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Tag Archive | "Kent County Health Department"

Kent County issues public health warning


New recommendations are designed to stem skyrocketing COVID-19 infection rates

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (November 20, 2020) – Dr. Adam London, administrative health officer at the Kent County Health Department, has issued a public health warning and strong guidelines aimed at curbing community-wide spread of the coronavirus in Kent County and preventing another economic shutdown.

With more than 650 new cases per day and positivity rates holding well above 15% – the highest local rates since the onset of the pandemic – the Kent County Health Department and area hospitals report that conditions threaten their ability to provide services essential for the health of the community.

“Our local infection rates have reached dangerous levels,” said London. “We need to take decisive, community-wide action to protect the health of our residents and to alleviate the pressure on our hospitals, frontline healthcare workers and public health case investigators and contact tracers.”

Acknowledging severe delays in the contact tracing process due to the current high rate of infection, the new guidelines outline steps the public should take if they test positive, have symptoms or suspect they have had contact with someone infected with COVID-19. They also guide employers in best practices for allowing employees to return from work following isolation or quarantine.

The warning advises against indoor residential gatherings of people from multiple households, including over the holidays. Guidelines urge businesses to strictly adhere to workplace protocols and encourage the public to support local businesses using pickup and delivery whenever possible, minimizing time spent inside public spaces. K-8 schools are reminded to diligently follow face covering, distancing and health screening guidelines. Expanding on the current Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) orders, high schools are advised to continue remote learning through January 15, 2021. Parents are cautioned to prevent children from gathering with friends outside of school hours and during periods of remote learning. Houses of worship are encouraged to temporarily discontinue large in-person gatherings. Finally, sports and recreational activities not covered by the current MDHHS order and that require close contact are also not advised at this time.

Kent County Health Department Issues Urgent Public Health Warning – Page 2

November 20, 2020

Business leaders from manufacturing, retail, and other industries, along with area chambers and economic development organizations weighed in on steps to slow the spread of the virus while keeping businesses open.

The Kent County COVID-19 Church Task Force has met weekly with leaders from the health department since the first documented case of COVID-19 in March. This week, the Task Force announced that more than 60 faith leaders committed to limit in-person gatherings at area houses of worship to help reduce the spread of the virus.

Finally, Kent Intermediate School District officials and a coalition of K12 superintendents from across the county worked with the department to finalize recommendations that affect area schools, athletics, students, and families.

London thanked public and private sector partners for joining in this urgent call to action.

“We commend area leaders and organizations who have joined in support of the recommendations,” he said. “In addition to protecting public health, they know that tighter measures now may help stave off another round of public health ‘stay home’ orders that shutter businesses and schools in the coming months.”

See warning below:

Public Health Warning

November 20, 2020

Kent County currently has a community-wide positivity rate more than 15%, and our average number of new daily cases (689) has increased more than ten-fold over the past eight weeks. Public health officials cannot effectively conduct case investigation and contact tracing, services essential for protecting the public’s health, in a timely way when new case numbers are this high.

Local hospitals are also reporting COVID-19 inpatient admission numbers that are severely threatening their ability to provide services essential for the public’s health. Kent County’s pace of daily deaths from COVID-19 (6.43) is at its highest point to date. In consideration of these factors, and the reality that the approaching holidays and colder weather will complicate matters, the COVID-19 risk level for Kent County is now considered Highest Risk.

Therefore, the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is issuing this Public Health Warning to provide residents with heightened guidance to best protect themselves and others. This Public Health Warning will remain in effect until the 14-day total incidence of new cases per 100,000 of population is less than 350 (or approximately 165 new cases per day) and the seven-day average positivity rate of new tests is trending downward. People should expect that this Public Health Warning will likely continue through January 15, 2021 at the earliest. The cooperation of all residents with these recommendations will help our community prevent suffering and reach these markers as quickly as possible.

