COVID-19 Updates

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) a pandemic. We have created this blog where regular updates will be posted with information from the WHO, CDC, Ottawa County Health Department and NOCHS to help keep our community informed.

Updated: May 24, 2021 – 4:20 PM


  • Cases 987,974; Deaths 20,154 
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 79%
  • Percentage of Population Vaccinated 57.1% (see visual below) 

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 72,334; Deaths 834

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 15,951; Deaths 350

Ottawa County

  • Cases 32,526; Deaths 417


U.S. Cases fall to Numbers Less than This Time Last Year —  Since January, the seven-day average of new cases nationwide is down 90%. Cases have not been this low since June 18, 2020. COVID-19 related hospitalizations are down almost 80%. The average number of deaths over the last seven days also dropped to 552 — a rate not seen since July last year. It’s a dramatic drop since the pandemic hit a crescendo in January. Health experts credit an efficient rollout of vaccines for the turnaround.

Half of States Have Fully Vaccinated at Least 50% of Adults —  Those states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. The state with the highest proportion of adults who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is Maine — with more than 62% of people 18 and over having completed their shots. In America’s entirety, more than 130 million citizens have been fully vaccinated — 39.2% of the population.

India’s Hits Grim Milestone — India’s death toll is the third-highest reported in the world after the U.S. and Brazil, accounting for 8.6% of the nearly 34.7 million coronavirus fatalities globally, though the true numbers are thought to be significantly greater.

Travel Restrictions Abroad — Here is a good article that lists, country-by-country, what travel restrictions currently exist. So, if you’re planning on traveling abroad this summer, click on this link:


MI “Vacc To Normal” Plan Released by Governor — On May 20, Michigan’s Governor outlined steps to emerge from the pandemic. As of June 1, capacity limits will lift for outdoor events. Additionally, indoor capacity limits will increase to 50%, allowing indoor social gatherings such as weddings and funerals to move closer to normalcy. As of July 1, the state will no longer limit capacity at indoor or outdoor gatherings. MDHHS released an updated epidemic order reflecting these changes today. Throughout the month of June, people who are not yet fully vaccinated will still be required to mask up while indoors.

MIOSHA Releases New Rules for Employers — MIOSHA filed updated COVID-19 emergency rules, which take effect today and are set to expire Oct. 14, in accordance with the MI “Vacc to Normal” plan and recent health guidelines and orders. Because Michigan has vaccinated 55% of adults, MIOSHA removed the requirement that employers must create a “policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely.” Other updates include:

  • Onerous requirements for PPE usage in the healthcare setting have been removed.
  • Employers may allow fully vaccinated employees to not wear face coverings and social distance provided they have a policy deemed effective to ensure non-vaccinated individuals continue to follow these requirements.
  • Employers should continue to have and implement a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan in accordance with the updated rules.
  • Of note for hospitals, the emergency rules state that “fully vaccinated persons must continue to wear face coverings when in the healthcare setting where patients may be present and when using airplane or public transportation if required by the latest CDC guidance.”
  • Employers must still screen all employees and contractors daily. However, the rules state that a record of health screenings must only be maintained for unvaccinated employees.
  • Employees must maintain six feet of separation only if unvaccinated.

Status Report – The state is averaging 1,104 new cases and 47 new deaths per day during the last week, according to MDHHS. That’s the lowest seven-day case average since March 2 and a consecutive day-over-day decline since April 17. Hospitals statewide were treating 1,569 patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, with 439 patients in the ICU. That’s down from 1,817 patients being treated a week ago. Of the 22,300 diagnostic tests processed on Sunday, May 23, 4.35% came back positive for SARS-CoV-2. The seven-day average is now 5.6%, down from 6.8% a week ago.

Updated: May 17, 2021 – 3:00 PM


  • Cases 976,339; Deaths 19,790
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 78%
  • Percentage of Population Vaccinated 55.7% (see visual below) 

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 71,191; Deaths 813

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 15,560; Deaths 345

Ottawa County

  • Cases 32,106; Deaths 408


Spring Surge Comes To An End —  The country’s pace of new cases fell this weekend below the low of Sept. 12, the day before the deadly fall surge got underway, became a disastrous winter and turned into a painful spring. Between that day in September and now, the U.S. reported more than 390,000 COVID-19 deaths and more than 26.4 million coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The eight-month surge was responsible for 80% of total U.S. infections and two-thirds of U.S. deaths. Daily infections now total less than half what they were a month ago and a small fraction of January’s raging numbers. The U.S. continues to report about 600 deaths a day, roughly one-fifth the pace seen in January.

India Variant Now in U.S. — The B.1.617 coronavirus variant that is devastating India has arrived in the U.S. The U.S. is one of 49 counties where the variant has spread, but so far it is at low levels here. As of May 8, the B.1.617 variant made up 3% of all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. according CDC. Experts say it’s not likely to cause much harm here because of high vaccination rates and because the health care system is not under stress. But researchers are keeping an eye on it. It’s sometimes called a “double mutant” because it has double the number of mutations as some earlier variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. It does not appear to be more dangerous.

Some National Retailers Drop Mask Mandate —  Retailers started announcing changes to mask policies for fully vaccinated customers a day after the CDC issued new guidelines last week. Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club, and Costco are among them. Starbuck’s has made it optional. Many other retailers, including Apple and Walgreens are still evaluating the CDC guidance but could update policies soon. In the Midwest, Meijer announced today that masks are not required for those who are vaccinated.


Status Report – Twenty-seven of Michigan’s 83 counties are now below a 7% positivity rate as a seven-day average of coronavirus diagnostic tests. That’s up from 14 counties a week ago. The top five counties in per-capita cases for May 9-15: Baraga, Muskegon, Montcalm, Mackinac and Ionia. The seven-day positivity rate on coronavirus diagnostic tests was 9.1% a week ago. Michigan had 2,048 adults patients and 38 pediatric patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 on Friday, May 14. That includes 613 patients in the ICU. By comparison, there were 2,611 hospitalizations with 699 patients in the ICU on Friday, May 7.

Vaccine Clinic Update —  We have only one combination (booster and first dose) clinic this week Wednesday May 19 — from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM welcoming anyone aged 12 and older. Minors must be accompanied by a parent to sign consent. Masks are required to enter the clinic. We are administering Pfizer vaccine. Boosters may walk-in, but we prefer those who are getting a first dose sign up for an appointment using the homepage link at

Updated: May 10, 2021 – 4:00 PM


  • Cases 961,956; Deaths 19,377
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 80% 
  • Percentage of Population Vaccinated 51.5%

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 70,012; Deaths 803

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 15,146; Deaths 335

Ottawa County

  • Cases 31,549; Deaths 405


The Future of Mask Mandates — Although the CDC currently recommends that fully vaccinated people should still wear masks indoors, Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted on Sunday’s “Meet The Press” news show that those guidelines could soon be lifted. He noted, “as the number of people who are vaccinated grows, the risk of any infection — indoor or outdoor — diminishes dramatically.”

