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Tag Archive | "COVID-19"

Records services at Kent County Sheriff’s Office by appointment only


From the Kent County Sheriff’s Office

In an effort to reduce opportunities for community spread of COVID-19, we are limiting the number of services we will be providing at our main office. The north and south sub station offices will be closed until further notice. Effective 1:00 p.m. March 16 ALL services performed by our records division located at 701 Ball Ave NE will be by appointment only. You must call 616-632-6200 to speak to a records clerk prior to coming in. Additionally, until further notice, we will not be performing gun registrations or any fingerprinting services.

If you need police response, call 911 for emergencies or 616-632-6357 to speak to a dispatcher about a non-emergency response.

Thank you all so much for your understanding as we navigate this outbreak together.

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No visitors allowed at healthcare facilities


Spectrum Health also cancels non-urgent patient appointments surgeries and procedures

Mercy Health, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health and Spectrum Health have revised their visitor policies to align with a new executive order from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The additional restrictions are intended to prevent the spread of illness and protect patients, health care workers and our communities.

Starting Monday, March 16, restricted/no visitors will be allowed at any locations (hospitals, outpatient locations and long-term care facilities) for all local health care systems. For special circumstances, one approved visitor will be allowed in situations involving patients undergoing surgery and pediatric, maternity, end of life or critically ill patients. 

More information about visitor restrictions at local hospitals can be found here:

Mercy Health: 

https://www.mercyhealth.com/about-us/news-and-media/visitor-restrictions

Metro Health-Michigan Medicine Health: 

Spectrum Health: 

Also, In a continued effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, effective Tuesday, March 17, Spectrum Health is canceling all appointments, surgeries and procedures that are not urgent or emergency-related for the next two weeks. 

“We believe this is the right step to protect our patients, team members and communities,” said Darryl Elmouchi, Chief Medical Officer, Spectrum Health System and President, Spectrum Health Medical Group. “We appreciate the understanding of our communities as we navigate this unprecedented situation and strive to do what is right. We will continue to evaluate this on a weekly basis and will extend these closures as needed.”

Patients with scheduled non-urgent appointments, procedures or surgeries during this time will be contacted by their provider(s) regarding next steps. If you have questions, please call your physician’s office.

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Price gouging and COVID-19


Gov. Whitmer issued an executive order this week to specifically address price-gouging related to COVID-19. That order states the following:

No one who has acquired any product from a retailer shall resell that product in this state at a price that is grossly in excess of the purchase price at which they bought the product;

No one shall offer for sale or sell any product in this state at a price that is more than 20 percent higher than what the person offered or charged for that product as of March 9, 2020 unless the person demonstrates that the price increase is attributable to an increase in the cost of bringing the product to market;

Person means an individual, business or other legal entity;

Product means any good, material, emergency supply or consumer food item;

These restrictions went into effect at 9 a.m. Monday and remain in place until 11:59 p.m. April 13, 2020.

“We take this order seriously, as we do everything related to protecting Michigan consumers,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “And we have seen a dramatic increase in complaints related to price-gouging and we have taken action on those complaints. Businesses cannot and will not use this state of emergency as an economic opportunity.”

Nessel’s office had received 572 price-gouging complaints as of 11 p.m. Tuesday. Several businesses have been contacted by the Attorney General’s office to gather more information on their consumer-reported price-gouging.

Face masks, hand sanitizers, cleaning supplies, bottled water and other food items are some of the products that have reportedly been on store shelves for exceptionally high prices, likely in violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act. Other products consumers might seek to purchase due to the threat of COVID-19 may also be at risk of price-gouging practices.

In addition to this Executive Order, retailers may violate the Michigan Consumer Protection Act if they are:

Charging the consumer a price that is grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold; and

Causing coercion and duress as the result of the time and nature of a sales presentation.

Michigan residents are urged to report any violation of the Consumer Protection Act online or by calling 877-765-8388.

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Governor expands unemployment benefits for Michigan workers


LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-10 this week to temporarily expand eligibility for unemployment benefits. This executive order is effective immediately and until Tuesday, April 14 at 11:59pm.

Under the governors order, unemployment benefits would be extended to:

  • Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have childcare responsibilities due to school closures, or those who are forced to care for loved ones who become ill. 
  • Workers who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off. 
  • First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19. 

“While we work together to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, we must do everything we can to help working families”, said Governor Whitmer. “This executive order will provide immediate relief to those who can’t go to work, and who rely on their paycheck to put food on the table for themselves and their families. I urge everyone to make smart choices at this time, and to do everything in their power to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”

“We know that many families are and will experience economic pain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jeff Donofrio, Director of the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. “Our expansion of unemployment and workers compensation benefits is designed to help provide emergency support to Michigans working families.”

The State is also seeking solutions for self-employed workers and independent contractors who traditionally do not have access to unemployment insurance.

Access to benefits for unemployed workers will also be extended:

  • Benefits will be increased from 20 to 26 weeks. 
  • The application eligibility period will be increased from 14 to 28 days 
  • The normal in-person registration and work search requirements will be suspended.  

