NEWS RELEASE: Ottawa County risk level now 'high'

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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

Ottawa County risk level now classified 'high'

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

Ottawa County data indicates that the community is now defined by CDC as having ‘high’ transmission. The key takeaway here: Ottawa County moved from ‘substantial’ to ‘high’ transmission in just a matter of days; we should not let our guard down. Masking, vaccinating, handwashing, and social distancing remain important and recommended.

"I urge all people in Ottawa County to follow the directives of the CDC and MDHHS.  We know that masks and vaccines are safe and effective and our best defense against this fast-changing virus," said Lisa Stefanovsky, Health Officer at the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. "Since our level of transmission has increased so quickly, I likewise urge all indoor places that are open to the public or bring together people from more than one household, to continue implementing policies and practices to ensure that customers, employees and others wear face masks. Let’s work together to slow the spread of the virus and keep our communities, churches, schools, businesses and other indoor public places open and our residents safe." 

'High' is defined by the CDC as either 10+ percent of tests positive during the past seven days OR 100 cases per 100,000 persons in the past seven days. Currently, Ottawa County has had 10.8 percent of tests positive during the past seven days and 108.6 cases per 100,000 persons in the past seven days.

cdc county view

The spread of the delta variant is most likely fueling the increase of positive case rates in Ottawa County. The delta variant is causing concern because of its high rate of transmission and severity of illness.

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

"The delta variant is spreading quickly, increasing the number of positive cases reported in Ottawa County," said Derel Glashower, Senior Epidemiologist at Ottawa County Department of Public Health. "The delta variant has pushed us into the 'high risk of transmission' category so it is important to take extra precautions to protect ourselves and our community."

The COVID-19 vaccine cannot prevent 100% of infections, but the vaccine can prevent many of them. Additionally, recent studies show that unvaccinated people infected with the delta variant may experience more serious illness than vaccinated people who get infected. 

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 'high'
  • 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

Guidance for Implementing COVID-19 Prevention Strategies

The Lancet:

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