On May 4, Michigan’s Governor lifted mask requirements for outdoor gatherings of under 100 people, and other outdoor activities. Here are the details:

  • Large outdoor events, including festivals, fairs, and golf tournaments will be able to exceed the current 1,000-person limit so long as they create and post a safety plan consistent with the MDHHS Large Outdoor Event Guidance, and no more than 20 persons per 1,000 square feet are gathered in any space available to patrons.
  • Outdoor stadiums and arenas:
    • Stadiums complying with enhanced protocols will continue to be allowed to operate at 20% of their fixed seating capacity. For example, a stadium with a maximum capacity complying with enhanced protocols would be permitted to host 8,000 patrons.
    • Otherwise, for stadiums or arenas with a fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or greater without enhanced protocols 1,000 patrons may be gathered (previously 750).
    • For stadiums or arenas with a fixed seating capacity of 10,000 or greater without enhanced protocols 1,500 patrons may be gathered.
  • Residential outdoor gatherings are allowed up to 50 people. Or, where density does not exceed 20 persons per 1,000 square feet of usable outdoor space, up to 300 people may be gathered.

The Need for Boosters — Vaccine officials say a booster may be required in the coming year. Reinfections will happen at some point. The best way to ensure that we do not have renewed outbreaks in well-vaccinated countries like the U.S. is to boost/maintain the highest possible levels of neutralizing immunity. Moderna said Wednesday that a booster shot of its vaccine revs up the immune response against two worrying coronavirus variants: the B.1.351 variant first seen in South Africa and the P.1 variant first seen in Brazil. A waning immune response in people naturally infected with the virus also suggests a potential need for boosters according to Pfizer/BioNTech. Evidence shows an efficacy of 90% for prevention of symptomatic disease and the mRNA technology allows frequent boosters.

Pfizer Seeks Full FDA Approval for COVID Vaccine — Pfizer/BioNTech has initiated its application to the FDA for full approval of its vaccine for people ages 16 and older. This is the first of the available vaccines to seek full approval in the U.S. Pfizer’s mRNA two-shot vaccine is currently being used in the US under emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA. The companies say 170 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed across the US to date. To apply for full FDA approval Pfizer/BioNTech submitted a Biologics License Application, known as a BLA. The FDA requires vaccine manufacturers submit data on manufacturing processes, facilities and additional information that demonstrates that the vaccine can be produced reliably and consistently. They are also required to submit all pre-clinical and clinical trial data. Once all the required information is submitted, a goal date will be set for a decision. Pfizer/BioNTech is simultaneously applying to expand its EUA to include children ages 12 to 15.

U.S. Vaccine Access is Improving — Vaccine availability has greatly improved during the past few months. According to an analysis done May 4 by VaccineFinder, 78.8% of people in the United States live within five miles of locations that offer all three vaccines.


Status Report – VACCINATIONS — The now has a visual called the “Vacc to Normal Tracker” that shows where we are toward reaching our state’s herd immunity goal (see below). Leelanau is Michigan’s first county in which 70% of residents age 16 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. By age group, 83% of Leelanau residents age 65 and older have gotten at least one vaccine dose; 69% of those age 50 to 64, and 56% of residents age 16 to 49. (The statewide averages for those groups are 76%, 59% and 38%, respectively.)  Seven other counties have at least 60% vaccination rates for all adults: Oakland, Washtenaw, Grand Traverse, Emmet, Charlevoix, Benzie and Keweenaw. Another 12 counties have at least 55% of adults vaccinated: Wayne (excluding Detroit), Kent, Kalamazoo, Clinton, Midland, Mason, Manistee, Antrim, Mackinac, Presque Isle, Marquette, Alger and Ontonagon. NEW CASES The state is averaging 2,607 new confirmed cases a day. That’s down 27% from a seven-day average of 3,579 a week ago.

Testing Requirements Change for Long-Term Care Facilities — Under MDHHS changes to the COVID-19 testing order for skilled nursing facilities, homes for the aged and adult foster care facilities licensed to care for 13 or more individuals, fully vaccinated staff no longer must be routinely tested. This order is effective as of May 7.

Testing continues to be required under the following circumstances:

    • Initial testing of all new or returning residents to a facility covered by this Order and newly hired staff when the individual is unvaccinated and has not been tested in the 72 hours prior to intake or start date.
    • Testing any resident or staff member with symptoms of COVID-19 or suspected exposure to COVID-19, regardless of that individual’s vaccination status.
    • Weekly testing of all residents and staff in facilities experiencing an outbreak (any facility-acquired positive cases among residents or staff) until 14 days after the last new positive case, regardless of vaccination.
    • Weekly testing of all unvaccinated staff.

Updated: May 3, 2021 – 5:00 PM


  • Cases 940,175; Deaths 18,893
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 81% 
  • Percentage of Population Vaccinated 50%

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 68,438; Deaths 793

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 14,510; Deaths 328

Ottawa County

  • Cases 30,760; Deaths 398


Younger People Being Hospitalized — For the first time, patients between the ages of 18 and 64 now account for the largest cohort of the 37,000 total patients currently hospitalized with the virus. With more older Americans vaccinated, this marks the third week that the number of hospitalized individuals in the 65 and older age group has been smaller than both the 18-49, and the 50-64 age groups. Experts say the exact reason behind this trend is unclear, but could include the rise of variants, relaxed attitudes towards distancing and other mitigation measures, a younger population that is not yet fully vaccinated, and vaccine hesitancy. Even though not all hospitalizations are the result of severe illness, state officials say the trend is worrying.

Second Shots Missed — About five million Americans missed receiving their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccine, according to CDC data released Sunday. But with some upcoming activities — traveling and returning to school among them — possibly requiring proof of a full vaccination — two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson — experts told ABC News it’s still not too late for those who still need a second shot. Ideally, the second Pfizer dose should be three weeks after the first, and a second Moderna shot should be at four weeks after the first . But waiting up to six weeks for either is OK, and experts say that even if you’re beyond six weeks, it’s still a good idea to get that second shot. Here’s why … there’s existing data that other parts of a person’s immune system — memory B-cells and T-cells, in particular — last long enough to mount an antibody response, even if the second shot is later than typically advised. But the longer people wait the more they’re putting themselves and the community at risk.

India’s Crisis Has Global Implications —  About one third of the global population in the world’s poorest countries (e.g. Africa, Asia and Latin America) were slated to receive vaccinations from India (a vaccine producing powerhouse), until the country itself became overwhelmed and the supply chain reversed. Hospitals are overwhelmed, oxygen is scarce and the death toll at 200,000 is thought to be a huge undercount. This is having ripple effects far beyond India’s borders. This could prolong the pandemic for everyone via mutations that could be more infectious and evade Western vaccines. How did this happen? The U.S. and other wealthy nations bought up most supplies for Pfizer and Moderna, forcing poorer countries turned to India and its Serum Institute of India, which is the world’s largest vaccine producer. This entity has a licensing agreement to make the less expensive AstraZeneca vaccine. In short, too many eggs were put in one basket and now the world’s largest producer is overwhelmed with a domestic crisis that is forcing it to deprioritize other countries.


Status Report – Michigan is continuing its downward trend on COVID-19 numbers. Hospitalizations dropped 17% last week compared to the previous week; the number of new cases was down 26% during that time. Seventy of Michigan’s 83 counties saw a decline in cases last week compared to April 18-24, and 60 saw a drop in their positivity rates. The one exception to the declines: Death numbers, which are a lagging factor.