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. Sick people should call their healthcare provider and/or make arrangements to be tested for COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the use of facial coverings in the home when a household member is sick. Under no circumstances should a sick person report to work, school, or attend any other group gathering.

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. Everyone needs to take extraordinary precautions to protect the most vulnerable in our community. Please see the additional recommendations at the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/index.html.

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. All businesses are expected to practice extreme care consistent with this guidance. Customers are encouraged to support local businesses but are advised to opt for pickup and delivery whenever possible. Time spent shopping or otherwise inside indoor public spaces should be minimized. All people are warned to closely follow the general precautions of facial covering use, social distancing, and good hygiene. Failure to do so will perpetuate the spread of coronavirus and cause prolonged harm to people and businesses.

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. Additionally, these younger students are not as well equipped to be successful in a remote learning model. Therefore, elementary education may remain in-person with universal facial covering policies, daily symptom screenings of all students and staff, and six (6) feet of physical separation between seated students to the maximum extent possible (but never less than 3 feet between seated students). Middle school education may remain in-person with universal facial covering policies, daily symptom screenings of all students and staff, and by reducing the number of students in the classroom through remote instruction or hybrid to provide six (6) feet of physical separation between seated students to the maximum extent possible (but never less than three (3) feet between seated students). High schools are recommended to remain in a remote educational model through January 15, 2021. COVID-19 outbreaks and illnesses happen more frequently in the high school grades. This population may also effectively expose others to coronavirus even if not demonstrating the symptoms of illness themselves. High school programs serving special needs populations, students with cognitive disabilities, and center-based programs may continue with caution. The KCHD will make recommendations about schools and related activities after January 15, 2021 using the science and understanding that is available at that time.

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.

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. If this is not feasible, faith leaders are encouraged to exercise extreme mitigation efforts, relax in-person attendance obligations, and communicate the importance of avoiding all physical contact between people from different households. Individuals are also urged to follow all steps to protect themselves and others at all times, including proper use of face masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene.

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.

As noted earlier, the KCHD’s ability to conduct case investigation and contact tracing is severely challenged by the rising number of new cases. The department will be prioritizing case investigations and cannot assure communication to all cases or contacts in a timely manner. For that reason, the department is asking for the cooperation of our residents:

A. Any person notified of a positive test for COVID-19 should immediately isolate for a period of time not less than ten days from onset of symptoms (if applicable) or from test date. Person shall be fever-free without the help of fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours and all other symptoms must be improving before leaving isolation. For more information on isolation, visit the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html.

B. Any person who tests positive for COVID-19 should contact all persons they were in close proximity to from a period of time beginning 48 hours before onset of illness (if applicable) or the test collection date. Close contact includes persons within six feet of distance for at least 15 minutes cumulative over 24 hours and/or physically contacted with a hug, kiss, handshake, or other intimate contact. Those close contacts should be advised to quarantine according to instructions outlined in item C., below.

C. Any person who has had close contact with someone who is infected with COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days from the date of their last contact with the infected person. The quarantined person should stay home, stay away from others as much as possible, and watch for symptoms. If the person tests positive, they should follow instructions outlined in item A., above. If the person tests negative, that does not mean they may end quarantine. That is because it can take up to 14 days for the virus to incubate after contact with someone who is infected. If, after 14 days of quarantine, the individual has not tested positive and does not have symptoms associated with COVID-19, they may end quarantine and return to work. For those who are household contacts of a diagnosed case, the total quarantine period could last for approximately 24 days. For more detailed guidance about quarantine, visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html. D. We do not recommend that employees be required to show proof of two negative tests or present a “release from isolation or quarantine” letter from the KCHD. Both requirements would significantly and unnecessarily delay the employee’s return to work. Plus, studies have shown that some individuals continue to test positive long after they contracted the virus and are no longer contagious. Employers should visit accesskent.com/return2work for instructions on screening employees for return to work after quarantine or isolation

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Statement regarding Michigan Supreme Court decision


from Dr. Adam London, Director, Kent County Health Department

On October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled the Governor did not have the authority to issue executive orders under emergency declarations past April 30, 2020.

