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Tag Archive | "Kent County Health Department"

KCHD urges caution as bat and human interactions increase in August 


This bat was captured on August 17, 2017 in Kent County.

This bat was captured on August 17, 2017 in Kent County.

In the past several days the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) has started to receive reports from people who have had contact with bats indoors. While these types of encounters are not uncommon in August, any direct contact with a bat represents a potential exposure to rabies.

It is critically important to capture the bat for testing if there is reason to believe a person may have been bitten or scratched by a bat. Do not release a bat if you find it in the room of a sleeping person, an unattended child, someone who is mentally impaired or an intoxicated individual as they may have been bitten without their knowledge.

A captured bat in Kent County will be sent to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for testing. If the bat tests negative for rabies, then no treatment is required. However, if a bat tests positive, or if the bat is not available for testing then the exposed person should receive the post-exposure prophylaxis for rabies.

To safely capture a bat, experts recommend that you wear leather gloves to avoid being bit. Place a box or a coffee can over the bat and then slide a piece of cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside. Secure it with a piece of tape and contact the Kent County Health Department at 616-632-7200 during regular business hours. If you know that you have been bitten or scratched by the bat and the exposure has occurred outside of normal business hours, seek medical attention but keep the bat.

While relatively rare in the United States, human cases of rabies are almost always associated with bats.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system and is invariably fatal once symptoms appear.

“Bat encounters rise every year during late August and early September,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer at KCHD. “We can’t stress enough how important it is to be able to perform tests on these animals. Unless you are certain that no one has been bitten by a bat you find in your home, please do not let it go.”

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West Nile Virus Found in Kent County 


 

As a result of a massive mosquito surveillance project conducted by the environmental health division at the Kent County Health Department (KCHD), this season’s first positive specimen of West Nile Virus (WNV) has been discovered. THIS IS NOT A HUMAN CASE.

The positive sample was found in a pool of tested mosquitoes from the ZIP code 49507 in the city of Grand Rapids. The sample that yielded the positive result was collected between Tuesday, August 8 and Thursday, August 10, 2017.

The Kent County Health Department has been capturing and testing mosquitoes in 11 traps strategically placed throughout the county since early June. The traps, known as a Gravid trap, were placed in the 49503, 49504, 49507 and 49519 zip codes. There are also 4 traps set in the county that are designed to attract Aedes Egypti and Aedes Albopictus mosquitos, two species known to carry the Zika virus. So far, KCHD has not found a specimen of either species. The project will continue until Labor Day.

“The fact that we have found West Nile in only one area does not mean that it is confined to that ZIP code,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer with KCHD. “We expect West Nile to be present to some degree until the first frost. We want people to be aware that they can greatly reduce their own risks by taking some simple precautions. This finding is significant because this is our first alert to the presence of West Nile as it begins to surface at this time of the year.”

Prevention is critical in the fight against WNV an illness that can be deadly in some people, especially those with weakened immune systems and the elderly. The Kent County Health Department recommends wearing a mosquito repellant that contains 10-35 percent DEET, wearing light colored clothing and staying indoors during dusk. You can help stop mosquitoes from breeding by removing any standing water in your yard and keeping your lawn and shrubs cut.

West Nile Virus was first detected in the United States in 1999. Since the first case was diagnosed in Michigan in 2001 more than 1100 people have been diagnosed with the disease. 92 people have died. In 2001 and again in 2012, Kent County had the second highest number of West Nile cases in the state. More about West Nile Virus can be found at www.michigan.gov/westnile.

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Two new businesses hold grand openings


 

Ryanne Donahue State Farm held their ribbon cutting on July 15.
Photo courtesy of the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

State Farm

Ryanne Donahue State Farm Agency, located at 60 N. Main Street, held their grand opening and ribbon cutting on July 15. Donahue believes in the “good old days” approach to business. “In the world of 15-minute insurance quotes, we want to take the time to get to know the people we serve,” Donahue told the Post earlier this summer. “We try to always remember that people need their insurance agent most when something bad or scary has happened, we don’t want to be a stranger in those times; we want to be a trusted friend.”