Updated: April 27, 2021 – 9:00 AM

Cases 911,800; Deaths 18,409
Statewide Bed Occupancy 77%
Percentage of Population Vaccinated 33.7%

Kent County
Confirmed Cases 66,323; Deaths 769

Muskegon County
Confirmed Cases 13,735; Deaths 320

Ottawa County
Cases 29,791; Deaths 390


J & J Vaccine Update — Fewer than half of Americans see the J&J vaccine as safe and barely more than a fifth of those not yet vaccinated would be willing to take it — yet overall intentions to get vaccinated have risen since January in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. Results on the J&J vaccine, in interviews before it was returned to use this past weekend, suggest challenges in gaining acceptance: Just 46% think it’s very or somewhat safe, compared with more than 7 in 10 for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. And 73% of those not yet vaccinated said they were unwilling to accept a J&J shot. The University of California-San Francisco reported the first known case of a mail in the U.S. developing a blood clot after receiving the J&J vaccine. More than a dozen previous cases involved women under 50. The potential side effects of the shot have shown to be extremely rare, and some states have already resumed administering it, including Michigan.

Vaccine Hesitancy Headlines — General reluctance remains substantial, and troubling. Unpersuaded by more than 570,000 pandemic deaths in the United States, nearly 1 in 4 Americans, 24%, are disinclined to get any of the coronavirus vaccines, down from 32% three months ago, an ABC News/Washington Post poll shows. And sixteen percent rule it out entirely. Seventy-four percent have received at least one dose (56%) or say they definitely or probably will get vaccinated (18%), up 9 percentage points from mid-January. While higher, that’s barely at the low end of estimates of what’s thought to be needed to achieve herd immunity. Hesitancy is highest among rural residents, Republicans, conservatives (especially strong conservatives) and those with no more than a high school diploma. Other survey findings from the ABC News/Washington Post poll:

There’s been a steep drop in the share of Americans who say the pandemic is not at all under control, from 52% in January to 15% now. Those who see it as completely or mostly under control is up 17 points, albeit just to 28%. The rest, 55%, see it as “somewhat” controlled.

The public tilts against the idea of businesses requiring employees to be vaccinated before they come in to work, 45%-51%, support-oppose, and divides on colleges requiring students to get vaccinated before being allowed on campus, 50%-47%.
At the same time, 55% support their state issuing printed or digital certificates that people can use to show businesses, employers and schools that they have been vaccinated. Forty-two percent are opposed.
The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) also conducted a recent survey on vaccination hesitancy and published similar findings. If you have interest, here is the link to the study:

KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor: What We’ve Learned

India; Global Hot Spot — The White House plans to ship out vaccine doses of Astra-Zeneca (not yet approved for EUA in the U.S.) to India, which is battling the worst COVID-19 surge the world has seen.


Status Report – State health officials announced 4,698 new coronavirus cases and 121 deaths on Saturday, April 24. Of the 121 deaths, 91 occurred prior to the last 24 hours were identified during a vital records review. These reviews occur three times per week. The prior day, the state announced it had 5,031 new cases and 29 more deaths. Friday’s increase from Thursday’s 4,867 daily cases marks the first time in nine days the state has shown an increase in positive tests. This makes Michigan’s infection rate the highest in the country – more than Texas and California combined.

Mask Mandate Now In Effect for Children Aged 2 to 4 — Beginning today (4/26/21), children in Michigan aged 2 to 4 years old will now have to wear a face mask while they attend child care facilities and camps. State health officials say the new mandate, which was endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is focused on decreasing the spread of COVID-19 among children. There’s been a record-breaking increase in child hospitalizations over the past few weeks, and mask wearing has been proven to slow the spread down. In addition, recent data shows that COVID-19 cases among children from ages 10 to 19 are also at an all-time high which is more than double the rate than in the fall. The order is set to expire on May 24.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine in Michigan — The MDHHS is recommending vaccine providers across the state resume the use of J&J vaccine to vaccinate Michiganders age 18 and older. This recommendation is based on the FDA and CDC recommending to move forward with administering the vaccine. The agencies previously recommended a pause on April 13 while experts conducted a thorough safety review after reports of a rare blood clotting syndrome in some people.

Rapid Testing Pilot Launched at Michigan Welcome Centers, Airports — In an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 especially as summer approaches, MDHHS, in partnership with MDOT and select Michigan airports, are piloting a “Travel Points Testing” program this spring – bringing antigen COVID-19 testing to locations with high volumes of travel. Quick and cost-free testing will be offered at several Michigan Welcome Centers and airports throughout the state, with results available in as little as 15 minutes. Walk ups are taken as space allows, and an option to register online while in line via a mobile device will also be available. Insurance is not required, and results can be obtained via text, email or uploaded to the traveler’s patient portal.


Update April 19, 2021 – 5:21 PM

Cases 873,700; Deaths 17,934
Statewide Bed Occupancy 78%
Percentage of Population Vaccinated* 29.6%
(*change in data – the state is now reporting percentages for first dose AND completed. Last week’s percentage was for first dose. From today forward I will be reporting the completed number instead. FYI, 29.6% is up from 27.2% last week.)

Kent County
Confirmed Cases 63,710; Deaths 761

Muskegon County
Confirmed Cases 12,745; Deaths 315

Ottawa County
Cases 28,563; Deaths 383


All Adults 16 and Older Now Eligible for Vaccine — All adults in the United States are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines starting Monday, with all 50 states and Washington, D.C., meeting the April 19 deadline the President set for opening eligibility. To date, half of adults in the United States have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 33% of adults are fully vaccinated.

USA Today Interactive Vaccine Rollout Link — Here is a cool, interactive chart on the USA Today web site that attempts to answer the looming question on everyone’s mind, “When will everyone be vaccinated?” The chart looks at the current pace of the rollout, and provides a timeline projection. Its not a crystal ball, but it puts things in perspective.

J & J Vaccine Update — A decision on whether to end a US pause in vaccinations with the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 shot is likely by Friday this week. A government-convened expert panel has been assessing the vaccine’s possible links to a clotting disorder seen in a half-dozen relatively young women, none with previously known clotting disorders. Experts caution that the adverse reactions are extremely rare, with six events occurring within nearly 7 million doses administered. Both the J&J and the AstraZeneca vaccines are based on adenovirus vector technology. The clotting problem has not been linked to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which are based on mRNA technology. US officials have emphasized that there is more than enough supply of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to cover the adult population by the end of July.Case Count Tracking By State — You might want to earmark this link, too. NBC News has developed a state-by-state case count tracking system that looks at more localized data, as opposed to national headlines that don’t dive deep enough into defining what a “surge” means and exactly its happening. This may also be a helpful planning tool as families decide to make summer travel plans. Its updated every day at 11:00 AM.