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) is hopeful the Legislature and the Governor will work together to protect public health in a collaborative and expedited manner. The KCHD is communicating closely with officials at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and other local health departments to identify pathways forward which respect rule of law and are protective of the health and safety of our communities.

Actions such as orders for isolation and quarantine are not affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling. These actions are authorized under the Michigan Public Health Code, a law that was enacted by the Michigan Legislature in 1978. The KCHD will continue to use public health orders and enforcement actions as appropriate under law as this agency has done for many decades.

The KCHD stresses the importance of adhering to the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Those strategies include wearing facial coverings in indoor public places, maintaining social distance, frequent handwashing, and staying home if you are sick. The KCHD is confident Kent County residents will continue to take the steps necessary to place their families, friends, and coworkers at the least possible risk for contracting COVID-19.

More COVDI-19 resources and information can be found by visiting https://www.accesskent.com/Health/coronavirus.htm.

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West Nile Virus found during Kent County Mosquito Surveillance


GRAND RAPIDS, MI. –Ongoing surveillance and testing conducted by the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) has revealed three presumptive positive instances of mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus in Kent County. The discovery comes after testing pools of mosquito remains that were trapped in the 49504 and 49525 ZIP Codes. It is important to note that these are not human cases. 

“Discovering these cases in mosquitoes should serve as a reminder to everyone who lives in West Michigan that West Nile Virus season is upon us,” says Brendan Earl, Supervising Sanitarian at KCHD. “It is important for people to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites as much as possible.” 

Since there is no vaccine or cure for West Nile the best treatment is prevention. KCHD 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 or refreshing water in bird baths, children’s wading pools, water bowls for your pets. Empty other small containers that can collect water. in your yard and keeping your lawn and shrubs trimmed. More information about prevention can be found here https://www.accesskent.com/Health/Environmental/vector.htm

West Nile Virus is spread primarily by infected Culex mosquitoes. Only about 20 percent of the people infected will notice symptoms that may include headache, body aches, joint pains and fatigue. Most people with this type of West Nile virus completely recover, but fatigue may last for weeks or even months. About 1 in 150 people infected develop severe illness that can affect the central nervous system. Recovery from this type of West Nile virus may take several months. Some damage to the central nervous system can be permanent. In rare instances the disease can lead to death.

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Corona virus in Michigan: where we stand as of Wednesday, March 18


These empty shelves at the Cedar Springs Meijer are typical of what grocery stores are experiencing across the state due to shoppers stocking up in case of a total shutdown.

Things changed fast and furiously in Michigan from Friday, March 13 to Monday, March 16. And they continued to change quickly this week.

Michigan went from 12 cases of confirmed COVID-19 on Friday to 53 on Monday. As of Wednesday, there were 80, with five of those cases in Kent County and one in Montcalm.

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 Post asked Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Scott Smith if the teachers were sending home work for students.

“While we have pushed pause on formal instruction, we are providing families with resources they can use to continue to engage in the learning process,” he explained. “We recognize that parents and caregivers are not teachers. It would not be reasonable to expect that formal instruction can continue during this statewide suspension.”

The school (along with many in Kent County) is also offering free meal pickup and in some cases delivery for students. See page 2 for more info.

Meanwhile, people began raiding the grocery stores for food and supplies to hold them over in case of a total shutdown or quarantine. Things like milk, meat, hand sanitizer and toilet paper have been in short supply due to people buying extreme quantities.

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.

But that quickly changed when on Monday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an order 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 offering take out or delivery. Contact them or visit their Facebook page to see what options they are offering and help them stay afloat.

The state of Michigan also came out this week with some options on relief for those out of work due to the COVID-19 virus (see page 7) and some resources to support small businesses during this time (see our business pages on pages 14-15)

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.

The Governor then signed an executive order this week limiting gatherings to 50 people or less.

