Ottawa County's COVID-19 Response Updates - December 15, 2020


Bookmark and Share

Ottawa County Updates I December 15, 2020

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

ph header

Click to enlarge the dashboard view and to open other data sets.


Sources: Michigan Disease Surveillance System, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates


Are we seeing an increase in cases because of the Thanksgiving holiday?

Epidemiologists are closely monitoring the case rate trends to see whether symptoms could still be developing in people and whether more people will get tested. The complete effect of the Thanksgiving holiday may not be seen in the data just yet. However, we thank those in the community who practiced safe holiday celebrations to protect one another from COVID-19 and kept cases from spiking. We ask for continued diligence as we head further into this holiday season

tday data

Click to enlarge the graph. Data source:

epi curve

Click to enlarge the graph. Although there are signs of a decline, the number of cases reported each day remains high.

cdc vaccine

When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available in Ottawa County?

The Pfizer vaccine was the first to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use in the U.S. on On December 11, 2020. Shipping to a select group of health departments and hospitals nationwide began on Sunday. The first shipments arrived at area hospitals yesterday, with vaccines slated to begin among the highest priority groups later this week. That includes frontline health care workers and workers and residents of long-term care facilities. As supplies of the vaccine increase, those at lower risk will qualify. Experts project all adults will able to get vaccinated by mid to late 2021.

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) is following the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) strategy for the COVID-19 vaccine prioritization which was adopted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). ACIP is a national independent committee of medical and public health experts who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the United States.

"We are happy our community is eager to get their vaccines, but we ask everyone to be patient," said OCDPH Health Officer Lisa Stefanovsky. "We anticipate the first doses of vaccine will arrive to our department this week with the first shots given to EMS workers on Friday. Initially, we will receive a very limited supply. The next population group are those in essential and critical industries, followed by medically fragile and then the general population."

Watch the FDA Media Briefing about Issuing the Vaccine Emergency Use Authorization

Will you get the COVID-19 vaccine when it's available to you?

YES? NO? Not Sure?


Please share your input about the COVID-19 vaccine in this quick survey.

vaccinate west mi

Area health departments, healthcare providers and universities launch COVID-19 website

Site to serve as West Michigan’s ‘go-to’ source for credible information about the vaccine.

A consortium of West Michigan health departments, hospitals, healthcare providers, universities and others have launched where area residents can find the latest information about the COVID-19 vaccine (available in multiple languages). The site includes information about vaccine availability, local distribution plans, safety and efficacy, and will be updated regularly as new information becomes available. 

"We are thankful for the regional collaboration and providing West Michigan residents with accurate, timely and consistent information about the COVID-19 vaccine," said OCDPH Deputy Health Officer Marcia Mansaray. "It is important for people to have local information and be ready for the vaccine so we can all do our part to slow the spread of the virus." 

The website will be regularly updated as information becomes available.
Sign up to receive email updates on the vaccine.

Members of the consortium include: Kent County Health Department, Allegan County Health Department, Barry-Eaton District Health Department, Berrien County Health Department, District Health Department #10, Ionia County Health Department, Mid-Michigan District Health Department, Muskegon County - Public Health, Ottawa County Department of Public Health, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health, Spectrum Health, Holland Hospital, Spectrum Health Lakeland, North Ottawa Community Hospital, Michigan Health & Hospital Association, Answer Health, Cherry Health, CVS Pharmacy, Kent County Emergency Medical Services, SpartanNash, We Are For Children, Calvin University, Grand Valley State University and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. News Release English  I  Spanish

Who gets the COVID-19 vaccine and when?

Vaccination for COVID-19 is the path forward to controlling the disease and protect Michigan residents. This guidance outlines the strategy for vaccine prioritization for the State of Michigan and will be used by the MDHHS, as well as public health and health care, as they allocate and administer vaccines. This guidance may change as information evolves and more vaccine types become available.

Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.

Phase 1B includes workers in essential and critical industries, including workers with unique skill sets such as non-hospital or non-public health laboratories and mortuary services.

Phase 1C includes people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people 65 years and older.

Phase 2 is a mass vaccination campaign for all adults.