Status Report – After weeks of increased cases and positivity rates in Michigan, there are a couple signs the numbers may be cresting. The most hopeful sign: The statewide positivity rate on coronavirus diagnostic tests is dropping. It was 12.1% for test results reported Friday, April 16, with a seven-day average of 14.3%. The former was the lowest one-day rate since March 26, and the latter was the lowest since April 1. The number of daily new cases also seems to be plateauing: The seven-day average rose only 2.8% last week, April 11-17, compared to the week before. And that increase is largely explained by a spike in testing: There were 22% more coronavirus tests performed last week (an average of 51,271 a day) compared to the previous seven days (41,960 daily average) — likely families returning from Spring Break, and spring sports testing policies going into effect. That said, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise — no surprise, since those are lagging factors.

Vaccine Appointments Go Unfilled — In the past few weeks all vaccine clinics – across the state and nation — are reporting a slow down in volume. In West Michigan, the region’s largest vaccine hub at DeVos Place had as many at 3,500 appointments unfilled for the week ahead. Analysts say that the slow down is due to a number of factors including the perception that its a cumbersome process. In fact, DeVos is offering next-day appointments, and so is the NOCHS clinic this week – the process could not be easier. Vaccine hesitancy is also a contributing factor, with a nationwide household survey finding 15.2% of Michigan adults hesitant to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Across the U.S. census estimates show 15.6% of all American adults are hesitant to receive the vaccine, meaning Michigan is just under national averages.

Vaccine Clinic Update —  We need to get the vaccine out, so here is how you can help. Share these links with friends and family to go directly to the appointment sign up! We are also going to suspend the notification sign-up for now, and just have the appointment scheduling link on the Web site for the time being at

Day Time Clinics This Week (4/21 & 4/23)
After Hours Clinic for Ages 16 – 18 (4/21)

Updated April 12, 2021 – 5:00 PM


  • Cases 830,957; Deaths 17,576
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 80%
  • Percentage of Population Vaccinated 39.7% 

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 60,392; Deaths 759

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 11,975; Deaths 312

Ottawa County

  • Cases 26,827; Deaths 377


The Top Three Nations Experiencing Surges — India surpassed Brazil as the country with the second-highest number of total coronavirus infections in the world—behind only the U.S.—after it hit another single-day record for newly reported cases. India recorded 168,912 new cases over the past 24 hours, its health ministry said Monday, pushing its total since the pandemic began to nearly 13.53 million infections. Only the U.S. has logged more cases with nearly 31.2 million, while Brazil has reported more than 13.48 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

U.S. Vaccination Milestone — on Saturday, a one-day record of 4.6 million vaccine doses were given. This brings the total of Americans who are vaccinated to one in four, with more than 119 million Americans having had at least one vaccine dose, and 22% of the population fully vaccinated.

CDC Director Denies Michigan Governor Request for More Vaccine — Michigan continues to dominate national headlines for dramatically increasing case numbers and hospitalizations. As of Monday, Michigan’s COVID-19 positive caseload was up by 18%. The Governor declared Michigan a “COVID Hot Spot” and asked the federal government to increase its vaccine allocation in response. CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, denied that request citing that an increase in vaccine supply will have a delayed response and is therefore not a viable solution. Instead, her recommendation is to “close things down.” Whitmer has not indicated that another shutdown is forthcoming, but did extend its workplace COVID-19 restrictions for six months and recommended that schools suspend in-person learning and sports for at least two weeks — leaving it up to individual districts to make the call.

Vaccine Tweak to Fend off Variant — Make no mistake: The vaccines currently being rolled out across the U.S. offer strong protection. But new studies of experimental updates to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines mark a critical first step toward an alternative if the virus eventually outsmarts today’s shots. We need to get out ahead of the virus mutations. Viruses constantly evolve, and the world is in a race to vaccinate millions and tamp down the coronavirus before even more mutants emerge. Mutations occur whenever any virus makes copies of itself. Usually those mistakes make no difference. But if a lot of changes pile up in the spike protein — or those changes are in especially key locations — the mutant might escape an immune system primed to watch for an intruder that looks a bit different. The good news: It’s fairly easy to update the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. They’re made with a piece of genetic code called messenger RNA that tells the body how to make some harmless spike copies that in turn train immune cells. The companies simply swapped out the original vaccine’s genetic code with mRNA for the mutated spike protein. Now experimental doses from Moderna and Pfizer are being put to the test. In suburban Atlanta, Emory asked people who received Moderna’s original vaccine a year ago in a first-stage study to also help test the updated shot. Separately, the FDA has given Pfizer/BioNTech permission to start similar testing of their own tweaked vaccine. Studies getting underway this month include a few hundred people, very different than the massive testing needed to prove the original shots work. Scientists must make sure the mRNA substitution doesn’t trigger different side effects.

Pfizer Seeking EUA Clearance From FDA for Adolescents — Pfizer on Friday requested to expand use of its COVID-19 vaccine to adolescents ages 12 to 15. The request asks the FDA to amend the emergency use authorization, which the FDA originally granted late last year for people ages 16 and up. Last week, Pfizer-BioNTech said its Phase 3 clinical trials showed its vaccine was safe and 100% effective in 12- to 15-year-olds, though the findings have not been peer-reviewed. The FDA’s review process will probably take several weeks, provided the data look good and are consistent with what was seen in adults. Pfizer’s request comes as COVID-19 infections among younger teens and kids are driving outbreaks in some states. In Michigan, for example, case rates for children ages 10 to 19 are at an all-time high, according to MDHHS.


Status Report – How fast are coronavirus cases rising in Michigan? Consider this: More cases were reported between Wednesday and Saturday, April 7-10, than the entire month of February. The seven-day positivity rate on coronavirus diagnostic tests was 15% a week ago; on Saturday, 15.9% of coronavirus test results reported were positive. Michigan reported 28,391 new cases in February compared to a total of 30,560 in the last four daily reports. A total of 70 counties have positivity rates over 10%; 56 are over 15%; 29 counties are over 20% and five counties — Sanilac, Tuscola, Huron, St. Clair and Missaukee — are over 30%. Thirteen hospitals were at 95% capacity or above on Thursday: St. Joseph Mercy Livingston (100%), McLaren-Oakland (100%), Ascension St. Joseph in Tawas City (100%), Henry Ford Macomb (99%), Sparrow (98%), McLaren Port Huron (98%), Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo (98%), St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea (98%), Hurley in Flint (97%), St. Joseph Mercy in Ann Arbor (96%), McLaren Flint (96%) Beaumont Royal Oak (95%) and Harper University/Hutzel Women’s Hospitals (95%). The state is averaging 40 deaths per day, compared to 27 just one week ago.

Vaccination Status — Here is a breakdown by age group of adults in Michigan, who have gotten at least one dose of vaccine and those who are fully immunized:

    • 75 and older: 69% initiated; 59% completed
    • 65 to 74: 69% initiated; 57% completed
    • 50 to 64: 46% initiated; 23% completed
    • 40 to 49: 30% initiated; 16% completed
    • 30 to 39: 27% initiated; 14% completed
    • 20 to 29: 18% initiated; 9% completed
    • 16 to 19: 9% initiated; 2% completed

Updated March 28, 2021 – 4:06 PM


  • Cases 723, 700; Deaths 17,047
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 77%
  • Percentage of Population Vaccinated 31% 

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 55,430; Deaths 735

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 11,053; Deaths 307

Ottawa County

  • Cases 24,150; Deaths 361


CDC Director Continues Warning U.S. of Surge Likelihood — During a White House COVID-19 briefing this weekend the CDC Director reported daily infections are up 10% from a week ago. The U.S. has reported more than 80,000 new cases in recent days – daily totals not seen since mid-February, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations are once again on the rise and deaths, a “lag” indicator, are once again averaging in excess of 1,000 per day. The combination of that, plus steadily increasing travel and a general easing in restrictions across the nation, has officials concerned.

