Weekly Ottawa County COVID-19 Update - September 10, 2021

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September 10, 2021

Resources Available Online  |  miOttawa.org/COVID19

PH updates

FDA Approved Pfizer Vaccine

FDA Approval

On August 23, 2021, the FDA approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and will now be marketed as Comirnaty used for COVID-19 prevention for individuals aged 16 years or older. This vaccine will remain available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. 


Interim COVID-19 School Guidance for the 2021-2022 School Year

Ottawa County's Interim COVID-19 School Guidance for the 2021-2022 School Year has been updated as of August 20, 2021. 

This document provides COVID-19 prevention strategies for K-12 schools for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. OCDPH's goal is to return as many students as possible to in-person learning while prioritizing the health and safety needs of the school population and greater community. 

The Interim COVID-19 School Guidance can be found here

Public Health Orders Requiring Mask Use in Pre-K-6 Educational Settings

On August 20, 2021, Kent and Ottawa administrative health officers issued public health orders for their respective jurisdictions requiring masks be worn in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade educational settings. These Orders were issued to protect vulnerable individuals and those who are not yet vaccinated, to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in schools and the community, and to minimize interruptions to in-person learning. 

The orders are issued pursuant to the Michigan Public Health Code (MCL 333.2451 and 333.2453, R. 325.175(4), and MCL 333.2226(d)) which authorizes public health officers to "take actions and make determinations necessary or appropriate to carry out the local health department's functions to protect the public health and prevent disease."

The Orders, which are identical but issued separately by jurisdiction, require the following:

  • Educational institutions shall ensure that people in grades pre-kindergarten through six consistently and properly wear a facial covering (mask) while inside any closed building or structure. 
  • Educational institutions shall ensure that all persons, regardless of vaccination status, providing service to any persons in pre-kindergarten through grade six, properly and consistently wear a facial covering while inside any building or structure of the institution. 

Exceptions to these orders include:

  1. Persons in the act of eating or drinking
  2. Persons under the age of four years; however, supervised masking is recommended for children who are at least two years of age. 
  3. Persons with developmental conditions of any age attending school for whom it has been demonstrated that the use of a face covering would inhibit the person's access to education. These are limited to persons with an Individualized Education Plan, Section 504 Plan, Individualized Healthcare Plan or equivalent. 
  4. Vaccinated teachers who are working with children who are hard of hearing or students with developmental conditions who benefit from facial cues. 
  5. Persons who have a medical reason confirmed in writing from a Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) currently licensed to practice medicine in the State of Michigan. 

While this order only pertains to mask use relative to the younger students and service providers, the Kent and Ottawa County health departments strongly recommend school administrators, teachers, parents closely adhere to the full guidelines from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local health departments. 

Public health officials will continue to monitor the situation and will respond accordingly to best protect their communities.

Click here to find the full news release. 

Links and Additional Resources

Kent County Public Health Order More COVID-19 Info from Kent Co

Ottawa County Public Health Order | More COVID-19 Info from Ottawa Co

Vaccines: Vaccinatewestmi.com

FAQ's Regarding the Public Health Order

Common Questions

After the public health order was released on August 20, 2021, Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) has received a high volume of questions. OCDPH has been listening to each and every question. An FAQ was created to help answer those questions. 

Click here to view the FAQ.

Ottawa County's Corporation Council Response to Legal Questions

Ottawa County Corporation Council has responded to public questions regarding the legality of the Public Health Order from August 20, 2021. The questions included:

  1. May a Michigan County Board of Commissioners (BOC) reverse a Health Officer's Epidemic Order?
  2. May the BOC adopt a resolution asking its Health Officer to reconsider her epidemic order?
  3. May the BOC terminate its health officer for adopting an epidemic order?
  4. Would the Health Officer be civilly and criminally liable of she withdrew her mask mandate because of political pressure?

The answers can be found here.

Board of Commissioners Meeting - August 24, 2021

Following the public health order, Ottawa County Department of Public (OCDPH) gave a presentation at the Board of Commissioners (BOC) Meeting via Zoom on August 24, 2021 to provide additional information about the public health order requiring pre-kindergarteners - 6th graders to wear face masks in education settings. The presentation contained educational materials for the public including data that was used in OCDPH's decision to require masks for pre-kindergarteners - 6th graders. 

Links and Resources

Presentation Slides

August 24, 2021 - Recorded Board of Commissioners Meeting

Do Masks Work?