Many businesses and municipalities are closing to the general public or restricting their available hours. The City of Cedar Springs is closed 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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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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Kent County approves new sheriff campus in Cedar Springs



The new North County Campus housing the Kent County Sheriff’s Office and Kent County Health Department will be built on land west of Taco Bell. Photo by L. Allen.

By Judy Reed

The Kent County Board of Commissioners gave the green light last week to the development of a new $12.5 million North County campus in Cedar Springs that will house both the Kent County Sheriff’s Office  and the Kent County Health Department. 

The new North County Campus will be built on 14 acres of county-owned property on 17 Mile Road NE, west of Taco Bell. The site’s conceptual master site plan includes a full-service sub-station for the Sheriff’s Office, a clinic for the Health Department, and additional space for other County services as needed. The County said this new shared facility will improve response times by the Sheriff’s Office and increase access to services in northern Kent County.

“By consolidating and upgrading our facilities and operations, we are focusing on the County’s quality of life and addressing long-awaited projects to better serve our residents now and into the future,” said Kent County Administrator Wayman Britt.

According to Sgt. Todd Probst, who supervises the Cedar Springs Sheriff’s Unit, the deputies who currently work out of Cedar Springs City Hall will move into the new building, along with officers and detectives who work out of the current north substation in Kent City. He sees it as a great advantage for the deputies and residents.

“Besides still being in the city of Cedar Springs, it will allow the dedicated city officers to collaborate directly with the north road patrol deputies, community policing officers, and detectives,” explained Sgt. Probst.  “Having the North Sub within the city will also bring additional officers coming and going from the city, which will give Cedar additional coverage for police related incidents.”  

The new North County Campus was one of three strategic capital improvement projects approved by Kent County, with all three totaling $18.7 million. The projects, meant to address the growing needs of Kent County residents, include: 

• $12.5 million for the development of a North County Campus,

• $2.68 million for a Parks Department office near Millenium Park, and

• $3.5 million for a 16,100 square-foot fleet facility on the county’s Fuller campus to repair and maintain the county’s more than 290 vehicles. When the original facility was built, they only serviced 35.

The funding for these projects was allocated from the County’s Capital Improvement Program Fund. The fund was established in 2015 to reserve funding for future capital needs and to reduce the size of debt associated with large capital projects.

“I am very proud we were able to address the needs of the community and offer better, more efficient services without the need to issue bonds,” said Kent County Board of Commissioners Chair Mandy Bolter. “Our fiscal team has been very responsible with taxpayer dollars over the years so we could make that possible. These projects wisely invest taxpayer dollars in areas that will not only improve access to County services but prepare our infrastructure for the future.”

The Kent County Building Authority will assume project management responsibility for these initiatives. All projects are scheduled to immediately commence with architectural and engineering services and the projected timeline for the North County Campus is twenty-four months; fifteen months for the Parks Department office; and eighteen months for the fleet facility. Design renderings are currently unavailable for these projects.

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June School News


2018 – 2019 School Year – Last Day of School – June 10, 2019

New Beginning High School Graduating Class of 2019

Benjamin Batchelder, Gloria Bliss-Ramos, Jaden Droge, Maizy Gleason, Kaleb Gordon, Ebonye Hunter, Kaelen Kangas, Austin Keenan, Madisen Lewis, Ricardo Marques III, James Myers, Marcus Rivas, Bailey Rocafort, Abigail Scott, Jacob Scott, Makennah Smith, Corey Terrell

Class of 2019 Red Hawk Parade

Introducing our New Director of Academic Services

Matt Blood, Director of Human and Community Services

After an extensive interview process, we are delighted to welcome Jennifer Haberling as our new Director of Academic Services.  Prior to school administration, she served students as a classroom teacher at the middle
school, high school, and college levels. Jen officially begins on July 1, 2019 but she plans to schedule a few days to visit the district to talk with people and begin the planning process as she prepares to hit the ground running.   