COVID-19 Variant Update — The number of COVID-19 cases in Florida stemming from the virus’s variants has more than doubled over the past two weeks, according to the CDC. The vast majority of variant cases in Florida, as well as the U.S. in general, came from the B.1.1.7 strain, first seen in the United Kingdom. Florida also experienced a doubling of P.1, a variant initially recorded in Brazil, for a total of 42 cases. On March 20, Florida became the third state to reach 2 million infections, behind California and Texas.

Interesting National Stats – The U.S. surpassed 30 million coronavirus cases this weekend according to Johns Hopkins University data. Double-shot vaccines reduce the risk of infection by 80% after just a single dose, two or more weeks after vaccination, according to a study from the CDC. More than 180.6 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 143.4 million have been administered according to the CDC.

Vaccine Study on Pregnant Women/Babies — The research, published last Thursday in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology examined 131 vaccine recipients, including 84 who were pregnant, 31 who were breastfeeding and 16 who weren’t pregnant as a control group. Earlier studies suggested the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna would be safe and effective. But this is the largest study to date looking at the immune responses of pregnant and lactating women to vaccination. The new study, conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, both in Boston, found pregnant and nursing women receive as much protection from vaccines as non-pregnant women, and more protection than they would get from an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are based on a relatively new vaccine technology known as mRNA, which hadn’t been tested in pregnant women, so there were questions about how much protection they would provide. In terms of safety data, more than 60,000 pregnant women have now signed up for the government’s v-safe program, which monitors people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. As of the last v-safe report in February, no safety concerns were flagged.

Status Report – Michigan’s cases numbers are now at their highest rate in 2021. Young adults in their 20s have had the highest number of new cases in the past three weeks. Also significant is the rise in cases among people under age 20. In the past three weeks, people under age 20 have accounted for 21% of new cases compared to 13% last year. Daily average case rates since March 5 are up 195% for children under 10 and 205% for ages 10-19 compared to the average last year.

Michigan now has 13 of its 83 counties with a positivity rate over 15% as a seven-day average on coronavirus diagnostic tests (those counties include Macomb, Genesee, Lapeer and St. Clair). Statewide, the seven-day positivity rate on coronavirus diagnostic tests has gone from 7.4% to 10.6% in the past week. The one-day rate was 11.8% for test results reported on Saturday. Michigan has administered 3,919,796 vaccine doses as of March 25. More than 30% of Michigan adults have received a first dose of vaccine. The link below takes you to a series of charts developed by MLive based on the State’s data that help put the numbers in perspective.

Family Doctors Advocate for Vaccine to Give Patients — According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 75% of people would be very likely to get the coronavirus vaccine from their doctor and 38% chose this as their most preferred vaccination site. The Michigan Academy of Family Physicians has been seeking more vaccine allocations as a way to battle vaccine hesitancy. It has penned a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and advocated to the Michigan legislature to that effect.


Local Testing Comparison to State/National Rise — Our NOCHS lab reports that our in-house testing stats mirror what’s happening across the state and county. Our percent of positivity rate has more than doubled since March 1.  And, we are seeing a younger demographic driving that trend with marked increase of school-aged children coming in for tests, and testing positive.

NOCHS’ Donates to Tri-Cities Historical Museum — Last week, NOCHS donated empty/clean COVID-19 vaccine vials to the museum for its artifacts collection, and possible future exhibit display. Included in the donation was the very first box of Pfizer vaccine we received in December 2020, as well as subsequent Pfizer supply, and Moderna empty/clean vials. Coincidentally, on that same day last week, another donor gave the museum an artifact that was built exactly 100 years ago, called an ultraviolet light emitter. We were delighted to learn that and receive a photo (see below) from the museum showing the emitter (a machine deemed to be “quack medicine”) and our vials containing breakthrough ingenuity, juxtaposed. How incredible to see how far medical knowledge has come during the lifetime of our hospital.

Updated: March 22, 2021 – 3:09 PM


  • Cases 691, 070; Deaths 16,906
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 75%
  • Percentage of Population Vaccinated 27.1%

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 53,878; Deaths 726

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 10,828; Deaths 307

Ottawa County

  • Cases 23,332; Deaths 361


CDC Director Warns of Another U.S. Surge — Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said she’s worried the United States could see “another avoidable surge” of COVID-19 if mitigation measures (e.g. mask-wearing, physical distancing and avoiding crowds or travel) are not followed. Increasingly, states are seeing a growing proportion of their COVID-19 cases attributed variants, e.g. two newly identified variants – B.1427 and B.1429 – are estimated to account for 52% of cases in California, 41% in Nevada and 25% in Arizona. The B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, is estimated to be responsible for 9% of cases in New Jersey and 8% in Florida.

White House Asking Governors to Slow Down Restriction Relaxation – The White House is encouraging governors, as well as the private sector, to maintain or reimpose coronavirus restrictions as new case rates remain high and some states are lifting guidelines. The CDC is working to “slow down the relaxation,” but some states have lifted restrictions of restaurant capacity and other retail businesses in recent weeks, with some states relaxing mask mandates.

State-By-State Status Graphic — We get a lot of questions from the media and citizens about how our state compares to others as it relates to COVID-19 cases, mandates/restrictions, etc. We found this link to the New York Times that does a great job of taking comprehensive info and putting it into an “at-a-glance” format. It is updated periodically, so you can save the link and refer back to it later. It may also be helpful for anyone considering travel as we move into spring and summer.

Is the AstraZeneca Vaccine Safe and Effective? This vaccine is not yet approved in the U.S. but is already being administered in Europe. Preliminary data from the AstraZeneca clinical trial was released today, after reports emerged last week of nine European countries suspending its use. Today’s new data is from a large-scale clinical trial. For the trial, researchers recruited and enrolled 32,000 participants from Chile, Peru, and the United States to test the vaccine candidate’s effectiveness and safety. Among the trial’s participants, approximately 79% were white, 22% were Hispanic, 8% were Black, 4% were Native American, and 4% were Asian. Roughly 20% of participants were ages 65 and older, and about 60% had comorbidities—including cardiac disease, diabetes, and severe obesity—associated with severe cases of COVID-19. The participants received either two shots of the vaccine candidate or two saline shots administered four weeks apart. Overall, the vaccine was 79% effective in preventing symptomatic cases of COVID-19. The vaccine’s “efficacy was consistent” among participants of all ages and ethnicities — and specifically showed the vaccine was 80% effective among participants ages 65 and older. The vaccine also was 100% effective in preventing severe cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations—with no severe cases or hospitalizations occurring among the participants who had received the vaccine. The stage is now set for AstraZeneca to apply to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization, which has already been given to Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.