Yes, masks work. They limit the spread of germs from one person to another by blocking respiratory droplets that contain the virus from entering the air. They also help protect the person wearing the mask because the mask can help block that person from breathing in potential virus particles in the air. For masks to work best, students, teachers, and staff need to wear a well-fitting mask consistently and correctly. Consistent and correct mask use is especially important indoors and in crowded settings when physical distancing is difficult. CDC recommends all schools require universal masking.


The Effectiveness of Face Masks to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Transmission

guide to face masks

The Kent County Health Department and Ottawa County Department of Public Health with assistance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, health systems and other local health departments have complied scientific articles on the effectiveness of wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. While each individual study may have its own strengths and limitations, the evidence presented in these scientific journal articles taken as a whole demonstrate that masks in healthcare and community settings are effective in reducing the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and transmission of the virus to others. Taken together, current scientific data supports the use of masks to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in the community. 

We will continue to review the science and update out recommendations as needed to protect the health of our community. 


masked hero

Wearing a mask can lower your risk of getting COVID-19 and can prevent the spread of the virus. Masks keep us safe and healthy. Watch this video to learn more about masks and how you can become a masked hero. 

Mask Guidelines

The following are attributes of masks needed to fulfill the requirements of the public health order. CDC will update this guidance as needed.

  • A properly worn mask completely covers the nose and mouth.
  • Cloth masks should be made with two or more layers of a breathable fabric that is tightly woven (i.e., fabrics that do not let light pass through when held up to a light source).
  • Mask should be secured to the head with ties, ear loops, or elastic bands that go behind the head. If gaiters are worn, they should have two layers of fabric or be folded to make two layers.
  • Mask should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.
  • Mask should be a solid piece of material without slits, exhalation valves, or punctures.

The following attributes are additionally acceptable as long as masks meet the requirements above.

  • Masks can be either manufactured or homemade.
  • Masks can be reusable or disposable.
  • Masks can have inner filter pockets.
  • Clear masks or cloth masks with a clear plastic panel may be used to facilitate communication with people who are hearing impaired or others who need to see a speaker’s mouth to understand speech.
  • Medical masks and N-95 respirators fulfill the requirements of the Order.

The following do not fulfill the requirements of the Order.

  • Masks worn in a way that does not cover both the mouth and nose
  • Face shields or goggles (face shields or goggles may be worn to supplement a mask that meets above required attributes)
  • Scarves, ski masks, balaclavas, or bandannas
  • Shirt or sweater collars (e.g., turtleneck collars) pulled up over the mouth and nose.
  • Masks made from loosely woven fabric or that are knitted, i.e., fabrics that let light pass through
  • Masks made from materials that are hard to breathe through (such as vinyl, plastic or leather)
  • Masks containing slits, exhalation valves, or punctures
  • Masks that do not fit properly (large gaps, too loose or too tight)

Letters of Support

Several of our community partners have provided support in Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) for the public health order. Each of these organizations believe masking is necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. Keeping our children safe in schools so they can thrive and learn is vitally important. It is our responsibility to protect the physical, mental, and emotional health of our children, staff, teachers, and community to the extent that we can. OCDPH and community partners support the preventative measures, such as masking, that is needed to keep our children safe and healthy. 

The letters of support can be found on our website at miOttawa.org/COVID19.

COVID Mask Mandate Endorsement- This letter was signed by an independent group of healthcare providers across a wide variety of local healthcare organizations

Metro Health - U of M Health Position Letter

Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Masking Position

county updates

Counties in Michigan that have Issued School Mask Mandates

Counties mask

Health departments in Genesee, Ingham, Washtenaw, Kalamazoo, Allegan, Kent, Oakland, Ottawa, Wayne, Ostego, Leelanau, Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, and Emmet counties have issued mask mandates for students in schools. Some have policies that apply to different age groups. 

Public Health Orders:

There are an additional 229 school districts that have independently required masks, for a combined 60.5% of Michigan students protected by either county public health orders, school policies or both. 

Ottawa County Data Hub

Ottawa County publishes recent COVID-19 data relating to community transmission, counts, descriptive statistics and test positivity. The data hub is updated every weekday from Monday - Friday by 3:00 pm. View Data Hub

Ottawa County Case Rates

As of September 8th, 75 new cases of COVID-19 were reported each day on average over the previous 7 days, compared to the average of 39 daily reported cases reported at a similar time last month. 


