On Friday, November 20th, the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) has issued a warning to all residents to begin following heightened safety guidelines because of the recent COVID-19 outbreaks in the county.

Kent County is now facing its highest amount of daily new cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.  The county is facing a 15% positivity rate from testing and is averaging almost 700 new cases and 6 new deaths each day.

Because of the high rates of infection, the KCHD has released updated guidelines in an attempt to reduce local transmission of the virus and to help protect Kent County's most vulnerable citizens.  KCHD also made note that because of the high number of positive cases, it is becoming more difficult to contact trace.  So, if you know you came in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, you should quarantine.  And if you have tested positive for COVID-19, consider contacting people you have been in contact with so they can quarantine.

Here are some important excerpts from the public health warning issued by KCHD:

"The KCHD continues to strongly urge everyone to wear a facial covering in public places, practice social distancing, and exercise good hygiene. In addition to complying with the public health orders issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the KCHD is now making stronger recommendations to curb community-wide transmission.

1. Any person sick with the symptoms broadly associated with COVID-19 should immediately isolate themselves from others as much as possible. [Read More]

2. People over the age of 65 and those with underlying health conditions need to be extra cautious and should avoid or at least minimize time in public places and gatherings.  [Read More]

3. Businesses are essential for the wellbeing of the community. While indoor spaces present increased risk for coronavirus transmission, businesses strictly adhering to the guidance  located at https://www.kentcountybacktowork.com have demonstrated the ability to maintain lower risk environments.  [Read More]

4. The education of our young people is also essential for the wellbeing of the community. The information we have currently indicates that younger students are less effective transmitters of coronavirus than high school students.  [Read More]

5. Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to prevent children from gathering in groups during evenings, weekends, holidays, or during periods of remote education. The benefit achieved by these periods of separation will be eliminated if people continue to gather outside of the school setting.  [Read More]

6. Houses of worship and faith communities are also essential to the wellbeing of our community and provide tremendous support for the holistic needs of their members. We respect and are mindful of the importance of the separation of church and state; however, given the urgency of the situation, we strongly encourage all area houses of worship to discontinue large gatherings such as in-person worship services, weddings and meetings of more than five individuals.  [Read More]

7. Sports and recreational activities not covered by the current MDHHS order and requiring physical contact and/or regular close proximity (within six (6) feet) are high risk activities and are not recommended."  [Read More]