Weekly Ottawa County COVID-19 Update - December 8, 2021

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December 8, 2021

Resources Available Online  |  miOttawa.org/COVID19

PH updates

Omicron Update

The new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, was detected in the U.S. on Wednesday, December 1, and has now been detected in at least 17 states. Scientists worldwide are still investigating how Omicron spreads, whether it causes more severe illness and what kind of protection vaccines will offer. We expect to be able to provide a more thorough update on Omicron in our next COVID-19 bulletin. With the new variant circulating, and with so much unknown about it, it is more important than ever to maintain prevention strategies such as getting vaccinated, staying home if you are sick, getting tested if you have been exposed to COVID-19 and masking in indoor, public settings. In addition, the CDC recommends that everyone 18 years of age and older get a booster shot. Speak with your healthcare provider about which booster is right for you. Boosters are available at many local pharmacies, provider's offices or by visiting https://vaccinatewestmi.com/clinics/


Participate in National Institutes of Health Studies on COVID-19 Home Tests 

With the increase in COVID-19 cases in Ottawa County and throughout the state in recent weeks, we know that access to testing for COVID-19 has become more difficult. There are multiple testing options available in Ottawa County. A list of testing sites can be found here: https://www.miottawa.org/Health/OCHD/covid-19-testing-locations.htm.

There are also two opportunities to do free, at-home testing for COVID-19 through research studies. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health and various universities around the United States are studying the best testing strategies to detect COVID-19 in people who may or may not have symptoms, and develop new testing strategies that work best to stop the spread of COVID-19. Participation in these studies is completely voluntary. They are simply an opportunity to access additional testing, free of cost. OCDPH will not have access to your study results.

If you do test positive while enrolled in these studies, please self-isolate immediately, contact your school or employer, and notify OCDPH.

OCDPH Recognizes National Influenza Vaccination Week

I get it to protect the good times


National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 5 - 11. Although COVID-19 and the Omicron variant are getting the most attention right now, the flu (influenza) remains a significant public health concern. Transmission of the flu in Ottawa County remains low, but is increasing. Much like COVID-19, the best protection against the flu is vaccination; anyone age six months or older should get a flu vaccine. Many of the same prevention strategies used for COVID-19 are effective against the flu. Get vaccinated, stay home if you are sick, limit contact with other people if you do become ill, cover your coughs and sneezes and wash your hands frequently. There is still time to get a flu vaccine for this flu season, and it can be administered at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine or booster. Vaccines are available from local healthcare providers and pharmacies. OCDPH's weekly influenza report is available here.

Unvaccinated Residents Infected With COVID-19 Are Filling Michigan Hospitals

MDHHS unvaccinated

“Michigan’s health care systems are stretched beyond their limits – so much so that the U.S. Department of Defense is providing clinical staffing support to hospitals throughout the state that are operating at capacity, delaying nonemergency medical procedures and placing their emergency departments on diversion,” said Brian Peters, CEO of Michigan Health & Hospital Association. “This data confirms what the situation in our hospitals is already telling us: get vaccinated, whether it is your first dose, vaccination for your children or a booster dose.”


Get Vaccinated to Celebrate a Healthy Holiday Season! 

Getting vaccinated will provide the best protection against COVID-19 for family and friends who gather at the holidays. There is still time to receive your first dose of the vaccine before the holidays. Appointments are available at OCDPH's clinics, which take place on Mondays at our location on James Street. In addition, following the five tips below can help you enjoy a safer and healthier holiday season. To find OCDPH's COVID-19 guidance, visit miOttawa.org/COVID19. In addition, MDHHS issued a public health advisory recommending masking for the holiday season. View the advisory here

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Kids Can Still Receive COVID-19 protection Before the Holidays With a First Dose of the Vaccine


There is still time to get your child's first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so they can have some level of protection before your holiday gatherings and before school resumes in January. Appointments are somewhat limited, but be patient and keep looking for availability at local pharmacies or from your healthcare provider. Below are more thoughts from parents on the kids vaccine and OCDPH clinics.

