Weekly Ottawa County COVID-19 Update - December 15, 2021

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December 15, 2021

Resources Available Online  |  miOttawa.org/COVID19

PH updates

omicron variant

Scientific studies on the Omicron variant and its impact on vaccine effectiveness are beginning to reveal valuable information about what we can expect in the coming months. Based on Omicron's spread in the United Kingdom, it appears it is much more contagious, as cases there are doubling every three days. While we don't know yet how this variant will spread in the United States, we expect to see cases caused by the Omicron variant showing up in Ottawa County very soon.

While it appears that Omicron does escape some vaccine effectiveness, booster doses can increase that effectiveness to 70-80%; therefore, anyone eligible for a booster should not delay receiving that dose. 

Vaccination is still the most important way to protect yourself from COVID. If you are undecided about vaccination, or if you cannot be vaccinated, consider these additional prevention strategies to protect yourself from illness: 

  • Wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces and on public transportation. 
  • Stay home if you're sick. 
  • Use a rapid antigen test immediately before gathering with others to help determine if you are infected and contagious. 
  • If you test positive on a rapid antigen test, isolate immediately, contact a healthcare provider to see if further testing is recommended, and if so, do not gather with others while you wait for your test results.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, check with your doctor right away to see what treatment options are available to keep your illness from becoming more serious.
  • If your rapid test is negative, this does not mean you do not have COVID-19; it just means that the virus was not detected in the sample. Make sure to follow up with your healthcare provider if you are not sure, and if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, stay home to avoid exposing others to illness.

CDC expands COVID-19 booster recommendations to 16 and 17 year olds

On Thursday, December 9, The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) expanded booster shot eligibility to everyone age 16 and older. Adolescents ages 16 and 17 are now eligible to receive a booster six months after their initial Pfizer vaccination series. Adults ages 18 and older can get any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States. Boosters are available at your local pharmacy, physician offices or any vaccine clinic. To find a vaccine clinic visit www.VaccinateWestMi.com/Clinics.


Influenza season is coming


Ottawa County Department of Public Health's Influenza Surveillance Report estimates that the current positivity rate is higher than the previous two influenza (flu) seasons. As of December 4, 2021, the positivity rate was 11.9% in Ottawa County. To prevent the spread of the flu, OCDPH recommends the following precautionary measures: 

  • Getting the flu vaccine
  • Staying home if you are sick and limiting contact with other people
  • Washing hands frequently with soap and water
  • Cover coughs and sneezes


OCDPH celebrates the anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccine

The one year anniversary of Ottawa County's first COVID-19 vaccine is December 18. The vaccine shot was administered to Jeff Potter, an Ottawa County first responder, and offered a beacon of hope to the Ottawa County community. Although we remain at a challenging point in the pandemic with continued elevated community spread and a new variant, the COVID-19 vaccines continue to prevent hospitalizations and save lives. Vaccinating so many in our community would never have been possible without community partners in all sectors including business, faith, education, health care, government, law enforcement, nonprofit, long-term care, agriculture, military and each person in our community who has done their part. Thank you!


Consider vaccination if you are traveling during the holidays

travel COVID

The holiday season is almost here. For many people, that may mean traveling to visit family. We want everyone to enjoy the holidays in safe way. If you are considering traveling for the holidays, please visit the CDC's travel page to understand the COVID-19 safety protocols.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19. But, there are many other things you can do to reduce your risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 while you travel. Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required in indoor areas of public transportation, including on airplanes, and indoors in U.S. transportation hubs, including airports. A well-fitting mask will reduce your risk. In addition, consider testing before and after your travel to protect others, practice physical distancing, and good hand hygiene.

Finally, please do not travel if you have been exposed to COVID-19, if you are sick, or if you test positive for COVID-19.  


Mental health and the holidays

Mental health

The holiday season can bring joy to many, but it can also be a stressful time of year. Anxiety, depression, and loneliness may be compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is offering tips and resources to help Michiganders cope with the winter or seasonal blues that are common this time of year. 

  • Stay active, even if it is doing small things each day. 
  • Eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep. 
  • Keep a schedule and try to get fresh air every day. 
  • Try to find a small pleasure for yourself within each day. 
  • Avoid using too much alcohol and avoid drugs. 
  • Create a buddy system to have someone you can call when you feel down. 
  • Set boundaries on how you want to spend your time in a way that works for you.
  • Be respectful of others who may want things from you, but remember to take care of yourself. 
  • Seek professional help if you need it. 


Appointments available at upcoming children's vaccine clinics


Looking for children's vaccine clinics? Ottawa County Department of Public Health is partnering with two community organizations this week to offer vaccines for children. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

  • Community Action House Food Club
    • Thursday, December 16th
    • 1:00pm - 7:00pm
    • Location: 739 Paw Paw Drive, Holland, MI 49423
    • To register
  • Salvation Army - Kids Clinic (Ages 5-11)
    • Friday, December 17th 
    • 9:00am - 4:00pm
    • Location: 104 Clover St. Holland, MI 49423
    • To register

To find more clinics in your area visit www.VaccinateWestMi.com/clinics.

Here are a few more comments from parents about vaccination:

  • I just wanted to say thank you for the pediatric COVID vaccine clinics. My daughter got her second dose last night (big relief!), and it went really smoothly.
  • I wish my other kids under 11 could have participated in these clinics (they were in quarantine when my daughter got started), but I am so appreciative of the health department making them available and kid-friendly!

  • Everything ran so smoothly! My daughter was quite nervous, but everyone was kind and patient and encouraging to her! The prizes help. Thank you for your time and dedication to the health of Ottawa County!

Questions & Answers

Why should I get vaccinated if I can still get COVID?

This is an understandably confusing and frustrating question. While the COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing infection, serious illness, hospitalization and death, no vaccine can provide 100% protection from any communicable disease. Breakthrough infections may occur, particularly when community disease spread is high.

As you've likely seen, serious illness, hospitalization and death are occurring at higher rates in unvaccinated individuals. Vaccinated individuals who experience breakthrough infection may be contagious for a shorter period of time because their immune systems are prepared to clear the infection sooner, making them less infectious to the community, especially if they don't have symptoms. Moreover, symptoms of breakthrough infections are usually milder and are less likely to develop into serious illness that can lead to hospitalization or death. 

I'm undecided about whether I should get vaccinated, or if I should vaccinate my children. What should I consider when making my decision?

No decision is without risk. Many people may consider the decision about vaccination a choice between the potential risks of getting the vaccine, and the chance to avoid those risks by not getting the vaccine. In reality, particularly during this time of high community transmission, the more important consideration is choosing between the potential risks of getting the vaccine and the risks of getting infected with COVID-19. At this time, the evidence shows that the risk of side effects from vaccination is much smaller than the risk of serious illness, hospitalization, long COVID symptoms or even death from COVID-19 infection. We encourage you to consider both when deciding whether you and your children should be vaccinated.

Dr. Rosey Olivero from DeVos Children's Hospital and Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian from the Michigan Department of Health and Human services covered this and other questions on pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for parents in an interview with Mlive in November. Their thoughts on the question above can be found at about the 26 minute mark. 

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


As of December 13, 198 new cases of COVID-19 were reported each day on average over the last 7 days, down from the 311 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


Coverage: 64.1% of all Ottawa County residents aged 5 years or older have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as of December 13, 2021. More vaccine data from MDHHS can be found here

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Michigan Vaccination Rates

MI 12-13

Coverage: 61.9% of all Michigan residents aged 5 years or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as of December 13, 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


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.