Weekly Ottawa County COVID-19 Update - December 1, 2021

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December 1, 2021

Resources Available Online  |  miOttawa.org/COVID19

PH updates

Surge in COVID-19 cases in West Michigan causes hospitals to near capacity levels, putting access to health care services at risk

With the increase in the number COVID-19 cases in Michigan, hospitals throughout the state and in West Michigan are at or near bed capacity levels, putting access to health care services at risk, not only for COVID patients, but for anyone seeking care. The current surge in cases can be attributed to the highly transmissible Delta variant which is primarily spreading among those who are unvaccinated. OCDPH expect to see a continued rise in cases as people gather for the holidays, which may cause further stain on the healthcare system. 

OCDPH is urging community members to take immediate steps to reduce the current COVID-19 surge, alleviate the strain on hospitals and protect their health and the health of those around them. 

  • Get vaccinated - even one dose will provide some protection before the holidays.
  • Get a booster - boosters are now encouraged for anyone 18 or older. 
  • Wear a mask - with current COVID-19 transmission levels so high, OCDPH is urging all individuals to wear a mask indoors, at work, school and anywhere in public when gathered around other people, even if they are vaccinated.
  • Stay home if you are sick, even if you just have the sniffles. 
  • Get tested if you think you've been exposed or have symptoms - assume your illness is COVID-19 until you receive a negative test result and do not spend time with others outside of your home while awaiting test results. 

New Variant "Omicron" Detected

As you may be aware, over the Thanksgiving weekend, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a new Variant of Concern (VOC), referred to as Omicron (a Greek letter used to simplify variant designation). This announcement was based on the detection of the variant in several countries around the world. A VOC is a variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus for which there may be evidence of increased transmissibility, more severe disease, or a reduction in the effectiveness of treatments or vaccines. There is a great deal that is not known about Omicron right now. Scientists around the world are working to understand this new variant. As we know more, we will update the community. In the meantime, it is more important than ever for everyone to practice the layered prevention strategies we’ve all learned – get vaccinated, wear a mask whenever you are indoors with members of another household or in public, stay home if you are sick, and get tested if you believe you’ve been exposed to COVID-19. Vaccination clinics and testing availability can be found at www.VaccinateWestMi.com/clinics.

OCDPH recommends COVID-19 vaccine boosters for everyone 18 years or older

MDHHS booster graphic

Ottawa County Department of Public Health is offering COVID-19 vaccine booster doses to everyone 18 years or older. With the recent announcement from the World Health Organization that Omicron is now a Variant of Concern, it is more important than ever to get your booster shot. 

Individuals who received the 2-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are eligible to receive a booster shot six months or more after their initial series.

Individuals who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine can receive the booster shot two months or more after their initial series.

Eligible individuals can choose which booster they prefer. Contact your healthcare provider to discuss which vaccine booster is right for you. Booster doses are offered at local pharmacies, healthcare providers and adult vaccine clinics in Ottawa County. To find a vaccine clinic, visit www.VaccinateWestMi.com/clinics.

Masks are still required at pre-K through 6th grade school-related events; recommended for all other large indoor gatherings

We’ve heard from many community members about whether masks will be required for everyone, including attendees, at extracurricular school events, such as holiday performances, concerts, plays, school parties, athletics and any event in a pre-K through 6th grade settings. This is the season for joyful gatherings, and after the past 20 plus months, we all need reasons to celebrate. Unfortunately, we are still in a record-setting COVID-19 surge and children in this age group are not yet fully vaccinated, although many parents have begun the vaccination process with their kids. In addition to the risk posed to kids by unmasked individuals in crowded indoor spaces, there are public health orders in place.

The August 20 Face Mask Order requires that face masks be worn by all pre-K through 6th grade students, staff and attendees in educational settings. This Order is in effect until January 2, 2022 and applies to all school events, held during the day or as extracurricular activities, and includes holiday events where members of the community are gathered.

In addition, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued a face mask advisory for the holiday season for all people over the age of 2 when gathered indoors, regardless of vaccination status due to the current level of COVID-19 community transmission, and dire situation faced by our hospital and healthcare community. OCDPH is strongly recommending and urging that organizations gathering individuals from mixed households and the public, in indoor spaces, strongly consider universal masking. This would apply to family holiday gatherings, work and other social events and religious services.

