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Tag Archive | "Kent County"

Flu illness on rise in Kent County 


N-Flu

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is seeing more cases of suspected flu reported from area emergency departments and health care providers, in comparison to what is typical this time of year. More than 10 percent of people visiting emergency departments in Kent County last week were suffering from flu-like illness, and 6 out of ten patients presenting with flu-like illness were under the age of 18. So far this season, there have been 74 confirmed cases of flu reported to KCHD, but not every person who is sick with influenza goes to a health care provider or gets tested, so the actual number of illnesses is likely much higher.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and in some cases, it can be deadly.

Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). Not everyone with flu will experience all of the symptoms.

The flu can have serious complications for children under the age of five, the elderly, and people with already-weakened immune systems. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age to protect against flu viruses. “We know there has been some mutation in the flu virus that was expected for this year when the influenza vaccine was produced,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “But the flu vaccine is still very useful and the best protection you can get against influenza. Even in those cases where people get the flu, the illness is not as severe as it is in those unvaccinated.”

Now is the time to get you and your family vaccinated. It can take about two weeks for the vaccination to become effective. The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. The cost of the vaccine ranges from $39-$55; FluMist nasal spray (a live, preservative-free, four strain vaccine) is available for $41.

Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare; private insurance is not accepted. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted. To make an appointment at any of our four clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200.

You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com.

 

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Traveler in Kent County being monitored for Ebola


N-Kent-County-logoThe Kent County Health Department said today that they are monitoring a traveler who visited a country where an Ebola outbreak has been declared. They said the individual did not provide care for or have contact with anyone who has Ebola, and has a very low risk for Ebola infection by CDC standards. The person is not exhibiting any signs of illness, and the Kent County Health Department will continue to contact the person twice a day over the 21 day surveillance period to monitor for symptoms and report their measured body temperature, as recommended by the MDCH and CDC. No further information regarding the traveler is being made public.

“The Kent County Health Department is sharing this information to remain open and transparent, and most importantly, to recognize that this is the first notification of a traveler, and it probably won’t be the last,” said Adam London, Kent County Health Department Officer. “The most important take-away from this is that this is not an imminent health threat, and this individual is at very low risk for illness. We want the general public to remain informed, and trust in our capabilities.”

Kent County was notified of the traveler as a result the of the CDC airport monitoring system. This week, the CDC started a program to actively monitor all individuals who arrive in the United States after travel to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone. All air travelers with this travel history are now being routed through five major airports (Atlanta, Dulles, Newark, JFK and O’Hare) where screening for Ebola symptoms and risk factors will take place. This information is entered into a national system and is then provided to state health departments for distribution to local health departments, who are responsible for monitoring the health of these travelers.

“Increased surveillance and monitoring has been critical in recent weeks and will continue to be critical as long as there are cases of Ebola in the world,” said London. “Contact tracing and monitoring has been extremely successful in Senegal and Nigeria, where Ebola outbreaks were contained and now, the countries are Ebola-free. We have confidence in the systems and protocols that are in place, and Kent County is fully prepared to monitor anyone with a travel history to an Ebola outbreak region.”

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) continues to work with local partners and state and federal agencies to stay on top of the Ebola outbreak. Ebola is a rare, serious viral infection. It is not airborne or waterborne. A person infected with Ebola is not contagious until symptoms appear, which can take up to 21 days. The virus only spreads by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of a person who has symptoms. Although the initial signs and symptoms of Ebola are flu-like in nature (i.e. fever, headache, muscle pain), health care workers and the family and friends who provide care for a person sick with Ebola are at highest risk for infection and the general public should not be concerned about Ebola if they develop flu-like symptoms. Risk factors for Ebola have not changed and include recent travel history to Sierra Leone, Guinea or Liberia or direct contact with someone who is sick with or died from Ebola.

It is important to note that the Ebola virus does not show up in a blood test until the person is showing symptoms, and there are only 12 labs in the U.S. that can test for Ebola. Therefore, the CDC has very pointed, specific guidance about the testing process, and must approve any testing. Results can take 24 to 48 hours to confirm.

