NEWS RELEASE: Ottawa County risk level now 'substantial'

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Media Only Contacts:
Derel Glashower, Senior Epidemiologist, Ottawa County Department of Public Health | 616-393-5875

Marcia Mansaray, Deputy Health Officer, Ottawa County Department of Public Health | 616-494-5598

Shannon Felgner, Communications Manager, Ottawa County | Office 616-738-4672 | Mobile/Text 616-610-4401

Ottawa County risk level now classified 'substantial'

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health urges everyone to ramp up COVID-19 precautions

Updated numbers over the weekend have inched Ottawa County into the 'substantial' risk level as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC recommends that everyone in communities where the risk level is 'substantial' or 'high' wear a face mask in indoor public places, regardless of vaccination status. 

"The rapid movement from moderate to substantial risk is call to all of us. We should evaluate our practices and implement additional infection prevention measures right now to slow the rapid spread of the delta variant in Ottawa County," said Marcia Mansaray, Ottawa County Department of Public Health’s Deputy Health Officer.

'Substantial' is defined by the CDC as either 8 - 9.9% of tests positive during the past seven days OR 50 - 99.99 cases per 100,000 persons in the past seven days. Currently, Ottawa County has had 8.2% of tests positive during the past seven days and 67.5 cases per 100,000 persons in the past seven days. 

risk levels 2

Chart courtesy of

The percent positivity and case rate increases in Ottawa County are likely fueled by the more transmissible delta variant. The delta variant was detected in Ottawa County at the end of June and is causing concern because of its high rate of transmissibility and severity of illness.

The virus is infecting mostly unvaccinated people, though breakthrough cases in vaccinated people are emerging.

"COVID-19 transmission is increasing in Ottawa County, particularly among people who are not fully vaccinated," said Derel Glashower, Senior Epidemiologist at the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. "With COVID-19 again on the rise, now is the time to get vaccinated to protect yourself, your family, and your community."

Since April 1, 2021, 95% of COVID-19 cases in Ottawa County were among persons not fully vaccinated. During that same timeframe, 91% of hospitalized COVID-19 cases were among persons not fully vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccine cannot prevent 100% of infections, but the vaccine can prevent many of them. Additionally, infections seen so far from the Delta variant in vaccinated individuals are less severe compared to the infection in unvaccinated persons.  

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its variants public health encourages residents to:

  • Get a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. Visit the vaccine clinic calendar at or call 2-1-1
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitizer in the absence of soap and water
  • Wear a mask in indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status, since the risk level is now 'substantial'
  • Avoid large crowds and stay six feet apart from those outside your household
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or you think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19

Continuing to take steps to prevent COVID-19 protects our community, preserves our healthcare resources and keeps our schools and economy open.

Data Sources & Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

COVID-19 Integrated County View and Risk Levels

SARS-CoV-2 Variant Classifications and Definitions 

About the Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19

The Lancet:

SARS-CoV-2 Delta VOC in Scotland: demographics, risk of hospital admission, and vaccine effectiveness