Weekly Ottawa County COVID-19 Update - January 14, 2022

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January 14, 2022

Resources Available Online  |  miOttawa.org/COVID19

PH updates

In the face of Omicron, should we give up fighting COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a long and tiring journey for our community, but we are not to the finish line yet. New pandemic highs for weekly case counts, continued deaths, a health care system under strain, and the now-dominant Omicron variant - can cause all of us to feel like fighting COVID-19 is not only a never-ending battle, but one we can't win.

We want to encourage you to not give up. The efforts you have taken to protect the community and your families, such as getting vaccinated and boosted and wearing your mask, have made a difference in preventing infection, keeping people from being hospitalized and protecting the health care system. Practicing these preventive strategies also protects those who cannot be vaccinated, including young children who are not eligible yet.

It is difficult to predict when the pandemic will move into a less urgent phase. For now, please continue to take preventive measures. And, thank you for doing your part! 

Don't give up

Newly Released Research Shows Less Severe Outcomes and Death for Vaccinated

The spread of the Omicron variant around the world has given rise to misinformation that COVID-19 vaccines are ineffective against the disease, and that the severity of disease between vaccinated and unvaccinated people is the same. By now, you have heard that because of Omicron's large number of mutations, it is better at escaping immunity than other variants have been. However, the vaccines are still doing an excellent job at preventing severe symptoms, hospitalization and death. Booster doses further increase vaccine protection against Omicron.

According to new research, the risk for severe outcomes of COVID-19 in people who are vaccinated is rare. The research, released on January 7, 2022, included more than 1.2 million people, at 465 facilities in the United States, who had completed the primary series of vaccination between December 2020 and October 2021. Among these people, severe outcomes from COVID-19 were only seen in 0.015% of cases, and death in 0.0033% cases. All those in the study who had severe COVID-19 outcomes after primary vaccination had at least one of these risk factors: age 65 or older, immunosuppressed or one of six underlying conditions. 

Although this research took place before the Omicron variant was identified, there is still ample reason to expect that the vaccines will continue to protect people from severe outcomes, like hospitalization and death. The full research analysis can be read here

If you still need a first or second dose of the vaccine, or are eligible for a booster, OCDPH clinic information can be found at www.VaccinateWestMi.com/clinics.

COVID-19 Booster Doses Increase Vaccine Effectiveness Against Omicron

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recently shortened the recommended timeframe for someone to receive a COVID-19 booster. At this time, the CDC is recommending that everyone over the age of 12 who received the Pfizer or Moderna primary vaccination series get a booster five months after their second dose or two months after the J&J primary vaccination dose.

Children ages 5 to 11 who have moderately to severely compromised immune systems are encouraged to get an additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine 28 days after completion of their primary series. Parents should talk with their child's healthcare provider to see if this recommendation applies to them. 

Boosters are available at OCDPH clinics throughout the month of January. Visit www.VaccinateWestMi.com/clinics for clinic dates and to register.



OCDPH Issues Reconciliation Order of August 6 Public Health Order for Educational Settings

On Tuesday, January 11, the Ottawa County Department of Public Health and the Kent County Health Department jointly issued a Reconciliation Order of the August 6, 2021 COVID-19 Prevention Strategies in Educational Settings Order. The purpose of the Reconciliation Order was to more closely align with the newly updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) guidance issued in late December 2021 and early in 2022. 

The Reconciliation Order is less restrictive in every way than the August 6 Order. It replaces previous requirements and reflects the latest COVID-19 guidance issued by the CDC and MDHHS. This Order applies to K-12 settings, and includes pre-schools and daycares, as well as all higher education institutions.

OCDPH continues to meet weekly with K-12 school leadership about how to best implement recommendations and guidance in their school communities. 

Q & A

When will COVID-19 become endemic? How is it different from a pandemic?

You've likely been hearing speculation in the news and on social media that due to the Omicron variant causing such rapid spread, COVID-19 may become "endemic" soon. Is this true? Are we at the point where we need to learn to live with COVID-19? What does it mean for something to be endemic and how is it different from a pandemic or an epidemic?

There are several terms used to describe how diseases spread and affect communities.

A pandemic describes a disease's exponential growth, affecting several countries and populations. 

An epidemic describes an unexpected increase in the number of disease cases in a specific geographical area. An epidemic is not limited to a contagious disease, but can include behavior-related public health issues, such as obesity or smoking.

Endemic describes a disease outbreak that is consistently present, but limited to a particular region. Malaria is a familiar endemic disease that is usually only found mostly in tropical or subtropical climates.

There are many considerations for a disease to be considered endemic, which are not limited to case rates or disease spread. A key factor is a population's immunity, whether vaccine or infection-induced, against the danger the disease presents to that group of people. 

On Tuesday, January 11, Dr. Catherine Smallwood, a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official, told attendees at a WHO Europe press conference that we are "still a way off" from COVID-19 endemicity.

The pandemic portion of our experience with COVID-19 will not last forever, but it is not considered endemic yet. Although Omicron may cause milder illness than previous variants in some cases, allowing the disease to spread unchecked is dangerous for those who cannot mount an immune response to the disease, or who are not yet eligible for vaccination. We should all still take precautions to limit its rapid spread and protect vulnerable communities around us. Our regional health care systems are reporting difficulties providing care for COVID-19 patients, as well as those needing care for non-COVID-19 issues. Limiting Omicron's spread can help preserve their ability to care for us all.  

Finally, please be sure you are up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccination, and wear a well-fitting mask in public. 


Can I be Reinfected with COVID-19?

In general, reinfection means a person was infected (got sick) once, recovered, and then later became infected again. We are still learning more about COVID-19 and ongoing studies may shed more light around this topic. Learn more about reinfection with COVID-19.

For surveillance purposes, a case of COVID-19 reinfection refers to a new COVID-19 diagnosis reported 90+ days from a previously documented COVID-19 infection in an individual (this definition is meant for surveillance purposes and is not intended to inform clinical practice).

Since January 2021, there have been a total of 1,380 cases of COVID-19 among Ottawa County residents reported to public health who had a previously documented COVID-19 infection more than 3 months prior to their new diagnosis. A disproportionately high amount (55.7%) of such cases were reported within just the last 3 weeks, consistent with reports out of England suggesting a significantly higher likelihood of COVID reinfection with the Omicron variant compared to Delta.  Up to 83.4% of the reported reinfected cases in Ottawa County were either not vaccinated or had not completed their primary vaccination series at the time of their second infection. These data suggest that while any individuals who have had COVID-19 before can get it again, it is most observed among people who were not fully vaccinated. Individuals with a history of COVID-19 illness may still benefit from vaccination.

Note: Data on reinfection should be interpreted with caution due to several factors including the lack of a national standardized case definition for COVID-19 reinfections, variation in testing and test availability throughout the pandemic, unreliable denominator estimates and behavioral factors whereby potentially infected persons may choose not to seek testing.


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 4:00 pm. View Data Hub

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

Ottawa County Case Rates

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As of January 13, 443 new cases of COVID-19 were reported each day on average over the last 7 days, up from the 346 daily reported cases over the previous 7-day period. Case counts, incidence rates and test positivity are currently at a pandemic high. 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

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Coverage: 66.0% of all Ottawa County residents aged 5 years or older have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as of January 13, 2022. More vaccine data from MDHHS can be found here

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Michigan Vaccination Rates

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Coverage: 63.7% of all Michigan residents aged 5 years or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as of January 13, 2022. 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 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.
  • Boosters are now recommended for anyone 12 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.
VWM January 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.