NEWS RELEASE: Ottawa County health officials see GVSU positive COVID-19 cases trend downward - Staying Safe order to be issued

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October 1, 2020

NEWS RELEASE: Ottawa County health officials see GVSU positive COVID-19 cases trend downward - "Staying Safe" order to be issued

Media Contacts
Kristina Wieghmink, OCDPH Public Information Officer I mobile/text 616-510-8523
Dottie Barnes, GVSU Associate Director of News I office 616-331-2953

GVSU Hotline for COVID-19 Questions: 616-331-INFO
Spectrum Health GVSU COVID-19 Testing Questions: 833-734-0020

GVSU and OCDPH leaders have seen improvements in COVID-19 cases and want to keep progress moving in the right direction.

Ottawa County, Mich. – The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) had issued a “Staying in Place” Order that began on September 17, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., and is scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m. October 1. The OCDPH has been conducting surveillance of COVID-19 cases associated with Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and has found that epidemiological data indicate a marked improvement. Over the last couple of weeks, the number of positive COVID-19 test results has shown a steady decline in and around the GVSU on-campus and off-campus housing in Allendale Township, Michigan. This encouraging trend comes as a result of the extra efforts of the GVSU students, staff and faculty diligently adhering to the disease prevention measures and working closely with the OCDPH health officials.

“It is gratifying to see that the partnership with the county and the university community is resulting in a dramatic decline in new cases,” Grand Valley State University President Philomena V. Mantella said. “We understand the need to keep some restrictions in place to keep the number of cases decreasing, and we thank our students for following the direction from the public health officials.”

Though there has been a decrease in average daily cases among GVSU students living on-campus and off-campus housing, most cases continue to be among these students and appear to be driven by congregate living and congregate gathering without preventive precautions. To continue a downward trend of positive COVID-19 cases, the OCDPH health officer is issuing a “Staying Safe” Order that will begin October 2, 2020, at 12:00 a.m. and continue through October 16 at 11:59 p.m. 

"Our COVID-19 response team has worked closely with the GVSU administrative leaders in the decisions to take action based on the latest epidemiological findings," said OCDPH Health Officer Lisa Stefanovsky. "We appreciate all their hard work and recognize the challenges that GVSU students and staff had to endure. Our partnership has made a difference in helping to slow the spread of disease, keeping our communities healthy and safe, and building the trust our community has in both our organizations."

The following preventive actions are to be taken for students living on or near the Allendale campus, including Georgetown and Allendale Townships:

  • Up to four guests may visit student living units and residences, while observing strict preventive measures, including social distancing and wearing face coverings. Students living in on-campus housing also must abide by the Housing and Residence Life Guest Policy and Community Living Standards.

  • For all indoor common areas on the Allendale Campus, students may not gather in groups greater than four people. This does not include classes or university organized academic activities.

  • All outdoor gatherings should not exceed 10 people. All should have face coverings except when eating or drinking. This 10-person-limit does not include gatherings organized by the university.

  • Face coverings continue to be required indoors and outdoors. Students who are alone outside may choose not to wear a face covering, but should be prepared to immediately use it when encountering another person.

Read more of the "Staying Safe" Order and the full list of required actions  I  FAQs


The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death. There is currently no approved vaccine or antiviral treatment for this disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

OCDPH is asking everyone to please continue with the disease prevention measures of maintaining physical distance from others, wear a face covering and practice exceptional hygiene. Additionally, it is important for people who test positive to please help us identify their close contacts, and for both cases and contacts to stay away from others for the recommended time so we can keep our communities safe and healthy.

"Staying Safe" OrderGVSU Dashboard I OCDPH Dashboard I COVID-19 Factsheet