  • The experience gave me chills. There was a scheduling issue so we ended up waiting for 20 minutes to get in, during that time my 7 year old daughter and I had conversations with other parents and students. Many kids were scared but even in fear of the needle not a single kid tried to get out of receiving the vaccine. Listening to our youngest generation talking about keeping themselves, their siblings, grandparents, friends, loved ones and community safe was overwhelming to say the least. Many of us parents kept having the same conversations with our kids reminding them it won’t hurt in hopes our child isn’t the one screaming or crying before receiving their shot, but then we began to notice every kid that walked out was smiling, and once we entered the gymnasium we noticed not a single kid was crying or yelling in there either. When have you ever taken your child to the pediatrician and not heard another kid or your own bawling about shots? Let alone a school full of hundreds all receiving shots. The doctors and nurses were all amazing and made it such a wonderful experience for all involved. Not only is this a huge moment in history, but now it is one our children will finally see the positives within it. Every kid came running out with a cool bandaid, a smile on their face and a big yell of “It didn’t hurt!” to ease the anxiety of the ones still waiting. Thank you Ottawa County for stepping up and keeping us safe as well as making a terrifying situation into a positive memory.
  • We had an amazing experience...everyone was SO nice. I felt like there was a big effort to make the kids comfortable. Employees joked around and chatted, nothing was rushed but in a good way to make the process better for them. The cute bandaids and little toys were a great addition. My girls don’t love shots but happy to get their chance for this COVID vaccine. And the positive experience was icing on the cake for them. The staff thanked us many times for bringing our kids in. Which was very kind. I think all of us, as parents, believe in the science and sense of communication to do our part and were happy to be there last night. Thank you!

Questions & Answers

Are antigen COVID-19 tests reliable?

PCR tests continue to provide reliable COVID-19 test results, but there is currently limited appointment availability. Antigen test kits, which can be administered at home, are convenient and provide immediate results. Antigen tests can provide reliable results that can help with decision-making about group gatherings or before travel. These tests are best used as close to an event as possible, as they detect whether there is enough COVID-19 virus present in your sample for you to be contagious to other people.

When using an antigen test, it's important to follow all of the instructions provided with the test. The CDC offers video instructions to assist with how to use and interpret antigen tests. The videos can be found here.  

If you test positive on an antigen test, you should isolate even if you do not have symptoms, call your healthcare provider to see if further testing is needed, and do not gather with anyone while you wait for further recommendations. You can also ask your healthcare provider what treatment options may be available for you. Finally, if you test positive, please notify OCDPH here.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for children?

To date, more than 6,200 Ottawa County children, aged 5-11 have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which has been proven safe and effective for children. It has undergone rigorous review and thorough testing for safety in thousands of children. COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 through 11 years were developed and tested in the same way as adult COVID-19 vaccines. In clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild and similar to those seen in adults, and with other vaccines recommended for children. The most common side effect was a sore arm. These side effects may briefly affect your child’s ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects at all and severe allergic reactions are rare.

Learn more about the process of developing, authorizing, and approving COVID-19 vaccines.

Read about the common myths and facts about COVID-19 vaccine for children here

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

cases 12-7

As of December 7, 270 new cases of COVID-19 were reported each day on average over the last 7 days, up from the 250 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 tested with antigen test kits at home, true case counts may be underreported.

COVID-19 Vaccinations in Ottawa County

OC coverage 12-7

Coverage: 63.6% of all Ottawa County residents aged 5 years or older have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as of December 7, 2021. More vaccine data from MDHHS can be found here

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Michigan Vaccination Rates

MI coverage 12-7

Coverage: 61.5% of all Michigan residents aged 5 years or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as of December 7, 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

US coverage

Where to Find COVID-19 Vaccines

VWM Logo

The OCDPH is listing all of its COVID-19 vaccination clinics on VaccinateWestMi.com. 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.
Vaccine Clinic 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

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

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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.