Weekly Ottawa County COVID-19 Update - January 21, 2022

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January 21, 2022

Resources Available Online  |  miOttawa.org/COVID19

PH updates

Boosters Make a Difference

Pediatric hospitalizations at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital are at their highest level since the start of the pandemic. Test positivity is also at the highest level we've seen throughout the pandemic, as the Omicron variant continues to cause widespread infection. Although infection with the Omicron variant may be milder for some people than infection with previous variants, many people are still becoming severely ill, some are requiring hospitalization, and deaths from both the Delta surge and the Omicron surge are continuing.

Vaccinations are continuing to provide protection, but booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine increase that protection, particularly for people with waning immunity or those who are  older. Vaccinated and boosted individuals have a lower rate of hospitalization or death than others.

One Ottawa County teen recently received his booster an OCDPH clinic. 

"I got my first doses and my booster as soon as I could - as soon as I was eligible - because I read a lot about the vaccine and talked to people from our health department so I felt comfortable that it was safe. So many people have gotten the vaccine before me and it proves that the vaccine really works. It's the right thing to do. I think parents should let teenagers like me be part of the decision. My parents asked me what I wanted. I have recommended the vaccine to my friends and most of my friends are vaccinated now."

Appointments are available for first and second doses for kids and adults, as well as booster doses for anyone who is eligible, at upcoming clinics. See the QR codes below or visit vaccinatewestmi.com/clinics/ to register for an appointment.

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CDC Updates Mask Recommendations 

On January 14, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance for masks to encourage the use of N95 and KN95 respirators. Due to the current COVID-19 surge from the Omicron variant, the CDC is recommending something more protective than a cloth or surgical mask to prevent transmission and infection from the more contagious variant. 

We continue to learn about how the coronavirus spreads through droplets in air shared between people. Cloth masks may not be effective at preventing the larger load of particles from entering your nose and mouth. N95 and KN95 respirators fit more snugly, are durable, and are better at preventing air (which may contain virus particles) from leaking out around the edges. If you do not have access to a high filtration respirator, consider a 3-ply surgical mask, or consider pairing a disposable mask with a cloth mask.

It is acceptable to reuse your N95 or KN95 respirator, depending on the circumstances where you use it. You can contain your used respirator in a brown paper bag for at least five days in between uses, which should be enough time for the virus to become inactive. If you have used your respirator in a situation with high exposure, such as around a COVID-19 infected person, it is best to throw your respirator away. More information on how to safely store and reuse your respirator can be found here



How Should Information in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) Be Used?

Throughout the pandemic, many people have referenced the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) for information and data on vaccine safety. We'd like to highlight what the VAERS system is, and how the data collected there can, and should be, used.

VAERS is the nation's surveillance and early warning system which monitors the safety of vaccines after they are authorized or licensed for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is only one part of a larger vaccine safety system in the United States. The system is co-managed by CDC and FDA. 

VAERS is a passive reporting platform, which relies on individual reporting of any health related issues after vaccination, also called "adverse events". An adverse event is a health problem that happens after vaccination that may or may not be caused by a vaccine. Anyone can report an adverse event to VAERS, including the individual experiencing the event, a parent, a health care provider, a vaccine manufacturer or the general public. Because of that, the same adverse event could be reported to VAERS multiple times.

Once an adverse event is reported, CDC and FDA scientists look for patterns. If scientists see an unusually high number of certain adverse events reported, focused studies in other systems are done to determine if the adverse event is a side effect of the vaccine. These investigations include the review of things like the patient's medical history, past adverse reactions and any other health related issues that may be present at the time of vaccination. A report to VAERS does not mean that a vaccine caused an adverse event; however, VAERS can give CDC and FDA important information. If it appears that a vaccine might be causing a problem, CDC and FDA will investigate further and take action, if needed.

In its limited scope as a reporting platform, the VAERS system cannot, and should not, be used to make conclusions about vaccine safety. VAERS data alone cannot determine if a vaccine caused the reported adverse event.

The VAERS system is open and data collected can be viewed by anyone, but use caution in trying to find causal relationships using the information found in VAERS alone.

Although other websites claim to report VAERS data, the only official VAERS website can be found at www.vaers.hhs.gov.

Myths and Facts

Myth: At-home rapid tests have a pre-determined result and are unreliable because different liquids can turn them positive. 

The New York Times recently reported an increase in misinformation about the reliability of at-home COVID-19 test kits, likely due to increased spread of the Omicron variant.

When used correctly, at-home COVID-19 tests are an important and reliable tool in reducing the number of cases of the disease, as well as offering the opportunity for those who test positive to seek treatment from a health care provider during the early stages of infection.

Consider at-home testing if you believe you have been exposed to or have symptoms of COVID-19. It is possible to receive a false negative test result (which means the test result is negative even if you actually have the virus) if you test too early in the course of your infection. At-home test kits most often contain two tests so that you can test yourself twice, usually 24 or more hours apart. If you test positive, you should assume you have been infected with COVID-19, isolate from others and contact your health care provider for information on what you should do next. Please notify OCDPH about the positive test by filling out the form located here

Finally, the federal government is providing four free at-home tests to each household. If you haven't already, order your tests at covidtests.gov.


At home tests

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 20, 538 new cases of COVID-19 were reported each day on average over the last 7 days, up from the 492 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: 66.4% of all Ottawa County residents aged 5 years or older have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as of January 20, 2022. More vaccine data from MDHHS can be found here

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Michigan Vaccination Rates

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Coverage: 64.1% of all Michigan residents aged 5 years or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as of January 20, 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

Car 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.