It is important to note that vaccination in one phase may not be complete before vaccination in another phase begins. There may be vaccination of individuals in different phases that occurs simultaneously. The timing of the start of vaccination in a phase is dependent on the supply of vaccine from the manufacturer, how vaccine is allocated from the federal level to Michigan, and the capacity to administer the vaccine to populations. 

MDHHS has set an initial operational goal of vaccinating 70 percent of individuals 16 years of age or older, or about 5.6 million people, for COVID-19 by the end of 2021.

phases timing

Click to learn more about the timing of the phases.

Read more about the phases and priority groups.

Watch state briefing about the COVID-19 vaccine allocation.
(audio issues until 3:21) 

For more information from the state, visit

ACIP goals for recommending which groups should receive COVID-19 vaccines if supply is limited:

  • Decrease death and serious disease as much as possible.
  • Preserve functioning of society.
  • Reduce the extra burden the disease is having on people already facing disparities.
  • Increase the chance for everyone to enjoy health and well-being.

Ethical principles to guide decision-making process if supply is limited:

  • Maximize benefits and minimize harms — Respect and care for people using the best available data to promote public health and minimize death and severe illness.

  • Mitigate health inequities — Reduce health disparities in the burden of COVID-19 disease and death, and make sure everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible.

  • Promote justice — Treat affected groups, populations, and communities fairly. Remove unfair, unjust, and avoidable barriers to COVID-19 vaccination.

  • Promote transparency — Make a decision that is clear, understandable, and open for review. Allow and seek public participation in the creation and review of the decision processes.



COVID-19 Vaccine Information to Share

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

  • Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine? The vaccine will help keep you from getting COVID-19. Vaccination will be a safer way to help build protection. Vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic. Read More

  • Will the COVID-19 vaccine give me COVID-19? No - None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development and authorized for emergency use in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. Read More

  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe? Yes - The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make COVID-19 vaccines available. Read More

  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine effective? Yes - Before the FDA determines whether to approve a vaccine or authorize a vaccine for emergency use, clinical trials are conducted to determine how well it works. Read More

  • Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me sick? COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Read More

  • Is there a cost to getting the COVID-19 vaccine? The federal government purchased hundreds of millions of vaccine doses with taxpayer money, so the vaccine, itself, will be given to Americans at no cost. Vaccine providers will be able to charge a fee to administer the shot, but this fee should be covered by public or private insurance, or by a government relief fund for the uninsured. Read More

  • How does the COVID-19 vaccine work? COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.  Read More  I  mRNA Vaccines

  • If I already had COVID-19, do I still need the vaccine? Yes - There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again; this is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. Read More

  • Do I still need to wear a mask after getting the COVID-19 vaccine? Yes - Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Read More

MORE FAQs from VaccinateWestMI


Community pop-up sites offer no-cost COVID-19 diagnostic testing: Available for anyone with or without symptoms. Parental/ guardian consent is required for minors. No screening and no appointments are needed. Please bring a form of ID (e.g., state or country issued ID or paperwork with your name and address [bill, mail or paystub]). Please wear a face covering/mask. No-cost flu vaccine for uninsured adults (19 years of age and older) are also offered at these events.

Next Event Tuesday, December 15 at 3:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Ottawa County Road Commission - Coopersville
475 N 68 Ave, Coopersville, MI 49404

More Upcoming Testing Events: English  I  Spanish (See page 4)

Ottawa County's Updated Quarantine Period

The OCDPH is following the guidelines issued by the MDHHS regarding the shortened COVID-19 quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days based on new CDC findings. While the standard 14-day quarantine period remains, it can be reduced to 10 days if the following two conditions exist:

  • The individual does not develop any symptoms or clinical evidence of COVID-19 infection during daily symptom monitoring for the 10 days after the last exposure.
  • Daily symptom monitoring continues through day 14 after the last exposure.


Employers should refer to the Michigan Workplace Safety Guidance Emergency Rule 6(5) to determine when employees can return to the workplace after release from quarantine or isolation.  


Click to expand and learn more.