Ryanne and her employees are all local residents from Cedar Springs, to Kent City, to Sand Lake. “We know the community and have the same worries, goals, dreams, and fears as our clients. We offer a wide range of services to help cover every day risks, all backed by State Farm!” she said.

They are open from 8 am to 5 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and 9 am to 6 pm on Tuesday and Thursday. You can check them out at ryannedonahueinsurance.com or give them a call at 616-696-1329.

My Community Dental Center

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) and My Community Dental Centers (MCDC) partnered to open a new dental facility at 14111 White Creek Avenue in Cedar Springs earlier this summer. They held their grand opening on July 20, with a ribbon cutting.

According to the Kent County Health Department, gaining access to dental care is an issue for nearly 72 million children and adults who rely on Medicaid or other public insurance. The issue disproportionately affects seniors, minorities, people who are economically disadvantaged and those who live in rural locations.

The Cedar Springs location is the second MCDC location in Kent County. In 2014, MCDC opened a dental center at the KCHD South Clinic in Kentwood. More than 15,000 patients have made nearly 32,000 visits since. “Many of those patients tell us that they are from northern Kent County and have been forced to travel to find affordable dental care,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer at KCHD. “Studies have found that people often list income and transportation barriers as factors that inhibit their ability to see a dentist. This new MCDC facility in Cedar Springs will help address both of those issues for many people.”

“When dental health is ignored or neglected a person’s overall health suffers” says Dr. Zachary Brian DMD, MCDC, Cedar Springs. “With the pain comes societal costs. People tell us that their job opportunities have been limited and many times they have gone to emergency rooms when the pain has become too intense. Emergency rooms are unable to do anything for the underlying causes but carry a high price tag for individuals and taxpayers through increased healthcare costs.”

My Community Dental Center provides an array of services, and can provide care to the entire community. They are accepting new patients, and accept most insurance, including Medicaid, HMP, Delta Kids, and most private insurance.

“Our mission is to improve the lives of our patients and enhance community health by setting the highest standard of oral care,” send a MCDC spokesperson.

The center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To register as a new patient, call 877.313.6232 or visit mydental.org and fill out a form.

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Hearing and Vision Screening


 

Kindergarten entrants for the 2017-2018 school year will need documentation of Hearing and Vision Screening through the Kent County Health Department (KCHD).   The KCHD will be at Cedar Trails Elementary on the following dates:

June 1, 2017      August 23, 2017

Please call Cedar Trails Elementary at 616.696.9884 or the Registrar’s Office at 616.696.7317 to schedule an appointment.  Additional appointment times can be scheduled by calling the KCHD at 616.632.7047

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New dental center coming to Cedar Springs


 

There will soon be another option for area residents looking for affordable dental care.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners recently approved the expansion of a partnership with My Community Dental Centers (MCDC) that will include the addition of a new center in the strip mall at 14111 White Creek, just north of 17 Mile Road.

MCDC opened a state of the art dental center at the Kent County Health Department’s South Clinic in September of 2014. More than 8,500 patients have made nearly 27,000 visits since. Many of them are residents of northern Kent County who were forced to travel to find affordable oral health care.

“Partnering with MCDC at South Clinic has provided thousands of uninsured and Medicaid clients with much-needed dental care since opening in 2014,” said Jim Saalfeld, Chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners. “The County Board, Administrator’s Office and Health Department staff have been dedicated to finding solutions to this critical issue. We are glad that this partnership continues to grow, and will soon provide our residents in rural northern Kent County with a closer, more convenient location.”

“Studies have found that people with low incomes are more than twice as likely forgo dental care because of cost,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer at the Kent County Health Department. “This center will make quality dental care affordable and more accessible for many families.”

The new six chair dental center is slated for opening in early summer.

MCDC is already accepting patients for the Cedar Springs center. People can call 877-313-6232 and get pre-registered for scheduling.

