Weekly Ottawa County COVID-19 Update - September 20, 2021

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September 20, 2021

Resources Available Online  |  miOttawa.org/COVID19

PH updates

COVID-19 Resources - miOttawa.org/COVID19

Back-to-School Edition

Ottawa County Department of Public Health’s (OCDPH) goal is to return as many students as possible to in-person learning for the full school year while prioritizing the health and safety needs of the school population and greater community. Children under the age of 12 are ineligible for COVID-19 vaccine which provides a high level of protection and may reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to others. Those in kindergarten and older are also mandated by law to receive an education, typically indoors at a school with many other children for hours each day. Until these children can get a vaccine, the most effective way to prevent spread during the school day is to have layered prevention strategies, including the universal use of face masks among staff and students along with other important prevention strategies such a distancing, increased ventilation, disinfection/hygiene and available COVID-19 testing.

It is the statutory duty of the public health officer to prevent an imminent danger that could result in disease, death or physical harm. If many students did not wear masks, this may result in harm to others through the transmission of COVID-19 which can spread from person-to-person before an individual has any symptoms. An infected person will still appear healthy and may not choose what is best for others since they won’t yet know they are infected with COVID-19. For these reasons, and because of data showing increasing transmission of Delta in Ottawa County and unprecedented rates of hospitalized youth in other States, the OCDPH passed the August 20, 2021 Face Mask Order for Schools in grades six and under as a reasonable and temporary prevention measure.

Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) has educated, experienced public health professionals that are working hard to ensure the safety of our community. OCDPH is using credible data to make Public Health decisions on the behalf of the safety of our children in Ottawa County. We understand that this may be a difficult transition for some after a summer of relaxed prevention strategies and low to moderate spread of COVID-19. It can be challenging to enter a school year with health prevention strategies, but we would like to ensure you that OCDPH will always prioritize the health and safety of our community.


There are several COVID-19 resources available to the public on miOttawa.org/COVID19

If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, please contact covid19@miottawa.org or call (616) 396-5266, select option 4. 

MDHHS Launches Online Access to Immunization Records

MDHHS records

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has launched the Michigan Immunization Portal. The portal is only available to people ages 18 and older. With this portal, Michigan adults with immunization records posted in the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR), including COVID-19 vaccination, will be able to locate their own record online and download, save or print information.

To ensure privacy and that individuals are only able to access their own immunization records, Michiganders must create a MILogin account at www.Michigan.gov/MiImmsportal and upload a valid government-issued photo ID such as driver’s license, State ID, or passport. There is no cost to access the portal. For more information visit https://bit.ly/3A0tNyh.

Reminder: 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. 


What does the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine mean?

✓ It’s the most thorough review of a vaccine the FDA does

✓ 340K+ pages of research have been reviewed—all showing high levels of safety & effectiveness

FAQ Now Available Online


FAQ Now Available Online.

Ottawa County Department of Public Health has been receiving a high volume of questions regarding the Face Mask in Educational Settings order from August 20, 2021. We would like to thank you for your patience as we worked to get everyone’s questions answered. We understand this is a difficult time for some. Students, teachers, healthcare workers and parents are fatigued from the pandemic and the health prevention strategies that followed. The Ottawa County Department of Public Health has listened to all of your questions and concerns. We created an FAQ that should clarify many of the questions that you may have regarding face masks, quarantine, COVID-19 data, variants and the Face Mask in Educational Settings Order. COVID-19 resources can be found on miottawa.org/COVID19

Click here to view the FAQ.

MMWR Weekly COVID-19 Briefing Podcast

MMWR Podcast

The CDC is hosting a weekly Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) COVID-19 briefing podcast. 

The latest MMWR Weekly COVID-19 Briefing is live. The episode from August 23, 2021 covers six reports, including reports highlighting the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against infection and hospitalization, COVID-19 vaccination coverage among adolescents and more. Listen and subscribe on: Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play.

COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness and Safety

safety and effectiveness

MMWR highlights the latest scientific information on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. See the reports below. For the latest on CDC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, check out the COVID-19 home page.

September 2021

Pregnant People are at an Increased Risk for Contracting Severe Illness from COVID-19


Pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared with non-pregnant people. Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, need for a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19. 

Safety and Effectiveness of COVID-19 Vaccination During Pregnancy 

Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, although limited, has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.

  • No safety concerns - early data on the safety of receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine are reassuring.
  • No adverse pregnancy-related outcomes occurred in previous clinical trials.
  • COVID-19 vaccines do not cause infection, including in pregnant people or their babies.
  • Early data suggests receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy reduces the risk of infection.
  • Vaccination of pregnant people build antibodies that might protect their baby.


Breakthrough Infections in Vaccinated People Less Likely to Cause 'Long COVID'

In the event of a breakthrough infection, people who are fully vaccinated are substantially less likely to develop Long COVID Syndrome, which causes brain fog, muscle pain, fatigue, and other debilitating symptoms that can last months after recovery from an initial infection. 

Latest research findings found:

  • Vaccinated individuals who experienced breakthrough infections were about a third less likely to experience and report severe symptoms from COVID-19.
  • Vaccinated individuals were more than 70% less likely to require hospitalization.
  • If vaccinated individuals did experience symptoms, they were half as likely to report multiple symptoms in the first week of illness. 

Long-term side effects (or Long COVID Syndrome) is still being researched. To get answers NIH has launched the RECOVER Initiative. The initiative will study tens of thousands of COVID-19 survivors to understand why many unvaccinated individuals don't recover as quickly, and what might be the cause, prevention, and treatment for Long COVID. 

In the meantime, these latest findings offer the encouraging news that help is already here in the form of vaccine, which provide a very effective way to protect against COVID-19 and greatly reduce the odds of Long COVID if you do get sick. 