Eligible employees should apply for unemployment benefits online at Michigan.gov/UIA   https://www.michigan.gov/leo/0,5863,7-336-78421_97241—,00.html ]or 1-866-500-0017. A factsheet on how to apply for benefits can be found here: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/uia/160_-_Claiming_UI_Benefit_In_Michigan_-_Jan2014_444213_7.pdf ]. 

Under the order, an employer or employing unit must not be charged for unemployment benefits if their employees become unemployed because of an executive order requiring them to close or limit operations. 

The order also expands the States Work Share program. Employers are encouraged to implement the program that permits employers to maintain operational productivity during declines in regular business activity instead of laying off workers. More information about Work Share can be found here: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/uia/156_-_Shared_work_fact_sheet_letter_426209_7.pdf.

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Corona virus in Michigan: where we stand as of Monday, March 16


Things changed fast and furiously in Michigan from Friday, March 13 to Monday, March 16.

We went from 12 cases of confirmed COVID-19 to 53. Three of those cases are in Kent County.

On Friday, Governor Whitmer announced the closing of all Michigan schools for three weeks, from March 16 to April 5. Some districts then have spring break, bringing it to a total of four weeks.

The Kent County Health Department issued an emergency order on Sunday, March 15, 2020, reducing occupancy loads – or limits – for all licensed food service establishments, entertainment venues and physical fitness centers in Kent County by 50 percent, which went into effect Monday at 10 a.m.

On Monday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an order due to take effect at 3 p.m. temporarily shutting down restaurants, cafes, coffee houses, bars, taverns, brewpubs, distilleries, clubs, movie theaters, indoor and outdoor performance venues, gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, spas, and casinos. This order does not restrict a place of business from offering food and beverage using delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service. Restaurants may allow five people inside at a time to pick-up orders, so long as they stay six feet apart from each other. This order remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. on March 30, 2020.

Many restaurants are planning to offer take out or delivery. Contact them or visit their Facebook page to see what options they are offering.

The Governor also offered relief to those forced not to work during this time by signing an order for expanded unemployment benefits. Those benefitting include: workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have childcare responsibilities due to school closures, or those who are forced to care for loved ones who become ill; workers who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off; first responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.

The Governor’s March 10 executive order prohibiting assemblages of more than 250 people still stands.

Also, the CDC issued new guidelines Sunday night advising against gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks. “We support the CDC in this recommendation, and we encourage individuals to minimize the size of public gatherings,” said Dr. Adam London, Chief Health Officer with the Kent County Health Department.

Many businesses and municipalities are closing to the general public or restricting their available hours. The City of Cedar Springs is closing to the general public as of Tuesday, but can still be reached by phone and email. Face to face meetings will be by appointment only.

The Post is also closed to the general public but can be reached by phone and email. We also have a mailbox outside our front door for submissions.

We suggest you contact any business before visiting to see whether they have open business hours.

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Governor prohibits large gatherings


Governor orders that events and shared-space assemblages over 250 people be canceled or postponed

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-5 to cancel all events over 250 people and all assemblages in shared spaces over 250 people beginning on Friday, March 13 at 5:00 p.m. and ending on Sunday, April 5 at 5:00 p.m. The governors executive order also closes all K-12 school buildings to students from Monday, March 16 until Sunday, April 5. Childcare facilities will remain open during this time, whether they are attached to schools or free standing.

Under this executive order, all events and shared-space assemblages of more than 250 people are temporarily prohibited in the state. Certain assemblages are exempt from this prohibition, such as those for the purpose of: industrial or manufacturing work, mass transit, or the purchase of groceries or consumer goods.

“This is about protecting the most people we can from the spread of coronavirus”, said Governor Whitmer. “My administration will continue to do everything we can to mitigate the spread, and to ensure our children, families, and businesses have the support they need during this time. We are going to get through this, but we must be flexible and take care of each other.”

“Prohibiting large assemblages is the smart thing to do to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “It’s crucial that everyone in Michigan follow these orders and make smart choices that will slow the spread of the virus, including practicing good hygiene and social distancing. We will continue to work with the governor and our partners across state government to protect Michigan families and businesses.”

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  * Fever

  * Cough

  * Shortness of breath

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:

  * If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.

  * Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer. 

  * Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 

  * Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing. 

  * Avoid contact with people who are sick. 

  * If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.

  * Replace handshakes with elbow bumps.

  * Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/ and CDC.gov/Coronavirus https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

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Michigan announces first cases of COVID-19


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Michigan. Courtesy photo.

Governor Whitmer declares a state of emergency to maximize efforts to slow the spread; WHO declares it a pandemic; Michigan to get more aid from CDC

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Oakland County Health Division and Wayne County Health Department announced Tuesday that two Michigan residents tested presumptive positive for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the first confirmed cases in the state. The governor has declared a state of emergency to maximize efforts and assist local governments and officials to slow the spread of the virus.

“We are taking every step we can to mitigate the spread of the virus and keep Michiganders safe,” said Governor Whitmer. “I have declared a state of emergency to harness all of our resources across state government to slow the spread of the virus and protect families. It’s crucial that all Michiganders continue to take preventative measures to lower their risk, and to share this information with their friends, family, and co-workers.”