“We are here to serve everyone,” said Kim Singh, Director of Community and Governmental Affairs with MCDC. “We encourage anyone in Kent County who does not have a dental office that they call home to contact us.”

 

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Hearing and Vision Screening


 

Kindergarten entrants for the 2017-2018 school year will need documentation of Hearing and Vision Screening through the Kent County Health Department (KCHD). The KCHD will be at Cedar Trails Elementary on the following date:  April 14, 2017. Additional dates to be added

Please call Cedar Trails Elementary at 616.696.9884 to schedule an appointment. Additional appointment times can be scheduled by calling the KCHD at 616.632.7047

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Free Radon test kits for residents


n-radon-kit

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is teaming up with the Grand Rapids Griffins to stop a silent killer—lung cancer caused by radon gas. This Friday, January 6, 2017, at Van Andel Arena when the Griffins take on the Charlotte Checkers at 7:00 p.m., KCHD staff will be there armed with thousands of radon test kits. They will be situated in the upper concourse near section 128, and will give the kits away while supplies last.

For those not attending the Griffins game, KCHD is offering free radon test kits to Kent County residents at all three of its locations until the supply runs out.

Colorless and odorless, radon gas kills more Americans annually than drunk driving and drowning combined according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says more than 20 thousand deaths are caused by radon each year making it the nation’s second leading cause of lung cancer next to smoking.

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) recommends that all homes should be tested for radon every few years.

Testing is the only way to know if radon is present in your home.

“Testing for radon is an easy and important step in protecting the health of your family,” says Sara Simmonds, Supervising Sanitarian with the Kent County Health Department. “The kit is easy to use. Simply hang a filter inside your house for a few days, then send it in a self-addressed, pre-stamped envelope for testing.”

People using the kits will receive their results via email once the kit is received and tested. Residents can use the information when deciding on how best to pursue remediation. For help understanding the test results, please contact the KCHD Environmental Health Division at 616-632-6900.

Radon occurs naturally in the ground. It seeps into buildings through cracks or openings in foundations or floors. It occurs in both new and old homes. Radon has been found in houses built over a basement, over a crawlspace or built on slab-on-grade. The EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey have developed a map of risk zones for the United States. You can view the risk maps by clicking here. Kent County is typically categorized as having moderate to high levels of radon.

The kits are available Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the:

Kent County Health Department, 700 Fuller Avenue NE, Grand Rapids.

KCHD North County Clinic at 4388 14 Mile Road NE, Rockford.

KCHD South Clinic at 4700 Kalamazoo SE, Kentwood.

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Health Department warns of potential scam


 

Scam targeting restaurants

On Monday November 28, 2016 the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) was contacted by a local restaurant who said they had received a phone call from a person claiming to be a representative of KCHD. The caller told an employee that the restaurant would have to pay a $5 “rescheduling fee” for an inspection. The caller insisted that the fee be paid immediately by credit card. This call did not come from a KCHD employee.

The Kent County Health Department does not charge a “rescheduling fee” and KCHD inspectors do not demand immediate credit card only payments for any fees.

The Kent County Health Department is urging restaurant owners and employees to be cautious.

“Our concern is that a restaurant owner or an employee could easily be caught off guard especially since this is a very busy time of the year for them,” said Adam London, Kent County Administrative Health Officer. “A five dollar charge might seem so insignificant to someone that they simply agree to pay it. It is very possible though, that whoever is making these calls has larger plans for your credit card such as selling your information or running up huge bills on your account.”

If you are contacted by someone who claims to represent the Kent County Health Department and they are asking for money over the phone, please request a call back number and contact the Kent County Health Department immediately at 616-632-6900.

KCHD also urges anyone who believes that they have been a victim of this scam to contact the Kent County Sheriff’s Department at 616-632-6100.

