Ottawa County's COVID-19 Response Updates - Fri-Sun, May 1-3, 2020


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Ottawa County I Fri-Sun, May 1-3

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


The Ottawa County Department of Public Health released its data dashboard 2.0, new features include:

  • Case counts for both laboratory-confirmed and probable (people who have not had a test but have symptoms and have been in contact with a person positive for COVID-19)
  • Toggle ability through All, Confirmed and Probable for cases, deaths, hospitalized and recovered
  • Case breakdown by race (racial groups with smaller counts-less than 10 cases-will not be displayed at this time, for data reliability and privacy reasons)
  • Case breakdown by ethnicity
  • Case breakdown by 10-year age groups
  • Age summary (average age, median age, age range) for all cases and deceased cases
  • Laboratory testing data

We are saddened to report additional deaths. These are not simply numbers on a data dashboard but lives lost with loved ones mourning. Our hearts go out to their families and friends during this difficult time.

Laboratory-confirmed for COVID-19 deaths:

  • Female in her upper 80s
  • Male in his 70s
  • Female in her 90s
    All had underlying health conditions

Probable for COVID-19 deaths

  • Male in his mid 60s
  • Female in her upper 90s
  • Female in her early 80s
  • Female in her upper 70s
    All had underlying health conditions
ph header

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

Data tells us a story to make decisions and develop programs and services to address the social determinants of health. The COVID-19 pandemic magnifies the need for intervention in certain populations to create a more equitable society where all people have the opportunity to achieve their optimal health.

Health Disparities

  • With increasing testing availability, increasing case counts and further analysis, the data reveal a disparity in the proportion of COVID-19 cases among Hispanic/Latino ethnicity versus their proportion in the population. Before this point, cases were very similar to county population distribution.

  • Given this information, we look to see why there is a higher burden of cases among those of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. There is nothing inherently or physiologically riskier about race or ethnicity, but there are often social, economic and geographic factors that contribute to a higher vulnerability for some over others.

  • At this time, the data indicates that a higher proportion of Hispanic/Latino cases are working in critical infrastructure jobs than non-Hispanic/Latino cases and are therefore more at risk of being exposed to COVID-19 in symptomatic or asymptomatic people. This also increases the risk of exposure to their family members.

  • We’ve had significant limitations in testing for COVID-19 until about a week ago, resulting in not having an accurate picture of the impact of the virus on our community. Increases in testing may have revealed more cases that were not being detected before. A longer time frame of available testing will give more confidence about any disparity among various demographic groups. This increase may have revealed a disparity that was always there, or it may be a false artifact of recent increased availability and will smooth out as more testing continues.

What the Ottawa County Department of Public Health is doing to address the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 illness among those of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity:

  1. Conducting frequent live Facebook briefings translated into Spanish.
  2. Distributing frequent bulletins translated into Spanish available at and sent out through our extensive GOVDelivery listserv.
  3. Enhancing the Ottawa County COVID-19 website to read in multiple languages, including Spanish. Many resources featured on the website are translated into Spanish or contain links to other sites such as and that can be read in multiple languages.
  4. Providing a COVID-19 resource list in Spanish.
  5. Investigating COVID-19 cases and their contacts through multilingual and multicultural staff.
  6. Connecting growers and migrant farmworkers with Spanish-speaking materials.
  7. Working closely with the Ottawa County Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Office (DEI) to align our efforts on preventing inequity in the burden of COVID-19 illness. 
  8. Working with Latino community leaders and faith-based organizations. 
  9. Implementing communication strategies with Spanish radio stations, ethnic grocery stores and a Spanish podcast featuring local community members.

Learn more about the Ottawa County Community Health Improvement Plans. These plans have been developed based on local, state and national data in conjunction with numerous community agencies and members, in a continual effort to address health inequities.


During this time of national crisis, we must manage two things simultaneously:

  1. Protect ourselves from the coronavirus
  2. Protect ourselves from anxiety.

If your anxiety, fear and worry have been overwhelming, put these ten strategies into practice. LEARN MORE



How are you staying occupied during Stay Home - Stay Safe? Why do you stay home? Use the hashtag OttawStaysHome to share and visit to view some of the community posts Ottawa County has shared.


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Ottawa County building drop box available for payments and other correspondence 

For customers unable to complete payments and business online, Ottawa County has installed a drop box outside its Fillmore Administration Building at 12220 Fillmore Street, West Olive. The box is located on the lower level of the building near the entrance of the Treasurer’s Office. Correspondence and payments for any county office in the Fillmore Administration building may be deposited in the box. Please do not leave cash in the drop box.

Last month, Ottawa County closed most public buildings and suspended many in-person services to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community and to protect the health of its 1,100 employees, including its emergency responders. Like other businesses, the county awaits direction from Michigan on a reopening timeline.

More information on limited operations at


With schools closed statewide for the remainder of the school year, Careerline Tech Center instructors are using innovative ways to help students continue mastering skills outside the program classrooms and prepare for certification exams in an effort to earn industry-recognized credentials. The opportunity to earn certifications are one of many benefits of career and technical education. 

An important part of helping students succeed is understanding their needs so instructors have been encouraged to reach out to each student individually to learn about schedules and the types of resources they may need.


Ottawa County Parks Program and Events have been limited due to COVID-19, but we are adapting!