Throughout 2020, festive gatherings have been linked to spikes in COVID-19.
Don’t let your holiday celebrations be one of those spikes. 



Share the infographic: English  I  Spanish

Getting Your Flu Shot is More Important Than Ever!

LEARN MORE  I  Find Flu Vaccines Near You

flu or covid

What is the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. There are some key differences between flu and COVID-19. COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. LEARN MORE



Ottawa County State of Emergency:

The Board of Commissioners recently extended the local State of Emergency declaration within Ottawa County through January 26, 2021. This local State of Emergency does not shut any businesses down. This local State of Emergency helps us forge ahead and stay open. The declaration allows for the County Administrator to rapidly approve decisions like eliminating convenience fees for online services -- so residents can get services without a trip to our offices. The Administrator can deploy County workers to homes or change one's job duties temporarily. In fact, the hiring of urgently needed COVID-19 contact tracers was approved under this order. Without a declaration, items that currently move us forward could take a month to approve through normal processes and could reverse the progress public health staff and you -- our residents -- have made in reducing the spread of COVID-19. The local State of Emergency in Ottawa County is independent of orders from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and other offices.


Limited Operations, Procedures and Closures

The Ottawa County offices are open by appointment ONLY. Click for details and instructions by office. To deliver documents or payments, a drop box is available outside the Fillmore Administration Building at 12220 Fillmore Street in West Olive. The box is located on the lower level of the building near the entrance of the Treasurer’s office. Visit the online service center to determine if your service can be fulfilled remotely. We are waiving convenience fees for online services at this time. For more information about the county's limited services, please visit

mask up

Click to enlarge the graphic.

MDHHS asks Michiganders to “Mask Up, Mask Right”

December 15, 2020 – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is launching an initiative to not only get Michiganders to mask up, but to mask right. 

“The science is now settled: Masks protect others from COVID – and they protect the wearer,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director. “It’s important to wear the right mask and wear it the right way. We want all Michiganders to Mask Up, Mask Right as we continue to battle the virus in our state.”

Masking right includes wearing one of three options of masks that provide stronger protection: three-layered washable cloth face coverings, medical-grade disposable masks or approved KN95 masks. It also includes wearing the approved mask correctly and having it secured over the nose and face and tightly fitting without gaps.



Bipartisan Governors from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin Urge Safety Before Holidays 

Governors urge everyone to mask up, follow medical experts' advice, do their part to eradicate COVID-19 

December 15, 2020 – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers joined together in a social media video to encourage everyone across the region to remain safe heading into the holiday season. Click here to view the governors’ video message. 

New online tool allows Michiganders to learn their risk of COVID-19

MDHHS Aging & Adult Services launches service with older adults in mind

December 15, 2020 – The Aging and Adult Services Agency at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has announced the launch of CV19 CheckUp in Michigan – a free, anonymous, personalized online tool that evaluates someone’s risks associated with COVID-19. The service is in partnership with BellAge, Inc. and can be used by going to


Two weeks remain to join more than 100,000 essential workers applying for tuition-free college

Futures for Frontliners application deadline is Dec. 31, state touts new regional career data and numerous opportunities for free education leading to high-demand, high-wage careers

December 15, 2020 – With the Futures for Frontliners application deadline approaching, frontline workers are encouraged to take the next step in their educational journey and apply for free college tuition towards an associate degree or industry-recognized certificate at community college by Dec. 31 – even if they have not completed their high school diploma.


National Guard supports vaccination efforts for Michigan

December 14, 2020 – The Michigan National Guard received a request from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to support community healthcare organizations with logistical and medical assets for COVID-19 vaccinations across the state. Guard leadership has analyzed its medical assets and logistical requirements and plans to augment health care providers across the state, where requested, in the administration of the vaccine.

The Guard will first staff approximately 50 COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Teams, or CVTTs, that are comprised of a uniformed medical technician and one or two administrative support personnel. The CVTTs will report to four hospital locations deemed priority by the state of Michigan as early as Tuesday, December 15.