Status Report – Michigan is among 11 states seeing increases in COVID-19 transmission and the only state outside of Minnesota in the Upper Midwest seeing an uptick. The biggest driver of the increases are the emergence of the new COVID-19 variants, which are more contagious than the dominant strain of coronavirus. Twenty of Michigan’s 83 counties are now above a 10% positivity rate as a seven-day average on coronavirus diagnostic tests, including Macomb, Genesee, St. Clair, Eaton and Van Buren counties. Seven counties of those counties are now above 15%: Huron, Missaukee, St. Clair, Wexford, Roscommon, Tuscola and Lapeer. Statewide, the seven-day average positivity rate on coronavirus diagnostic tests is now 7.3%, up from 52% a week ago today. On Saturday, 8.5% of coronavirus test results reported were positive.On the seven-day average of new cases, the state is averaging 2,482 new cases a day, up 45% from 1,711 a week ago today. Based on this trajectory, officials across the state are voicing concern about the likelihood of another surge.

MDHHS Expands Capacity at Outdoor Stadiums/Arenas for Youth Sports — MDHHS updated its Gatherings and Mask epidemic order allowing up to 20% capacity in outdoor stadiums and arenas that establish infection control plans. The update also increases testing for youth ages 13-19 to ensure athletes can safely participate in sports. The changes to the Order go into effect Monday, March 22, and remain in effect through Monday, April 19.

MDHHS Updates Residential Care Facilities orders based on new CDC Guidance – Last week, MDHHS updated its Residential Care Facilities Order to reflect recent changes in CMS guidance for visitation. The expanded visitation program used a testing protocol to keep residents and staff safe. The updated order and accompanying guidance continues to support visitation and improve quality of life for seniors while maintaining precautions to help keep residents and staff safe. Testing is strongly encouraged prior to visitation, particularly in counties with medium or high positivity, but not required. The order went into effect immediately (March 17). Specifics include:

    • Safe communal dining and group activities for residents.
    • Inform employees and residents of any confirmed COVID-19 positive employees or residents as soon as reasonably possible, but no later than 12 hours after identification.
    • Inform legal guardians or healthcare proxies for all residents and post a visible notice in the facility, no later than 24 hours after identification of a confirmed COVID-19 positive employee or resident.
    • Report to MDHHS and the applicable local health department all presumed positive COVID-19 cases in the facility together with any additional data when required under MDHHS guidance.

Updated: March 15, 2021 – 4:09 PM


  • Cases 673,916; Deaths 16,779
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 75%
  • Percentage of Population Vaccinated 23.1%
    Note: now tracking percentage of population vaccinated, vs. percentage of available vaccine given.

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 53,009; Deaths 720

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 10,694; Deaths 307

Ottawa County

  • Cases 22,860; Deaths 359


Germany Suspends AstraZeneca Vaccine as US Considers Emergency Authorization –  The German government suspended use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine based on new reports of blood clots, even as a U.S. official said the vaccine could win U.S. approval next month. European regulators indicated the clotting problems most likely were by chance and not related to the vaccine. The German Health Ministry said the suspension was a “precaution” pending further investigation. Several other European countries have temporarily halted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in recent days to investigate cases of blood clots. AstraZeneca has said there is no cause for concern, that there were fewer reported cases of clotting in those who received the shot than in the general population.

Moderna Testing Next Gen COVID Vaccine —  Moderna has dosed the first participant in an early-stage study of a new COVID-19 vaccine candidate that could potentially be stored and shipped in refrigerators instead of freezers, making distribution easier, especially in developing countries where there are supply chain issues. The early-stage study will assess the safety and immunogenicity of the next-generation vaccine, designated as mRNA-1283, at three dose levels, and will be given to healthy adults either as a single dose or in two doses 28 days apart.

Facebook to Label Vaccine Posts in Fight Against Misinformation —  Facebook is adding informational labels to posts about vaccines as it expands efforts to counter COVID-19-related misinformation flourishing on its platforms. Labels will contain “credible information” about the vaccines from the World Health Organization.


Status Report – Michigan is now averaging a 5% positivity rate on COVID-19 diagnostic tests. That’s the state’s highest seven-day average since Jan. 31. The seven-day average of new cases also has been rising. and is now 1,636, up 34% from 1,132 a week ago and the highest seven-day average since Feb. 3. Seeing a spike of up to about 7% in Regions 5, 3, and 2 south (we are in Region 6).

Vaccine Eligibility Expands — To continue progress toward state’s goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders over age 16 and bringing a quicker end to the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, the state is expanding vaccination eligibility for Michiganders ages 16 and older with disabilities or medical conditions that put them at a high risk of negative COVID-19 outcome beginning Monday, March 22. The state is also announcing that beginning Monday, April 5, all Michiganders age 16 and up who were not previously eligible will be eligible to receive a vaccine.

Updated: March 8, 2021 – 2:09 PM


  • Cases 656,072; Deaths 16,658
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 74%
  • Vaccinations Given 2,505,493 (as of 3/4/21)
  • Percentage of vaccines administered 82%

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 52,304; Deaths 717

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 10,607; Deaths 306

Ottawa County

  • Cases 22,541; Deaths 357


New CDC Guidelines Released Today — New guidelines from CDC say people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely visit with other vaccinated people and small groups of unvaccinated people in some circumstances, but there are still important safety precautions needed. The CDC defines people who are fully vaccinated as those who are two weeks past their second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines or two weeks past a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. There is growing evidence that people who are vaccinated don’t spread COVID-19, but scientists are still trying to understand how long vaccine protection lasts. The new CDC guidance says fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit other vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing
  • Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household without masks or physical distancing, if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease

Variant Cases Doubled in US Since mid-Feb —  The U.S. added a record 380 new coronavirus variant cases Sunday, continuing a trend that has seen the country double its known total of such coronavirus infections since Feb. 18. Different versions of the virus that causes COVID-19 are spreading quickly even as the pace of new infections has generally been falling nationwide. The variants can spread more easily, dodge some treatments and immunities or both, leaving them a threat even as more Americans get vaccinated. The U.S. has 3,133 known variant cases, up from the 2,753 reported Thursday by the CDC. Most of America’s known variant cases are of B.1.1.7, which was first seen in the United Kingdom, with 3,037. Vaccines have proved effective against it, but the variant is considered at least 50% more infectious than the original strain, making fast, widespread vaccination imperative.


Status Report – For the first time since Feb. 8, Michigan’s seven-day average positivity rate on coronavirus diagnostic tests is now 4%. For the past three and a half weeks, the rate had ranged from 3.3% to 3.9%. Along with the rise in the positivity rate, the seven-day average of new cases also has increased. It’s currently 1,210, a 11% increase compared to an average of 1,095 a week ago. It’s the first time in four weeks the seven-day average has exceeded 1,200.

Vaccine Eligibility Expands — Michiganders over age 50 with medical conditions and disabilities and caregivers of children with special health care needs will be eligible March 8; all Michiganders over age 50 eligible March 22. This change follows the announcement by President Joe Biden that ramped-up production will provide enough doses for 300 million Americans by the end May, and FDA’s authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for adults ages 18 and older.

