media using the hashtag #OttawaStaysHome.  We’ll share our favorites! 


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Ottawa County Department of Public Health releases its 'Overview Guide for Reopening Businesses'

This infographic provides a summary of how our department collaborates with workplaces on prevention and response; such as conducting an assessment, disease prevention measures, what to do if you have an ill employee and links to the Michigan Economic Recovery Council's (MERC) Business Response Center for industry-specific guidance on reopening. We look forward to working with businesses as Michigan starts reopening sectors in the state and helping to keep our community healthy and safe.


How a Michigan county is saving hundreds of hours of work while tracking high-risk COVID-19 contacts

The first person to test positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa County, Michigan, was in close contact with about 70 other people during the time they might have been infected. It fell to the local county health department to contact those 70 people and monitor their symptoms to ensure they didn’t become infected with the fast-spreading virus. But Spencer Ballard, Environmental Health Supervisor at the department, realized that task would soon become impossible. The department nurses would need to call each person who came into contact with an infected individual every day for up to 14 days, or more in some situations, and each call would take about 10 minutes.


Ottawa County—Michigan’s eighth largest—boasts a rapidly-growing population of nearly 300,000. Ballard knew the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 would grow exponentially, and the nurses charged with calling high-risk contacts still had their normal jobs to do.

So the department got to work putting together a solution on the Qualtrics XM platform they then linked with their own case management system. Instead of calling each person every day, the department nurses approach each close contact of a COVID-19 case and explain that they will receive a text or email from the health department every day for 14 days.


What You Need to Know About Pets & COVID-19


With recent news of tigers, lions and pet cats in the US testing positive for the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), you may be wondering about the risks to your pets. We’re still learning about this virus and how it might affect animals, including pets, but there are simple ways to protect your pet from possible infection. It’s important to know how to protect both people and pets during this pandemic.

Treat pets like your other human family members to protect them from a possible infection.

  • Don’t let your pets interact with people or other animals outside your household.
  • Keep cats indoors as much as possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.
  • Walk your dog, but always on a leash at least 6 feet from other people and animals.
  • Don’t go to dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.



Thank you, Michael Gethin and M.W. WATERMARK employees, for making and donating 110 cloth face coverings to the Community Action House. The company is also using lasers to cut medical fabric for others to sew, as part of the volunteer network Michigan Face Mask Warriors.


Why do you need to wear a face cloth covering?

In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms..

When do you need to wear a face cloth covering?

A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people are in a community setting, especially in situations where you may be near people. These settings include grocery stores and pharmacies. These face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing, rather another tool to prevent the spread of the virus. Continue to maintain at least 6 feet apart from others and frequently wash hands and surfaces.


Click for the state and local COVID-19 resource list

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The Chamber is pleased to announce the creation of the Downtown Relief Fund for Holland and Zeeland. Established by the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the fund was created to assist small businesses in our community affected by COVID-19. Full details and application are available in our website Coronavirus Business Toolkit. ACCESS THE TOOLKIT




Coordinating many parts of a moving project can be challenging - then take that remotely. Learn tested tips about process, protocols and technologies from Ryan Anderson, VP of Digital Innovation at Herman Miller. Following the presentation, there will be time for Q&A. Tuesday, May 12, 10:00 - 10:45 am REGISTER HERE




Bob Negen is co-creator of the acclaimed Retail Mastery System, and his company, WhizBang! Training is a leader in the field of training independent retailers to run successful stores. The perfect resource to help with restarting your business! At this webinar you'll learn tested tactics to jumpstart your sales and tools to engage and communicate with customers. Wednesday, May 13, 1:00 - 2:30 pm REGISTER HERE




Is the PPP still puzzling you? Join us to hear from Brad Haverkamp, Community President of Chemical Bank. He will share the latest updates and answers to frequently asked questions from the SBA and U.S. Department of Treasury. Have questions? Have them ready for audience Q&A. Friday, May 15, 10:00 - 10:30 am REGISTER HERE 


Thursday, May 7, Governor Whitmer Provided an Update on State’s Response to COVID-19


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun provided an update regarding the state’s response efforts to COVID-19. 