Last week, the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) was reactivated. MMRS is a program that supports the integration of emergency management, health, and medical systems into a coordinated response to mass casualty incidents caused by any hazard. MMRS is operating to ensure a coordinated response between public health, first responders, law enforcement, hospitals, and community leaders. KCHD continues to be in contact with their partners in MMRS on a regular basis as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols and guidance continue to evolve.

KCHD will provide updates as necessary at www.accesskent.com/Health/ebola.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Police seek info in business break-ins


Police are asking for the public’s help to solve a rash of break-ins throughout Kent County, from as far north as Patriot Motors on Northland Drive (between Cedar Springs and Sand Lake) and all the way out to 28th Street.

The Kent County Sheriff Department said that during the past week there have been 15 business breaking and enterings that have occurred in

Kent County. In most of the break-ins, entry was made in the overnight hours by smashing or prying open a door and money was taken. The Kent County Sheriff Department is investigating these complaints and encourages you to call if you have any information regarding any of these break-ins or if you observe any suspicious activity. Call them at 632-6100 or 911. You may also call Silent Observer at 616-774-2345. The following businesses were targeted:

September 13 to 14, 2014

Alpine Trailer Sales: 5614 Alpine Ave NW

Northeast Tan: 5614 Alpine Ave NW

Zylstra Door: 7350 Broadmoor Ave SE

September 16 to 17, 2014

Inspiration of Art Studio: 6504 28th St SE #C

The Difference Hair Salon: 6200 28th St SE

Pomp and Artistry: 6504 28th St SE #S-1

September 18 to 19, 2014

Francis Reality: 825 Parchment #400

September 20 to 21, 2014

Gebhardt Seamless Gutters: 15551 Northland Dr. NE

Patriot Motors: 16252 Northland Dr. NE

Farm Bureau Insurance: 4150 East Beltline Ave NE #2

Tee 2 Green: 5300 East Beltline Ave NE #C

China Kitchen: 5150 Northland Dr. NE #L

Amigo Mobility Center: 4280 Plainfield Ave NE

Great Clips: 5150 Northland Dr. NE #C

Hulst & Jepsen Physical Therapy: 4120 East Beltline Ave NE

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Commissioner Wawee resigns


 

N-Commissioner-charged-Michael-Wawee-webKent County Commissioner Michael Jay Wawee, 43, recently charged with two felonies, is resigning from the Kent County Board of Commissioners, effective February 28.

He was charged earlier this month with embezzlement of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 from a non-profit, and false pretenses of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000. The charges stem from his work for the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids selling cemetery plots, funeral services and memorial services.
Wawee released a statement saying that he needs to focus his energy on his family and proving his innocence, which means he will not be able to dedicate the time necessary to represent his constituents on the County Commission.

He represents Walker and part of Grand Rapids.

The application process for a new commissioner starts immediately.

“We, as a board, have continued to operate without a glitch,” said Board Chairman Dan Koorndyk. “It has not impacted day-to-day operations at all. We have a professional, dedicated staff in Kent County that manages the operations.”

The Board of Commissioners has 30 days from the effective date of resignation to select an individual to replace Mr. Wawee through the rest of his term. The person selected for that seat will hold it through December 2014. Those seeking the appointment to District 6 to replace Mr. Wawee should send a letter and resume to the Board of Commissioners Office, 300 Monroe Avenue, NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, by March 5, 2014.

 

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Fourth flu-related death reported in Kent County


Testing has confirmed a recently-deceased individual was suffering from the flu. This is the fourth death in someone over the age of 50 in Kent County who was suffering from influenza. The initial test confirms influenza A, but not the strain. (Three earlier cases were H1N1.) In this case, there were additional, known underlying medical conditions. As of January 28, there were 583 reported flu cases in Kent County this season.

“This year, we’ve seen several tragic consequences connected to the flu,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “While three of the four cases had known pre-existing medical conditions, we know that the flu has impacted individuals of all ages and health levels.” Nationally, most of the cases of influenza being reported this year are H1N1, which in some cases leads to pneumonia and other severe respiratory issues.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. The influenza vaccine this year is highly effective protection against the flu, including H1N1. It takes 10-14 days after receiving the vaccination for a person to develop immunity. This is why you often hear people wrongly claim that they got the flu from the flu shot. Multiple studies have confirmed that the flu vaccine does not cause influenza. People can, however, become ill from exposure to contagious people during those 10 – 14 days before their immunity develops.