Governor Eases Gathering Restrictions — In case you missed the news last week, starting March 5 (through April 19) capacity changes include:

  • Restaurants and bars are allowed to be at 50% capacity up to 100 people. Tables must be six feet apart with no more than six people per table. There is now an 11 p.m. curfew.
  • Indoor non-residential gatherings where people interact across households are permitted up to 25 people, allowing public meetings and other small indoor gatherings to resume.
  • Outdoor non-residential gatherings where people interact across households are permitted up to 300, allowing larger outdoor events to resume.
  • Indoor entertainment venues are allowed to be at 50% capacity, up to 300 people.
  • Exercise facilities are allowed to be at 30% capacity with restrictions on distancing and mask requirements.
  • Retail is allowed to be at 50% capacity.
  • Casinos are allowed to be at 30% capacity.
  • Indoor stadiums and arenas are allowed have 375 if seating capacity is under 10,000; 750 if seating capacity is over 10,000.
  • Outdoor entertainment and recreational facilities may host up to 1,000 patrons.

Indoor residential gatherings are now limited to 15 people from three households, while outdoor residential gatherings can include up to 50 people. The epidemic order continues to temporarily pause other venues and activities where participants have close physical contacts and are not consistently masked, like water parks. As before, employees who work in jobs that cannot be performed from home can continue to go to work, while employees who can work from home should continue to do so.

Michigan Makes Homeless Eligible for Vaccine —  People who are homeless will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in our state, starting today. Vulnerable populations are a high priority to ensure Michigan does not continue to have outbreaks in shelters.

Updated: March 1, 2021 – 3:29 PM


  • Cases 645,550; Deaths 16,508 (this number decreased due to an adjustment)
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 74%
  • Vaccinations Given 2,131,955 (as of 2/26/21)
  • Percentage of vaccines administered 81%

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 51,718; Deaths 710

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 10,568; Deaths 305

Ottawa County

  • Cases 22,317; Deaths 352

Warning About Complacency — Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Sunday that Americans shouldn’t get complacent about following mitigation measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 as the number of new cases is leveling off despite more Americans receiving vaccines. While there has been a drop in the number of new cases and hospitalizations since early January, declines could be stalling at a high number, which is of concern. As of Friday, the seven-day average is just under 73,000 new infections. “That’s exactly the thing that happened during previous surges,” Fauci said. “As it peaked and started to come down, people withdrew some of the intensity of the public health measures and it stabilized at a very high level. That’s dangerous.”  He stressed Americans should continue to comply with public health measures, and get vaccinated.

How the J&J Vaccine Works/Efficacy –  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. It is made from an inactivated adenovirus, the virus that causes the common cold, and contains a piece of DNA that instructs the body to make the COVID-19 spike protein. This triggers an immune system response, giving you protection should you ever be exposed to the real virus in the future. The use of genetic instructions makes the Johnson & Johnson vaccine similar — but not exactly the same — to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which contain mRNA that instructs the body to make the COVID-19 spike protein. You cannot get COVID-19 or a cold from any of the authorized vaccines, because they do not contain live virus.  In clinical trials, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 85% effective in preventing severe/critical illness and 66% effective in preventing symptomatic illness 28 days after vaccination. Importantly, it was 100% effective in preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are 95% and 94.1% effective in preventing symptomatic illness, respectively, but they were tested before the new, more contagious variants emerged. The J&J vaccine was tested against the new concerning variants and still performed well.

J&J Looking for Partners to Ramp Up Supply – Johnson & Johnson is looking for manufacturing partnerships to increase supply of its COVID-19 vaccine that was cleared Saturday by U.S. regulators for people aged 18 year and up.. It will deliver 3.9 million doses of its one-shot vaccine within the next 24 to 48 hours. The company wants to speed up its timeline of supplying enough vaccines to immunize 20 million Americans by the end of the month and a total of 100 million by the end of June. Its CEO was quoted in the media stating, “we are doing everything we can partnering with the U.S. government and other external manufacturers to see what we can do to accelerate and increase that number, as well.”


Status Report – The percentage of positive cases, as compared to overall tests, has remained fairly steady in the last several days. As of last Friday, the rate was 3.38%. Also as of Friday, there were 541,258 recoveries.

Statewide Vaccine Update – Michigan is slated to get its biggest weekly distribution of vaccine to date, more than twice the 200,000-some weekly doses allocated to Michigan during February. This week’s shipments should include 82,700 doses of the newly approved J&J vaccine. The state also is getting 113,490 first doses and 99,450 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 98,200 first doses and 98,200 second doses of the Moderna vaccine.  That means 294,390 people will be able to get start the vaccine process, and — thanks to the fact the J&J vaccine requires only one shot — 280,350 more people will be fully vaccinated by the time all those doses are administered. To date, almost 17% of Michigan adults have gotten at least one dose of vaccine and almost 10% are fully vaccinated. Almost 40% of those age 65 to 74 and 44% of those age 75 and older have gotten at least one vaccine dose, state data show.

Michigan Continues Focus on Equitable Vaccine Strategy/Now Tracking Race Data – 
According to data reported as of 2/22/21, 1,252,497 Michigan residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and 547,163 of those individuals do not have race information recorded. Only 56% of reported COVID-19 vaccine doses have race data recorded, a number MDHHS is actively working to improve. Race data collected over the vaccine implementation period shows of those vaccinated:

  • 43.7% are unknown.
  • 41.7% are white.
  • 9.5% are listed as other.
  • 3.7% are Black.
  • 1.1% are Asian or Pacific Islander.
  • 0.3% are American Indian/Alaskan Native race.

A direct entry tool is now live and allows this information to be entered directly into Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR) and immunization providers across the state are asked to submit race data for all vaccines administered. Before the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, race and ethnicity information could not be submitted as a data field to MCIR.

Updated: February 22, 2021 – 4:21 PM


  • Cases 637,928; Deaths 16,343 (*includes probable)
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 71%
  • Vaccinations Given 1,787,509 (as of 2/18/21)
  • Percentage of vaccines administered 77%

Kent County
Confirmed Cases 51,206; Deaths 702

Muskegon County
Confirmed Cases 10,539; Deaths 304
*(change/reduction due to reclassification)

Ottawa County
Cases 22,134; Deaths 347

U.S. Nears 500,000 COVID Deaths – The U.S. COVID death toll is expected to report a half million COVID related deaths today. The U.S. has by far the highest death toll, with at least 498,901 lives lost, followed by Brazil with 246,504 fatalities, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. With 525,600 minutes in one year, 500,000 deaths is equivalent to approximately one American dying from COVID-19 per minute for almost an entire year. One in every 656 Americans has now succumbed to the virus. President Biden will mark the U.S. crossing 500,000 lives lost from COVID-19 with a moment of silence and candle lighting ceremony at the White House

64 Million Covid-19 Vaccines Administered in the US – More than 64 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reported that 64,177,474 total doses have been administered – about 85% of the 75,205,940 doses delivered. That’s about 1.1 million more administered doses reported since yesterday.

About 13% of the US population — more than 44.1 million people — have now received at least one dose of vaccine, and nearly 6% of the population – about 19.4 million people —have been fully vaccinated with two doses, CDC data shows.