Online and virtual nature programs are available at


Image courtesy of jklewis52. Click to view.

COVID-19 Park Update

As of Friday, April 24 the Grand Ravines Dog Park and the off-leash dog beach at Kirk Park Beach are temporarily closed. Dogs are still allowed at Grand Ravines outside of the fenced area, but must remain on-leash. With the dog beach closed, Kirk Park's rules will temporarily fall in line with our other beach parks where dogs are not allowed from May 1-September 30.

Park/Trails Etiquette

Local, state and federal officials have repeatedly emphasized the health benefits of physical activity while spending time in nature and the outdoors, especially during these difficult times. Parks and open spaces operated by the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission are open for visitors. Please use and enjoy our parks and open spaces, but do so responsibly and safely. This video serves as an overview of our guidelines, park etiquette, as well as some park recommendations. Check out our full list of guidelines and updates here.

Click for the state and local COVID-19 resource list

English I Spanish




Jim Eickhoff, President and CEO of Creative Dining Services and John Kesterke, Director of Marketing of Gordon Food Service, will lead a discussion around best practices and trends for restaurants to reopen. They'll also describe some long term impacts that will influence the future of the industry. Time allotted for Q&A. Tuesday, May 5, 9:00 - 9:30 am. REGISTER


Do you have a plan for marketing the reopening of your business? Scott Millen from 2 Fish Company in Zeeland will offer tips on crafting your reopening message and spreading it far and wide so you can jump-start your business. Following the presentation, he’ll be happy to address your questions. Thursday, May 7, 9:00 - 9:30 am. (Chamber members only) REGISTER









(This recording may not be posted until Monday.)


Click to register.


Governor Whitmer's Briefing May 1, 2020


Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Pat Devlin, Secretary Treasurer of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, and Ryan Maibach, President & CEO of Barton Malow and member of the Michigan Economic Recovery Council joined the governor at the press conference.


Click to watch.

After GOP Legislature Declares ‘Mission Accomplished’ on COVID-19, Governor Whitmer Signs New Executive Orders to Save Lives, Protect Michiganders 

New orders effective through May 28, 2020 

After the Republican-controlled Michigan Legislature refused to extend the emergency and disaster declaration that was set to expire at midnight tonight, Governor Gretchen Whitmer took swift action by signing three new executive orders to continue fighting COVID-19 and save lives. 


Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order to Re-Open Construction & Real Estate Safely 

Stay Home, Stay Safe order still in effect until May 15, 2020 

At a press conference with leaders in health care, business, and labor, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-70 as part of her MI Safe Start plan. The executive order will allow the May 7 resumption of some types of work that present a very low risk of infectionincluding construction, real-estate activities, and work that is traditionally and primarily performed outdoors. 


Governor Whitmer Extends Executive Order Limiting Places of Public Accommodation During the COVID-19 Pandemic  

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-69 which extends her previous order that temporarily closes certain places of public accommodation such as theaters, bars, casinos, and more. In order to maintain social distancing the order also limits restaurants to carry-out and delivery orders.   


Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Extending Safety Measures Protecting Consumers, Employees  

Executive order also extends temporary licensing relief for grocery stores and pharmacies   

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-71, which extends existing safety measures to protect consumers and employees at grocery stores and pharmacies until May 29, 2020. The order also extends temporary relief from licensing requirements for food sellers and pharmacies. 

 The executive order extends to May 29 conditions in Executive Order 2020-60, which established the following health and safety guidelines: 

  • Customers who can medically tolerate a face covering must wear one when entering a grocery store or pharmacy.
  • Grocery stores and pharmacies must allocate at least two hours per week of shopping time for vulnerable populations.
  • If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, the business must notify other employees without infringing on private health information. 


MDARD, MI Pork and Beef Producers adjusting for COVID-19
       to ensure continuity of meat supply

Consumers urged to shop as they normally would 

Michigan’s animal agriculture leaders today responded to state and national news of processor shutdowns that some fear will create food shortages around the country. In particular, the leaders said Michigan is working quickly to help ensure grocery stores are able continue to offer ample supplies of pork and beef.


Michiganders Can Now Text “RESTORE” to Crisis Text
Line to Get Mental Health Support

MDHHS wants residents to Stay Home, Stay Well 

Getting crisis mental health support is now as simple as sending a text to a new service being launched today by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) as part of its Stay Home, Stay Well initiative during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

By texting the keyword RESTORE to 741741, Michigan residents can have a confidential text conversation with a crisis counselor. 


Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Expanding Provisions for K-12 Learning and Early Childhood Programs for Remainder of School Year 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-65 to extend and clarify Executive Order 2020-35, which ordered all K-12 school buildings to close for instructional purposes to students for the remainder of the school year, and provided continuity of learning infrastructure by setting guidelines for remote learning. In addition to continuing the actions taken in the previous executive orderExecutive Order 2020-65 also suspends in-person instruction of both the Great Start Readiness Program and early childhood programs for the reminder of the 2019-2020 school year. GSRP is Michigan’s state-funded preschool program.


Leaders Urge Michiganders Struggling Financially to be Proactive, Seek Help with Utility Bills as State, Energy Providers Offer Assistance 

State officials today urged Michiganders to be proactive if they’re struggling to pay their utility bills by reaching out to their energy providers and seeking financial assistance if they’ve lost a job or their income has dropped amid the coronavirus pandemic.  



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