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Two food service facilities impacted by nationwide strawberry recall 


 

Recently, the Kent County Health Department was alerted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services regarding an ongoing recall of frozen strawberries sold to certain commercial food service establishments. These strawberries are believed to be connected to a Hepatitis A outbreak nationwide. Because these strawberries may have been consumed over the past few months, there are two very important concerns for Health Department staff: the risk of people becoming ill with Hepatitis A, and vaccinating those who may have been exposed before they become ill. Treatment is available for those exposed in the past 14 days. In Kent County, two facilities have served strawberries from the suspected lots in the last two weeks: Romano’s Macaroni Grill, 5525 28th Street, Grand Rapids, MI 49512 (near I-96) and HCR ManorCare Grand Rapids, 2320 E Beltline SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

“If you have eaten an item containing strawberries at Macaroni Grill or HRC ManorCare on the Beltline in the last 14 days, you should receive either the Hepatitis A vaccination as soon as possible to try to prevent the illness,” said Adam London, Kent County Health Department Administrative Health Officer. “The immunization is only effective up to 14 days after exposure, so it is important to contact your health care provider while you are in the 14 day window. If it has been longer than 14 days, you should be aware of the symptoms of Hepatitis A and if you become ill, contact your health care provider.”

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection that can be spread by eating contaminated food. “If someone has the virus, it is possible for them to transmit the illness to others, especially through food preparation,” London added. “As with many viral illnesses, personal hygiene and good handwashing can help prevent the illness from spreading.” Symptoms include:

. Jaundice (a yellowing of the skin or eyes)

. Dark urine

. Fever

. Fatigue

. Loss of appetite

. Nausea

. Vomiting

. Abdominal pain

. Clay-colored bowel movements

The Health Department urges individuals who need vaccination to do so as soon as possible. This chart explains the timeline for those who may have been exposed to receive vaccination:

If you ate strawberries at Macaroni Grill October 21-26, the window to get the vaccination has closed. If you ate them Thursday, October 27, then Thursday, November 10 is the last day you can receive the vaccination; and if you ate them on Friday, October 28, then Friday, November 11 is the last day you can receive the vaccination.

If you ate strawberries at HCR on October 24, the window to get the vaccination is closed. They did not serve them the other dates.

In case you have been traveling within Michigan, there is a complete list of restaurants statewide that may have served the recalled frozen strawberries in recent weeks at www.michigan.gov/documents/mdard/Hep_A_List_of_Known_and_Possible_Locations_11042016_1310_540528_7.pdf.

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Human cases of West Nile Virus confirmed in Kent County


 

Two people in Kent County have tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

According to the Kent County Health Department, the two people who have tested positive are unrelated adults who are residents of Kent County. It is unknown where they contracted the disease.

West Nile Virus (WNV) is spread to people primarily through the bites of an infected Culex species mosquito. While this species is known to transmit WNV it is not known to transmit Zika virus.

WNV is not contagious from person to person. Its symptoms range from a slight headache and low grade fever to, in rare cases, swelling of the brain tissue. But it can result in death.

For three months, ending on Labor Day, the Kent County Health Department conducted weekly surveillance of Culex mosquitoes, testing for the presence of WNV. Tens of thousands of mosquitoes were collected from various areas of the county. Testing was performed on the liquefied remains of up to 50 mosquitoes at a time, and West Nile Virus was found in 20 of those samples.

“We have known through our testing that the threat for contracting West Nile Virus was in our community,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer at KCHD. “We also know that the threat will continue as long as mosquitoes are active. Even the first frost may not be harsh enough to extinguish the risk.”

West Nile Virus was first detected in the United States in 1999. Since the first case was diagnosed in Michigan in 2001, more than 1,100 people have been diagnosed with the disease and 92 people have died. In 2001 and again in 2012, Kent County had the second highest number of West Nile cases in the state.

The best treatment for WNV is prevention. The Kent County Health Department recommends wearing a mosquito repellant that contains 10–35 percent DEET, wearing light colored clothing and staying indoors during dusk. You can help stop mosquitoes from breeding by removing any standing water in your yard and keeping your lawn and shrubs cut.

More about West Nile Virus can be found at www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html.

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