Lastly, It is important to recognize and thank all for the staff support during this important search process.  It was, indeed, a process that was driven by the position profile developed through valuable feedback provided by PLC leaders, administrators, district office staff, and others that will be working directly with the director. In its entirety, over 45 people were involved throughout this process!  All of their time and hard work are much appreciated!  

Welcome Ms. Jennifer Haberling to Cedar Springs Public Schools!

Educator Appreciation

Teacher Appreciation Day is recognized annually on Tuesday of the first full week of May.   This day is intended to celebrate the positive impact on society made by teachers around the globe.  Some communities, not able to squeeze their expressions of gratitude into a single day, have opted to applaud the efforts of their teachers for an entire week.  Still, other districts have raised the celebratory bar even higher by choosing to honor the efforts of teachers and support staff for a whole month and now refer to May as Educator Appreciation Month.  

Cedar Springs Public Schools would like to take our expression of appreciation for the community of educators impacting the lives of our students to a whole new level.  We aim to recognize the amazing talents of our dedicated team of teachers and support staff throughout the entire school year! Each day gives us another opportunity to celebrate our success.  Similarly, each new day gives rise to the opportunity to be better than we were the day before.

Additionally, we want to lift up the work of the members of our community who teach our students valuable lessons when they are not in school.  The African proverb it takes a village to raise a child is at the core of the work of the community of Cedar Springs when it comes to educating our children.  To be most successful, the community as a whole must invest in its children to ensure that they develop in a safe and healthy environment.  

Cedar Springs Public Schools salutes the dedication and efforts of its teachers, its support staff, and its community of educators who step up daily to teach our students the essential lessons that will serve them well as adults.  Thank you for investing in the lives of the children who call Cedar Springs home.

With respect and appreciation,
Scott B. Smith, Superintendent

Calendar Update

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has now provided clarity around the forgiveness of weather-related cancellations of school between January 29 and February 1. Governor Whitmer signed the snow day forgiveness legislation into law last Friday. The MDE needed time to develop a process for districts to follow to document the fact that school had been cancelled on days the Governor had declared a State of Emergency days due to the extreme weather conditions during that time.  

Barring any unforeseen school cancellations between now and the end of the year, our last day of school for students will now be MONDAY, June 10.  

Please note Cedar Springs Public Schools will be in session on: 

June 6, 7, and 10.

Additional days will be identified beyond June 10 if we have further cancellations this year.  Let us hope that we have seen the last of the snow this season.  Thank you for your patience during this time of uncertainty.

With respect and appreciation,
Scott B. Smith, Superintendent

Preschool Open Enrollment OPEN NOW

Classes will be forming for students who are 3 or 4 years old by September 1, 2019.  Information is available for families that are interested in tuition assistance for preschool.  

Contact Cedar Trails Elementary main office 616.696.9884. 

2019—2020 Kindergarten Class Enrollment OPEN NOW

Your child must be 5 years old by September 1, 2019 to register for Kindergarten.   Visit www.csredhawks.org and select K-12 Enrollment.  

Contact the Registrar at 616.696.7317 with any questions.

Hearing and Vision Screening

Kindergarten entrants 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: 

June 4, 2019 & August 27, 2019

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.

Calendar

2019-2020 School Year Calendar available at www.csredhawks.org – 

First day of school September 3, 2019

District Office Summer Hours

204 East Muskegon Street, Cedar Springs, MI  49319
Hilltop Community Building

Monday – Friday 7:30 am to 4:00 pm • Closed July 4


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West Nile Virus claims life of second Kent County resident


The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) reported Wednesday that a Kent County resident who was hospitalized with West Nile Virus has died due to complications of the illness.

They said that there are currently 13 suspected or confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Kent County, and that the threat of contracting West Nile Virus through a mosquito bite is still a concern here.

This threat will remain until consistently cold weather kills the insects.

“It can take two or three good frosts to get rid of all of the mosquitoes,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer at KCHD. “We want to ensure that people don’t put their guard down and continue to follow precautions until then.”