Vaccines are safe and effective. Vaccines cannot prevent 100% of infections but they can reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent severe cases that result in hospitalizations or death. Watch this video to learn more about CDC's VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) safety program. 

county updates

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 20th, 100 new cases of COVID-19 were reported each day on average over the last 7 days, compared to the average of 109 daily reported cases over the previous 7 day period. Despite the early signs of plateauing, case counts and incidence rates remain high at this time. 

sept 20

Variants in Ottawa County 

Since, February 25, 2021, several variants of concern have been reported in Ottawa County. Of  all the confirmed variant cases reported in Ottawa County since late February, the majority (63%) were the Alpha variant, followed by the Delta variant (33%). The Epsilon and Gamma variants made up 3% and 2% respectively (percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding). Despite these overall statistics, local data on variants show the Delta variant to be the most predominant variant strain in Ottawa County, making up 100% of all variant cases reported over the last month. Similar data at the state and national levels indicate the Delta variant is still the most predominant strain at this time. 

Please note that whole genome sequencing (WGS) 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. 

In addition to WGS of clinical cases, results from wastewater sampling over the last month consistently detected the Delta variant in wastewater samples collected from several sites in the county. The Delta variant was detected most frequently further confirming the prevalence of the more transmissible and potentially severe variant in Ottawa County. 

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

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. 



A recent report published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR) indicated that vaccines continued to be highly effective in preventing against severe COVID-19 despite the predominance of the Delta variant. Fully vaccinated people reportedly have a 5 times lower risk of infection and a 10 times lower risk of hospitalization or death. 

cdc delta

Fully Vaccinated Vs. Not Fully Vaccinated Hospitalization Rates


In Michigan, between August 9 - September 7, 2021, 275 fully vaccinated individuals were hospitalized compared to 820 individuals who were not fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The risk of getting infected with severe COVID-19 is greater among not fully vaccinated than vaccinated individuals. 


COVID-19 Vaccinations in Ottawa County

sept 20

Coverage: 63.8% of all Ottawa County residents aged 12 years or older have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as of September 20, 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

state header

state vaccinations

Coverage: 61.6 % of all Michigan residents aged 12 years or older have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as of September 20, 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


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.


Questions from Community Members

Are masks harmful to kids?

Masks are not harmful to kids if worn properly. Masks are NOT recommended for children under 2 years old. A mask should cover your nose and mouth and be secured under your chin. It should fit snugly against the sides of your face. Cloth masks should be washed consistently to prevent contamination. Disposable masks should be replaced with a clean mask after every use.

Although more studies would be welcome, all published research performed to date show no danger to children. Articles that have been retracted are not classified as credible published research. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, face masks can be safely worn by all children 2 years of age and older, including most children with special health conditions, with rare exception. Children with weakened immune systems or who have health conditions that put them at high risk for infections are encouraged to take all recommended precautions including wearing a well-fitted mask for protection. Children with medical conditions that interfere with a cognitive or lung function may have a hard time tolerating a face mask. For these children, special accommodations may be needed.


American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

American Academy of Pediatrics – Healthy Children FAQ

CDC: Your Guide to Masks

Randomized clinical trial to evaluate the safety, fit, comfort of a novel N95 mask in children

Assessment of Respiratory Function in Infants and Young Children Wearing Face Masks During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Is there a mental health impact of wearing masks as a COVID prevention strategy?

We understand that many of us are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. OCDPH agrees that mental health is a critical issue and very real for members of our community including both children and adults. We recognize more will be needed to address mental health especially considering the past year where the whole society has experienced the trauma of a pandemic.

Even before the pandemic mental health was a concern across the US, and an issue that the pandemic brought to the forefront. There is some research showing that mental health needs rose during the pandemic; however, there is little evidence that masks are specifically associated with mental health issues. The relationship between COVID-19 and mental health will require more research, more compassion and more action which is being recognized at all levels of government and health. The goal of public health is to keep kids learning in-person, which is the best way for students to succeed academically and may reduce any stress that may be associated with social isolation. It’s natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief and worry during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to take necessary actions to manage stress and other mental health conditions.  LEARN MORE

There are many resources available in Ottawa County to help individuals and families get through these tough times. Most of these services are available through telehealth or online. Telehealth means services, such as counseling or case management, are provided by phone, email, or virtual meetings instead of face to face.

Individuals who feel they are in a mental health crisis and need help immediately are encouraged to call Community Mental Health of Ottawa County’s 24-hour Crisis Line at 866-512-4357 or TTY 711.


CDC: Coping with Stress

CDC: Mental Health – Related Emergency Department Visits Among Children

Suicide Prevention Coalition Strategic Plan

Suicide Prevention Coalition website

Mental Health Resources - Resources - Ottawa Community Schools Network (oaisd.org)

Community Mental Health 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741

Local organizations with mental health support can be found here.

Is natural immunity from infections important?

Natural immunity typically comes when a person survives an infectious disease. Having a compromised immune system or being of an older age can reduce the level of personal immunity obtained from infection. Herd immunity occurs when a high proportion of the community has immunity to an infectious disease, effectively slowing or stopping further transmission. Herd immunity can be achieved in two ways – by infection or by vaccination. Infection involves getting infected with COVID-19 and risking a severe outcome, including death, and possibly passing the virus to others. This method does not guarantee protection from getting COVID-19 again. While infection can provide immunity that helps slow community COVID-19 transmission, the lives of over 650,000 people were lost in the United States to obtain immunity from infection. Vaccination is safe and effective, and the ideal method for pursuing herd immunity. LEARN MORE


Mayo Clinic: Herd Immunity

CDC: Vaccine Offers Higher Protection

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

VWM Logo

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.

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-19 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.