Variants in Ottawa County

Since, February 25, 2021, several variants of concern have been reported in Ottawa County. Of the 592 total confirmed variant cases reported in Ottawa County, 429 (72%) were the Alpha variant, 131 (22%)  were Delta, 18 (3%) were Epsilon, and 14 (2%) were the Gamma variant (percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding). However, similar to statewide and national trends with the evolving variants, the Delta variant appears to be the most predominant variant in Ottawa County at this time, making up 90% of the variant cases reported since July 1, 2021.

Please note that whole genome sequencing for the SARS-CoV-2 is not as widely available like diagnostic tests, therefore only a subset of COVID-19 cases are further sequenced for variants. Due to the high prevalence of delta variant in Michigan, almost every incident infection can now be considered to be a delta variant infection. 

Anyone who is eligible should get vaccinated. Non-pharmaceutical intervention strategies such as distancing, hand-washing, ventilation, proper and consistent masking are still effective in preventing disease transmission.

Delta Variant

The delta variant is a natural mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19. The delta variant is more contagious and can spread faster than the original COVID-19 virus. The delta is more dangerous and accounts for the growing proportion of reported COVID-19 cases across the U.S. 


Is the delta variant more dangerous to me and my child?

The delta variant spreads very easily and is more than two times as contagious as previous variants. Children are also being admitted to hospitals at an increased rate as delta has become the most common variant in the U.S., especially in communities with low vaccination rates. Vaccinated people can be infected and spread COVID-19 to others, known as “breakthrough infections,” but are much less likely to become seriously ill if this happens. However, unvaccinated adults at all ages are much more likely to spread COVID-19 and to be seriously ill and hospitalized than people who are vaccinated. It helps unvaccinated children to have high vaccination coverage among people around them as much as possible.


COVID-19 Vaccinations in Ottawa County


Coverage: 63% of all Ottawa County residents aged 12 years or older have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as of September 7, 2021. More vaccine data from MDHHS can be found here

Find the latest Ottawa County COVID-19 response updates at www.miOttawa.org/covid19

Ottawa County COVID-19 Data Hub

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MDHHS Renews Call for Michiganders to Get Vaccinated

MDHHS renews call for Michiganders to get vaccinated following Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine recommendation by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)

The Michigan Department of Human Services is calling Michiganders to get vaccinated following the FDA approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for individuals ages 16 and up.

After the FDA gave approval, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) provided guidance to the director of the CDC regarding the use of vaccines and related agents for control of vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States. The committee’s voted 14-0 in support of renewing their call for Michigan citizens to get vaccinated.

The Pfizer vaccine was the first COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed in December 2020 and was shown to be better than 94% effective against the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccines are proven to be safe and effective. The vaccines cannot protect 100% of infections but they can reduce the spread of COVID-19.

For more information visit https://bit.ly/3gYEkCC. To find a vaccine visit vaccinatewestmi.com/clinics.

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CDC Parent FAQ

Children are getting sick from COVID-19. Children are also having to go to the hospital at an increased rate due to rising rates of transmission of the Delta variant, especially in communities with low vaccination rates. CDC recommends all schools require universal masking and use additional prevention strategies regardless of how many students, educators, and staff are currently vaccinated. Masks are critical, but masks alone are not enough. Along with promoting vaccination for educators, staff, and students 12 years and older, schools must use several strategies at the same time to keep everyone as safe as possible. Examples of these strategies include improving ventilation and ensuring physical distancing. Federal resources are available to support these efforts.

The CDC recently released an FAQ which includes examples of questions parents and caregivers can ask their school to learn more about their COVID-19 precautions. 

View FAQ

state vaccinations

Coverage: 60.7 % of all Michigan residents aged 12 years or older have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as of September 7, 2021. More Vaccine Data from MDHHS can be found here.

Progress is based on the CDC data tracker, which includes MI residents vaccinated by providers not currently reporting to the state dashboard below: Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, Bureau of Prisons, and most out-of-state providers. Data provided in the Michigan COVID-19 Dashboard below slightly undercounts the true number of doses administered to MI residents. LEARN MORE

COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States

US COVID19 vaccinations

COVID-19 Vaccination Helps Protect You From Getting COVID-19

You may have some temporary side effects, which are normal signs that the body is building protection. Side effects after your second shot may be more intense than the ones you experienced after your first shot. These side effects should go away in a few days.



Click the image to view the video. 

Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines

Are the COVID-19 vaccines effective against the delta variant?

Data show that the COVID-19 vaccines have been effective in protecting fully vaccinated people from catching and spreading the original SAR-CoV-2 virus. But it is critical that people are fully vaccinated to be protected. 