With everyone’s help, we can protect those who aren’t fully vaccinated yet and reduce the significant strain being experienced in our health care system.

More highlights from OCDPH pediatric COVID-19 vaccine clinics


We're so proud of all of the brave kids doing their part to protect themselves and their community by getting vaccinated! And, we're encouraged by your notes – thank you for reaching out to us!

  • My daughter was super nervous about getting the vaccine, and the staff was so encouraging. They chatted with her while we waited in line, acknowledged that it was okay for her to feel nervous, and moved quickly enough that she didn’t have time to think too much about it. They let her choose a cute bandaid and a great prize. She feels brave and empowered. Thanks so much!
  • I brought 4 kids total. 3 of those children are in wheelchairs. The fact that they were willing and advertised being willing to come to vehicles, was such a gift to our family. My children were so proud to get their vaccine and their mobility and anxiety was not an issue. We are so thankful for this clinic and for meeting our special needs. In addition, our clinician that did our vaccines was absolutely amazing and kind to my children. She treated them with respect and dignity. Forever grateful for you all!

Questions & Answers

Why has communications and COVID-19 messaging changed over the course of the pandemic?

It has been almost two years since COVID-19 was detected in Ottawa County. So much has changed over these months. We understand how frustrating it can be to hear new or changing advice. COVID-19 is a new disease and the virus is different than it was two years ago. As scientists continue to learn more about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its variants, guidance about how you can protect yourself may change. OCDPH is continually working to provide factual and consistent information, and to combat misinformation that can be spread and become a public health risk. 

I'm fully vaccinated and boosted, why do I have to continue to mask?

None of us expected that we would be going through another holiday season under the cloud of COVID-19. We understand that our community is tired and weary of COVID-19 prevention strategies. But, we cannot know the vaccination or health status of everyone we come into contact with, particularly in public, indoor spaces. Even if you are vaccinated, it is still possible to contract or transmit COVID-19, and continued masking provides an extra layer of protection, for you and for others, while community transmission is high.  

Why are so many vaccinated people getting COVID? Are the vaccines not working?

Vaccines do reduce the likelihood that you will contract the disease the vaccine is created to fight, but no vaccine is expected to eliminate 100% of disease transmission, although vaccines do reduce the likelihood you will contract the disease they are created to fight. The goal of every vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccine, is to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death. So why are so many vaccinated people experiencing breakthrough infections? As more and more people in our communities get vaccinated, the probability that vaccinated individuals will become infected with COVID-19 increases as the virus has fewer unvaccinated people to infect. There are still more than four million Michiganders who are unvaccinated, and while some vaccinated individuals are becoming infected, the highest amount of COVID-19 is still being seen among the unvaccinated. It is important to note that some individuals who are unvaccinated may not be so by choice, but rather because they are ineligible or they have a medical reason for being unable to be vaccinated. These people need the community around them to be vaccinated so everyone can be protected.  

county updates

Ottawa County Data Hub

Ottawa County publishes recent COVID-19 data relating to community transmission, counts, descriptive statistics and test positivity. Due to the high case volume we are currently experiencing, the daily data updates have been pushed back to 4:00 pm. The data hub is updated every weekday from Monday - Friday by 4:00 pm. View Data Hub

Weekly COVID-19 Data Reports can be found on our COVID page

Ottawa County Case Rates

Oc cases 12-1

As of December 1, 217 new cases of COVID-19 were reported each day on average over the last 7 days, down from the 318 daily reported cases over the previous 7 day period. Case counts and incidence rates remain high at this time. Because these reports do not include results in people only tested with at-home test kits, the true case counts may be underreported.

COVID-19 Vaccinations in Ottawa County

OC Vax 12-1

Coverage: 63.2% of all Ottawa County residents aged 5 years or older have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as of December 1, 2021. More vaccine data from MDHHS can be found here

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Michigan Vaccination Rates

MI Vax 12-1

Coverage: 61.2% of all Michigan residents aged 5 years or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as of December 1, 2021. More vaccine data from MDHHS can be found here.

Progress is based on the CDC data tracker, which includes Michigan 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 slightly undercounts the true number of doses administered to Michigan residents. LEARN MORE

COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States

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Where to Find COVID-19 Vaccines

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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 5 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.
  • Proof of date of birth 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.
vaccinate calendar

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

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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

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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.