COVID-19 vaccinations started at Michigan hospitals

December 14, 2020 – Frontline health care workers at two Michigan hospitals today were the first people in the state to receive the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first COVID-19 vaccine, produced by Michigan-based Pfizer, and today’s initial vaccinations mark a historic milestone in the world’s unprecedented cooperative mission to control and end the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccinations at Michigan Medicine and Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital begin the journey toward the eventual safe full reopening of Michigan’s economy, schools and communities. Additional Michigan hospitals are expected to begin vaccinating health care staff later this week.


mdhhs vaccine

MDHHS Announces Priority Groups for COVID-19 Vaccination

December 11, 2020 - Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) officials provided additional information about COVID-19 vaccination plans for Michigan, including priority groups for vaccination administration, the vaccine development and safety process and where Michiganders can find more details.  

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended approval for one of the vaccines that could be ready for distribution as early as next week. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also signed Executive Order 2020-193, creating the bipartisan Protect Michigan Commission to help educate Michiganders about an approved vaccine. Michigan health officials have set a goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 18 years of age or older, about 5.4 million adults, by the end of 2021.  

READ MORE  I  FAQs  I  Guidance: MDHHS COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization

Treasury: Businesses Affected by COVID-19  Epidemic Orders Provided Tax Assistance 

 Penalties and Interest Waived on  Sales, Use and Withholding Taxes through Jan. 20, 2021 

December 8, 2020 – Businesses that require social gatherings for customers and have experienced disrupted operations due to COVID-19 epidemic orders now have additional time to make their December sales, use and withholding tax monthly payment, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.   

Effective immediately, most entertainment and recreational venues and restaurants that depend on indoor dining scheduled to make their monthly sales, use and withholding tax payments on Dec. 20, 2020, can postpone filing and payment requirements until Jan. 20, 2021. The state Treasury Department will waive all penalties and interest for 31 days. 


map header
map dec 5
map oc

Click to view the county-level data on the MI Safe Start Map.


Click to enlarge graphic.


Click to enlarge graphic.

miosha headermiosha


spread hope

Click for the Spread Hope Not COVID campaign materials to share.

Subscribe to State Updates

Governor Whitmer I Attorney General

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Click for more of the latest research.

December 15, 2020 - Factors Associated with Positive SARS-CoV-2 Test Results in Outpatient Health Facilities and Emergency Departments Among Children and Adolescents Aged <18 Years — Mississippi, September–November 2020



December 13, 2020 -The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Interim Recommendation for Use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, December 2020. On December 12, 2020, after an explicit, evidence-based review of all available data, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued an interim recommendation for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in persons aged ≥16 years for the prevention of COVID-19.



December 11, 2020 - Summary of Guidance for Public Health Strategies to Address High Levels of Community Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and Related Deaths. COVID-19 pandemic control requires a multipronged application of evidence-based strategies while improving health equity: universal face mask use, physical distancing, avoiding nonessential indoor spaces, increasing testing, prompt quarantine of exposed persons, safeguarding those at increased risk for severe illness or death, protecting essential workers, postponing travel, enhancing ventilation and hand hygiene, and achieving widespread COVID-19 vaccination coverage. 



December 11, 2020 - Implementing Mitigation Strategies in Early Care and Education Settings for Prevention of SARS-CoV-2 Transmission — Eight States, September–October 2020.


December 11, 2020 - Estimated Resource Costs for Implementation of CDC’s Recommended COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 Public Schools — United States, 2020–21 School Year.



December 15, 2020 - NIH-funded COVID-19 home test is first to receive over-the-counter authorization from FDA - Ellume USA’s rapid at-home test was developed through the NIH RADx Initiative. READ MORE

December 15, 2020 - Antibodies and T cells protect against SARS-CoV-2. Monkeys with the highest levels of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, were best protected against reinfection. Immune cells called T cells also helped prevent reinfection and may be especially important if antibody levels are low or decline over time. READ MORE

December 8, 2020 - Study of Healthcare Workers Shows COVID-19 Immunity Lasts Many Months. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers around the world have shown willingness to put their own lives on the line for their patients and communities. Unfortunately, many have also contracted SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes of COVID-19, while caring for patients. That makes these frontline heroes helpful in another way. READ MORE