Research suggests that COVID-19 vaccines are slightly less effective against infection from the delta variant. However, vaccines are still encouraged and they still appear to provide very good protection against severe COVID-19.  

  • Early research from the U.K. suggests that, after full vaccination, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is 88% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 virus caused by the delta variant. The vaccine is 96% effective at preventing severe disease with the COVID-19 virus caused by the delta variant. The research also showed that the vaccine is 93% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 virus caused by the alpha variant.
  • Early research from Canada suggests that, after one dose, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is 72% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 virus caused by the delta variant. One dose of the vaccine is also 96% effective at preventing severe disease with the COVID-19 virus caused by the delta variant.
  • The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is 85% effective at preventing severe disease with the COVID-19 virus caused by the delta variant, according to data released by Johnson & Johnson.

More about COVID-19 variants and vaccines

A small number of vaccinated people can be infected by the delta variant and may be contagious, but these cases represent a very small amount of transmission occurring around the country. The best way to reduce the spread of the delta variant in schools and communities is for all eligible adolescents and adults to get vaccinated, while following COVID-19 prevention and mitigation strategies informed by local trends.


Why does the COVID guidance keep changing?

CDC guidance changes because COVID-19 keeps changing and what we know about it continues to evolve. COVID-19 is still a new disease that CDC and others continue to study in order to provide the best guidance possible. CDC gives guidance based on the latest science to prevent and control disease, injury, and disability. All recommendations are based on available scientific data including outbreak investigations and tracking cases of COVID-19 in children. These investigations show, for example, that the Delta variant behaves differently from past variants of COVID-19. This means guidance will change as CDC learns more about what works best to reduce risk of COVID-19. 


Why is it important for me and my child to get vaccinated for COVID-19?

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19. CDC monitors for any health problems that happen after vaccination. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is one of the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not currently eligible for vaccination, so K-12 school administrators must use other prevention strategies to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Examples of these strategies include requiring masks and improving ventilation, along with vaccination of teachers and staff.

The known and potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. There have been very limited reports of rare conditions including myocarditis or pericarditis, Guillain-Barré Syndrome, and thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). Risk of severe illness is still much greater for people who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

No evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccination causes fertility problems. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people aged 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. If you have concerns about COVID-19 vaccination, talk with your child’s doctor, your doctor, nurse, or clinic.


Where to Find COVID-19 Vaccines

The OCDPH is listing all of its COVID-19 vaccination clinics on the VaccinateWestMi.com/clinics website. Click on the calendar to find scheduling and walk-in opportunities in Ottawa County and the surrounding area.

  • The Pfizer two-dose vaccine is available for individuals aged 12 years or older.
  • The Moderna two-dose vaccine is available for individuals aged 18 years or older.
  • The Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine is available for individuals aged 18 years or older.
  • Date of birth proof is required (driver’s license, state ID or birth certificate). Parental consent is required for minors. Find more details and requirements on each clinic's page.
  • Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens.
Vaccine Clinic

The Macatawa Area Express (MAX) and Allegan County Transportation are offering free rides for residents to vaccination appointments. To schedule a trip, call MAX at 616-355-1010. LEARN MORE - Kent County Vaccine Transportation Access Information HERE.

COVID-19 Testing

COVID testing

Need Testing? No-Cost Community Sites. Rapid antigen testing for anyone with or without symptoms (parental consent required for minors). Samples are taken by nasal swab. Results within 15-30 min. No appointment needed • No doctor’s order needed • No insurance needed • No Fee • Please bring a form of ID • No pets allowed • Wear a face covering. Find locations, dates and times at www.miOttawa.org/covid19

MDHHS Resources

Vaccine Information I MI Vaccine Locations I FAQs

NIH Header

Read the Latest NIH Research.

More COVID-19 Vaccine Information Resources

VaccinateWestMi.com FAQs I Deaf & Hard of Hearing FAQ Videos
CDC COVID-19 FAQs Flyer I CDC FAQ Website

Alternative Languages: Arabic | Spanish | Korean | Russian | Simplified Chinese | Tagalog | Traditional Chinese | Vietnamese

Click to learn more from the CDC's COVID-19 Webinars and Partner Calls Videos

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) sent this weekly update to those who signed up for vaccine notifications or COVID-19 updates. You may also sign up to receive information about other news topics from Ottawa County Parks, Sheriff’s Office and more. See the end of this email to make any changes to your subscription preferences.