There is no vaccine or cure for West Nile. The best treatment is prevention. KCHD recommends the following:

  • Applying insect repellant that contains the active ingredient DEET and always following the manufacturer’s directions for use on the label.
  • Draining standing water in the yard. Empty water from flowerpots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, buckets, barrels, and cans. Anywhere water can collect, mosquitoes can breed.
  • Avoid being outside at dusk and dawn when mosquito activity is high.
  • Wear light colored long- sleeved shirts and long pants.

Only about 20 percent of the people infected will notice symptoms that may include headache, body aches, joint pains and fatigue. Most people with this type of West Nile virus completely recover. West Nile can develop into a severe illness that can affect the central nervous system. Some damage to the central nervous system can be permanent. In rare instances the disease can lead to death. More information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html.

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West Nile virus claims life of Kent County resident


The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) has learned that a Kent County resident who was hospitalized with West Nile Virus has died due to complications of the illness.

As the Labor Day weekend holiday approaches, KCHD wants people to know that it is vital to continue to protect themselves from the bite of a mosquito. Through surveillance, KCHD has noted a 400 percent increase in the number of Culex Mosquitoes trapped by the agency so far this summer. The Culex mosquito is the species that transmits West Nile Virus to humans. KCHD believes these increased numbers may signal higher numbers of human West Nile Virus cases for the 2018 season.

There is no vaccine or cure for West Nile. The best treatment is prevention. KCHD recommends the following:

  • Applying insect repellant that contains the active ingredient DEET and always following the manufacturer’s directions for use on the label.
  • Draining standing water in the yard. Empty water from flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, buckets, barrels, and cans. Anywhere water can collect, mosquitoes can breed.
  • Avoid being outside at dusk and dawn when mosquito activity is high.
  • Wear light colored long- sleeved shirts and long pants.

Only about 20% of the people infected will notice symptoms that may include headache, body aches, joint pains and fatigue. Most people with this type of West Nile virus completely recover. West Nile can develop into a severe illness that can affect the central nervous system. Some damage to the central nervous system can be permanent. In rare instances the disease can lead to death. 

More info can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/index.html.

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High number of mosquitoes found with West Nile virus 


 

Surveillance results concern health officials

The Kent County Health Department held an urgent news conference Wednesday to help get the word out that an unusually high number of trapped mosquitoes have tested positive for the West Nile virus this year. While there are no human cases reported in Kent County yet this year, these tests lead health experts at KCHD to believe that a rise in human cases is possible in 2018.

“Given the test results we are seeing, it may be more important now than ever to take steps to protect yourself and those who count on you from being bit,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer at KCHD. “We are urging people to take simple precautions to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes and the risk of West Nile virus.”

They reported that in the first 11 weeks of sampling this year, they collected 16,314 Culex mosquitoes, which are the ones that usually carry the virus. That’s about six times as many as last year. Of the eight pools of 50 tested, 26 percent had the virus.

London reportedly said he has never had West Nile surveillance data of more concern than this year’s.

There is no vaccine or cure for West Nile. The best treatment is prevention. KCHD recommends the following:

  • Applying insect repellant that contains the active DEET and always following the manufacturer’s directions for use on the label.
  • Draining standing water in the yard. Empty water form flowerpots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, buckets, barrels, and cans. Anywhere water can collect, mosquitoes can breed.
  • Avoid being outside at dusk and dawn when mosquito activity is high.
  • Wear light colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

West Nile virus is spread primarily by infected Culex mosquitoes. Only about 20 percent of the people infected will notice symptoms that may include headache, body aches, joint pains and fatigue. Most people with this type of West Nile virus completely recover, but fatigue may last for weeks. West Nile can develop into a severe illness that can affect the central nervous system. Some damage to the central nervous system can be permanent. In rare instances the disease can lead to death.

More information about prevention can be found here. https://www.accesskent.com/Health/CommDisease/pdfs/westnile_qa.pdf

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