One of the cases is an adult female from Oakland County with recent international travel and the other is an adult male from Wayne County with recent domestic travel. Clinical specimens were collected and sent to the MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories where both tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. Specimens will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmatory testing.

“We are taking the identification of COVID-19 in our state very seriously,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We continue to urge Michiganders to take precautions to prevent the spread of this virus in our state.”

“This patient in Wayne County is currently under isolation. Our Public Health Division is working to identify individuals who may have come into close contact with the patient so we can take appropriate steps and monitor them closely,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “We are continuing to collaborate with the state health department and recommend residents continue to practice prevention measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

“Oakland County and our Health Division will investigate the circumstances around this case so we understand if there are any potential close contacts,” said Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter. “We must all as individuals and communities continue our prevention and preparedness strategies as we hope for a full recovery for this member of the community.”

Local health departments will be working diligently to identify anyone who has come in close contact with these cases and recommend they be assessed for symptoms and monitored appropriately.

There are steps residents can take to prevent spread of flu and the common cold that will also help prevent coronavirus disease, including:

Washing your hands with soap and water.

Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.

Avoiding contact with people who are sick.

Staying home if you are sick and contact your healthcare provider.

There is also a list of other things you can do to limit the spread of the virus on our website at www.cedarspringspost.com. Examples include disinfecting your phone, keyboard and doorknobs; shopping online; and working from home.

COVID-19 Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. They include:

  •  Fever
  •  Cough
  •  Shortness of Breath

Updates will be posted to Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Meanwhile the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is awarding $560 million to state and local jurisdictions to support the COVID-19 response efforts. Michigan is reportedly getting another $14,567,049.90.

“State and local health departments are on the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, and we are deeply grateful for their work,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “CDC is distributing this new funding extremely rapidly, as called for by Congress. President Trump, and his entire administration will continue working to ensure state and local jurisdictions have the resources they need to keep Americans safe and healthy.”

“Our state, local, tribal and territorial public health partners are on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. The action we are taking today will continue to support their efforts to increase public health capacity where it’s needed most,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “These funds will allow public health leaders to implement critical steps necessary to contain and mitigate spread of the virus in communities across the country.”

On Friday, March 6, the President signed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020. The supplemental contains $8.3 billion government-wide, with resources directed for grants or cooperative agreements to states, localities, territories, and tribes to accelerate planning and operational readiness for COVID-19 preparedness and response, as well as develop tools and strategies, provide technical assistance and program support, as well as ensure ongoing communication and coordination among public health agencies and partners throughout the response.

Today, CDC is contacting State Health Officers to move forward with awarding over $560 million to states, localities, territories, and tribes. CDC will use existing networks to reach out to state and local jurisdictions to access this initial funding.

In other COVID-19 news, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially named the virus a pandemic.

According to Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled in the last two weeks. “There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives. Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals,” he said in a televised announcement.

“In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.”

He added that WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and they are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.

“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” he announced. He also said it does not change anything WHO is doing because they have been in full response mode since the beginning.

He noted that of the 118,000 cases reported globally in 114 countries, more than 90 percent of cases are in just four countries; and two of those—China and the Republic of Korea—have declining epidemics. 

81 countries have not reported any cases, and 57 countries have reported 10 cases or less. 

“We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this pandemic,” said Dr. Tedros. 

“If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission.

Even those countries with community transmission or large clusters can turn the tide on this virus. 

“Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled. The challenge for many countries who are now dealing with large clusters or community transmission is not whether they can do the same—it’s whether they will… All countries must strike a fine balance between protecting health, minimizing economic and social disruption, and respecting human rights.”

For more of his remarks visit https://www.who.int.

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Hospitals work together to prepare for COVID-19


All three implement healthy visitor restrictions


Each organization stresses that staying home when you are sick and washing your hands often are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the flu and other communicable diseases. They also encourage everyone to cover their cough, clean frequently touched surfaces often with a sanitizing wipe or cleanser and avoid close contact with people who are sick. People should also avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth and should stay home from work, school or social gatherings when they are sick.

Grand Rapids and Wyoming, Mich., Date – Officials from the Kent County Health Department, Mercy Health, Metro Health–University of Michigan and Spectrum Health are in contact with each other, as well as state and federal agencies, to coordinate preparedness efforts for COVID-19 in West Michigan.

All three area health systems, as well as the health department, are also encouraging community members and employees to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene at all times.

The three health systems have implemented healthy visitor restrictions, which encourage community members to stay home when they are sick and wait until they are healthy to visit.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may be mild or severe and include:

• Fever

• Cough

• Shortness of breath

If you are experiencing symptoms, officials recommend that you call your health care provider and advise them if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or you have recently traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.

Officials, including the CDC, also recommend using remote tools for an initial medical consultation because you can use them without leaving your home and potentially exposing other community members. Metro Health–University of Michigan Hospital offers e-visits through its MyChart patient portal. Spectrum Health offers telehealth services statewide through its Spectrum Health Now app, which is available for free in the Apple app store or Google Play Store.

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