Some children ages 6 months to 2 years old may require two doses of vaccine (parents should check with a health care provider for details).

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). If you think you have the flu, try to limit spreading the illness. Do not go to school or work until you recover.

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. Vaccines start at $25 for injection, and $33 for FluMist nasal spray. Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted. To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at (616) 742-4FLU (358).

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H1N1 detected in three recent deaths


 

From the Kent County Health Department

Testing has confirmed three recent deaths in people over the age of 50 in Kent County who were suffering from influenza A (H1N1) virus. Two of the individuals also had other known medical complications; we do not have a medical history yet on the third person. There are over 400 reported flu cases in Kent County so far this season, and of those reported, at least 26 people have been hospitalized.

“In two of these cases, we are certain there were additional underlying medical conditions,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “We have seen, in other parts of the state, healthy young adults are becoming extremely ill from H1N1, as well as several deaths.”

In late December, the CDC issued an advisory, noting an increase in severe respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults due to H1N1 this year.

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age. The influenza vaccine this year is highly effective protection against the flu, including H1N1. The CDC recently reported that the influenza vaccination prevented approximately 6.6 million illnesses and 79,000 hospitalizations last year. It is critically important that people get a flu shot now. It takes 10—14 days after receiving the vaccination for a person to develop immunity. This is why you often hear people wrongly claim that they got the flu from the flu shot.

Multiple studies have confirmed that the flu vaccine does not cause influenza. People can, however, become ill from exposure to contagious people during those 10–14 days before their immunity develops. Some children ages 6 months to 2 years old may require two doses of vaccine (parents should check with a health care provider for details).

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). If you think you have the flu, try to limit spreading the illness. Do not go to school or work until you recover.

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. Vaccines start at $25 for injection, and $33 for FluMist nasal spray. Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted. To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com. Flu information is also available on our information only line at (616) 742-4FLU (358).

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Thirteen candidates apply for District 4 seat


with Kent County Board of Commissioners

 

Thirteen candidates applied by the 5 p.m. Monday deadline for Kent County District 4 seat, vacated January 1, 2014, by former Commissioner Gary Rolls. District 4 covers the city of Lowell, Cannon Township, Grattan Township, Oakfield Township and Vergennes Township.

“We are fortunate to have received so many applications for this position,” said Dan Koorndyk, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. “The next step is for our Executive Committee to narrow that list down to the top three candidates.”

At least three candidates will be interviewed, by the Executive Committee, on January 16, 2014, during a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. This meeting will be open to the public. The Executive Committee will meet again January 23, 2014, at 7:30 a.m. to recommend the person they have selected to the full Board of Commissioners that same morning.

The Board of Commissioners has until February 1, 2014 to make an appointment for the seat. The person selected will serve a term, which runs through December 2014.

Rolls resigned his seat after being charged with four counts of first-degree criminal conduct, three involving a child, and one involving a victim at age 17.

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Flu cases rising in Kent County


 

 

Flu cases are rising in Kent County, and the Kent County Health Department urges parents to make sure their family is protected against the flu by getting vaccinated.

The KCHD said that we have not yet reached the peak of flu season, and the number of cases continues to rise. There are 324 reported flu cases in Kent County as of January 7; epidemiologists estimate only 8 percent of cases get reported, so the actual number could be more than 2800.

“Many adults have this misconception that the flu vaccine is just for kids, the elderly, or people who have medical conditions,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “Even healthy adults need protection. The CDC reports an increase in severe respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults due to influenza A (H1N1) this year. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age.” The vaccine can take ten days to two weeks to become effective. Some children ages 6 months to 2 years old may require two doses of vaccine (parents should check with a health care provider for details).

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu viruses can spread when people with flu cough, sneeze, or even talk. Someone might also get flu by touching a surface or object (like a phone) that has flu virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose. Signs and symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults). The KCHD says that if you think you have the flu, try to limit spreading the illness. Do not go to school or work until you recover.