Governor Whitmer Details Six Phases of Her MI Safe Start Plan  

Governor Announces Michigan is in Phase Three 

After announcing that Michigan’s manufacturing workers will return to work on Monday, May 11, Governor Gretchen Whitmer detailed the six phases of her MI Safe Start Plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy. The governor has worked with leaders in health care, business, labor, and education to develop the plan, and announced today that Michigan is in phase three. 

The phases of the pandemic include:

1) UNCONTROLLED GROWTH: The increasing number of new cases every day, overwhelming our health systems. 

2) PERSISTENT SPREAD: We continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity. 

3) FLATTENING: The epidemic is no longer increasing and the health-system's capacity is sufficient for current needs. 

4) IMPROVING: Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are clearly declining. 

5) CONTAINING: Continued case and death rate improvements, with outbreaks quickly contained. 

6) POST-PANDEMIC: Community spread not expected to return. 


Governor Whitmer Extends Stay Home, Stay Safe Order, Reopens Manufacturing as Part of her MI Safe Start Plan 

Michigan’s Big 3 Auto Manufacturers Can Return to Work on May 11

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-77 to extend Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order to May 28. The Governor’s order will allow manufacturing workers, including those at Michigan’s Big 3 auto companies, to resume work on Monday, May 11 as part of her MI Safe Start Plan.  

Under Executive Order 2020-77, manufacturing facilities must adopt measures to protect their workers from the spread of COVID-19. That includes conducting a daily entry screening protocol for workers and everyone else entering the facility, including a questionnaire covering symptoms and exposure to people with possible COVID-19, together with a temperature screening as soon as no-touch thermometers can be obtained. They must also create dedicated entry points at every facility, and suspend entry of all non-essential in-person visits, including tours. 




Governor Whitmer Extends Executive Order Temporarily Extending Expiration of Driver’s Licenses, State ID Cards, Vehicle Registrations 

Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-78to temporarily extend the expiration of state identification cardsdriver’s licenses and operator endorsements, as well as suspends penalties for vehicle registration violations, and protects Michigan drivers. The order also ensures that automobile insurance will continue to protect and cover Michigan drivers. 


Governor Whitmer Extends Executive Order Allowing Public Bodies to Meet Remotely 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-75, which extends a previous Executive Order that allows public bodies to conduct remote public meetings during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Order 75 expires on June 30, 2020. 

Under Executive Order 2020-75, public bodies subject to the Open Meetings Act, including boards, commissions, committees, subcommittees, authorities, councils and nonprofit boards, can use telephone- or video- conferencing methods to continue meeting and conducting business during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis, so long as they follow certain procedures to ensure meaningful access and participation by members of the public body and the general public.  


Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Expediting Unemployment Benefits for Tens of Thousands of Michiganders 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-76, extending and building upon her earlier executive orders expanding eligibility for unemployment benefits during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Executive Order expedites benefits for tens of thousands of Michiganders who have filed for unemployment benefits by allowing the state to review only an individual’s most recent job separation, which is the cause of the current unemployment, to determine the individual's benefit entitlement. 


New COVID-19 Health Care Jobs Portal Launched as Increased Need for COVID-19 Care Continues

MDHHS, LEO team up to feature more than 7,000 critical job openings 

The Michigan Departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) teamed up to launch a new portal on Pure Michigan Talent Connect, the state’s labor exchange system, that makes it easier for health care professionals to apply for jobs that provide lifesaving care to COVID-19 patients.  

The COVID-19 health care jobs portal features more than 7,000 openings for a variety of positions, including registered nurses and licensed professional nurses, certified nurse aides, licensed professional nurses, respiratory therapists at long-term care facilities, hospitals and in other settings. There are full-time, part-time, and temporary positions available.  


Michigan Food and Agriculture Companies Can Now Apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans 

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation want the state’s food and agriculture companies to know they are now eligible for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan and EIDL Advance programs. Qualified Michigan food and agriculture businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and have fewer than 500 employees, are encouraged to prepare their business financial information and apply. 


Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development and Michigan Department of Health & Humans Services

Migrant Labor Housing & COVID-19 Guidance

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