The Kent County Health Department seasonal influenza program provides vaccinations for all individuals six months of age and older. The cost of the vaccine is $25 for injectable three strain vaccine, $29 for preservative free three strain vaccine, $30 for preservative free four strain vaccine or $33 for FluMist nasal spray (a live, preservative-free, four strain vaccine).

Children from six months through eighteen years who have no insurance, or who have insurance that doesn’t cover vaccines, will pay a sliding scale administration fee of up to $15. The Health Department can only bill Medicaid and Medicare. Cash, check, MasterCard, Visa, or Discover are accepted. To make an appointment at any of our five clinic locations, call (616) 632-7200. You can also schedule online at www.stickittotheflu.com.

Flu information is also available on an information only line at (616) 742-4FLU (358).

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North Kent Community Services Announces


“From Survive To Thrive” Plan

 

N-North-Kent-Community-ServicesNorth Kent Community Services, the largest food pantry in northern Kent County, has recently announced a dramatic change in its mission: NKCS will not just give out food to struggling families; it will now try to help people become self-sufficient, a program called “From Survive to Thrive.”

NKCS is planning to accomplish this huge undertaking in two ways: 1) implement a life-coaching program and 2) hire a program director/social worker to connect clients to educational resources in the community.

“Many of our clients do not know how to move themselves toward self-sufficiency,” said Executive Director Claire Guisfredi. “They may be lacking functional life skills which perpetuates the poverty cycle.”

Clients will be paired with a volunteer life coach who will meet with them weekly and help establish clear, attainable goals. “Because our clients’ problems are so overwhelming, it helps to have someone listen, help identify the root causes and sort out the best plan of action,” said Claire. “Our clients need someone to walk alongside them, cheering them on, guiding them, believing in their abilities and holding them accountable.” The life coaches will guide the clients to the most appropriate community resources, such as classes in budgeting, parenting and resume writing.

“From Survive to Thrive” will add an extra $72,000 in the budget for 2014. “I am out in the community creating awareness and raising funds for enhanced mission as well as current food programs,” said Claire. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Please consider NKCS for your year-end giving.”

“Through the Empowerment Coaching Program, we expect North Kent Community Services to be the ‘go to’ place in northern Kent County for your neighbors not just to survive, but thrive,” said Claire.

 

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West Nile Virus in Kent County


From the Kent County Health Department

 

More than 40 human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) infection were confirmed in Kent County residents last year. The caseload prompted staff at the Kent County Health Department to trap and test mosquito populations this summer. Positive results from this testing are meant to serve as an early warning system for the presence of the virus in Kent County. Last week, testing of mosquitoes collected at a random site in West Michigan

during the week yielded a result that was preliminarily positive for WNV.

“This test result confirms that the mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus are likely in our county,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “This information should encourage residents take steps to protect their families from mosquitoes.”

Only one case of illness has been confirmed in Michigan, in St. Joseph County, so far this year.

The Kent County Health Department recommends the following:

*At home, be sure you are not making it easy for mosquitoes to breed. Make sure to eliminate any standing water. Empty water from birdbaths, flower pots, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans twice a week. Make sure rain gutters are clear of debris. Throw out tarps, old tires and other items that could collect water.

*Use insect repellent when outdoors. Apply repellent to clothing and exposed skin, and always follow directions on the product label.

*Don’t apply repellent under clothing, or on cuts, wounds or irritated skin. You should not apply repellent around the eyes or mouth, and if using spray, apply spray to your hands first, and then apply to face.

*Repellent should not be used on infants under 2 months old at all. KCHD recommends putting netting over the infant’s stroller. Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not to be used on children under three years of age.

*When using repellent on children, put it on your hands first, then on the child. Children tend to put their hands in or near their mouths, so don’t apply repellent to a child’s hands.

*After you and your children get back indoors, wash off the repellent with soap and water, and wash treated clothing before wearing again.

*Avoid areas where mosquitoes are likely to be, such as wooded areas or swampy land.

West Nile Virus can produce a range of symptoms in humans. According to the CDC, most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms, though up to 20 percent may develop mild illness with symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, rash, and swollen lymph glands. Some people will develop severe illness, with severe headaches, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and rarely, death. Persons 55 and over have the highest risk of severe disease.

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