FDA Committee to Review J&J’s COVID-19 Vaccine Thursday – The Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet Thursday to review and vote on whether or not to recommend Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, signaling that a third inoculation against the coronavirus could be on the horizon. If the panel votes to recommend the vaccine, it could receive Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as soon as Friday. Johnson & Johnson has also submitted data to the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use listing of its COVID-19 vaccine, which would allow for global access to the one-dose shot.

Novavax Completes Enrollment of Phase 3 Study of its Covid-19 Vaccine in the United States and Mexico – The trial has enrolled 30,000 volunteers across 118 locations. The company’s announcement also included the diversity breakdown of its trial participants, with 20% identifying as LatinX, 13% as Black, 6% as Native American, and 5% as Asian American. The announcement noted that 13% of volunteers are 65 and older. In January, Novavax announced that early results from a Phase 3 trial in the UK show its coronavirus vaccine has an efficacy of 89.3%.

Negotiations for President Biden’s $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Bill Begin – The House Budget Committee meets today to mark-up the 591-page bill and work to pass it out of Committee. The goal is to pass the bill and get it signed by the President by March 14.


Status Report – New coronavirus cases continued to decline as state health leaders reported 635 cases and 63 deaths on Saturday. Michigan now has a total of 579,919 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began nearly a year ago and 15,359 deaths. The percentage of positive COVID-19 tests, as compared to overall tests, remained steady at just over 3 percent.

Statewide Vaccine Update – Almost 1.2 million Michigan residents have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination, based on the latest numbers posted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. A total of 1,740,608 vaccine doses had been administered as of Wednesday, Feb. 17, the state’s coronavirus dashboard indicates. That includes 1,170,886 first doses and 569,722 second doses. This means 14.4% of Michigan residents age 16 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far, up from 12.5% on Feb. 10. About 7% of adults are now fully vaccinated, up from 5% a week ago.

Organ Transplant Patient Dies After Receiving COVID-Infected Lungs – Doctors say a woman in Michigan contracted COVID-19 and died last fall two months after receiving a tainted double-lung transplant from a donor who turned out to harbor the virus that causes the disease — despite showing no signs of illness and initially testing negative.

Officials at the University of Michigan Medical School suggested it may be the first proven case of COVID-19 in the U.S. in which the virus was transmitted via an organ transplant. A surgeon who handled the donor lungs was also infected with the virus and fell ill but later recovered.

Updated: February 16, 2021 – 9:13 AM


  • Cases 630,408; Deaths 16,130 (*includes probable)
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 73%
  • Vaccinations Given 1,517,959 (as of 2/11/21)
  • Percentage of vaccines administered 74%

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 50,739; Deaths 691

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 10,572; Deaths 304

*(change/reduction due to reclassification)

Ottawa County

  • Cases 21,895; Deaths 344


Pharmacies Now Offering COIVD-19 Vaccines
The federal government has started sending supplies of COVID-19 vaccines to 21 national drugstore chains and to independent pharmacies in a move to accelerate distribution. The program will be implemented in stages, based on available vaccine supplies, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pharmacies and retailers are also partnering with states to help speed the immunization effort. National drugstore chains CVS Health and Walgreens are among those getting supplies of COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government. But getting a shot isn’t as easy as walking through the pharmacy door. Consumers are instead being discouraged from flocking to the stores, but rather get in line by making an appointment online or the phone. For a state-by-state, and company breakdown on progress, here is a link to the full article by CBS News:

Oxford University Study Includes Children
Oxford University is extending its COVID-19 vaccine study to includes children, some as young as six years of age. Together with three partner sites in London, Southampton and Bristol, Oxford will launch the first study to learn how children and young adults (ages 6 to 17) respond to the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine.

Schedule Your Mammogram Around COVID-19 Vaccination, Experts Say
There is new advice from the Society of Breast Imaging about when to schedule your mammogram if you are also going to get the COVID-19 vaccine soon. First, don’t delay care if there is any kind of concern. But if scheduling a routine mammogram and you are also eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the advice is to either schedule your screening before getting the shot or wait until four to six weeks after getting the second dose of vaccine to get your mammogram. Vaccines can lead to temporary swelling in the lymph nodes and this could make results of the mammogram difficult to interpret.

New COVID Variant with Five Mutations Identified in California 
A new SARS-CoV-2 variant, CAL.20C, has been detected in southern California amid a surge in local infections and is spreading through and beyond the United States, according to research letter published yesterday in JAMA (Journal of American Medicine). Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles analyzed COVID-19 strains before and after the surge in cases in southern California in October 2020. Before October, most coronavirus strains there originated from the 20C clade (group of viruses evolved from the same ancestor), which emerged in New York via Europe in the early stages of the pandemic. The researchers randomly sequenced and analyzed 185 SARS-CoV-2 samples from those collected from all CSMC COVID-19 hospital and clinic patients from Nov 22 to Dec 28, 2020. Using Nextstrain, a group of open-source tools for visualizing the genetics behind the transmission of viral outbreaks, they also evaluated the evolutionary development and diversification of the samples and those of 1,480 globally representative genomes. They identified two strains behind two main COVID-19 clusters, the smaller of which was from the 20G lineage (currently the largest clade in North America). But a bigger cluster was made up of the new CAL.20C variant. The mutations affect the COVID-19 spike protein and could enable easier binding to cells. Researchers note that clinical outcomes have yet to be established, thus the functional effect of this strain regarding infectivity and disease severity remains uncertain. Nevertheless, the identification of this novel strain is important to frontline and global surveillance of this evolving virus.


Status Report
Monday, Feb. 15, coronavirus data by Michigan county: 60 of 83 counties seeing drops in case numbers, compared to the week before, and 57 counties saw a drop in positivity rates. The statewide seven-day average positivity rate is now 3.7% compared to 4.2% a week ago. Meanwhile, the seven-day average of new daily cases is now 939 new cases a day, a 27% drop compared to an average of 1,287 a week ago.

Rite Aid, Meijer Scheduling COVID Vaccine Appointments for Eligible Washtenaw County Residents
On Friday, Feb. 12 Rite Aid pharmacy locations throughout the county began administering vaccinations to people in the current eligibility groups, which includes health care providers, long-term care residents and staff, public health employees, essential workers and those age 65 and older, health officials said. Health care workers and people age 65 and older are also being scheduled for vaccinations at select Meijer Pharmacies throughout Washtenaw County.

Updated: February 8, 2021 – 5:13 PM

Cases 622,813; Deaths 15,863 (*includes probable)
Statewide Bed Occupancy 73%
Vaccinations Given 1,186,630 (as of 2/4/21)
Percentage of vaccines administered 65%

Kent County
Confirmed Cases 49,976; Deaths 673

Muskegon County
Confirmed Cases 10,373; Deaths 303*
*(change/reduction due to reclassification)

Ottawa County
Cases 21,549; Deaths 338


Johnson & Johnson submits FDA application for COVID-19 vaccine
Last week Johnson & Johnson submitted an application to the FDA for emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine uses a single shot regimen, as opposed to the two-dose regimen Pfizer and Moderna use. It also uses an adenovirus, which creates coronavirus proteins within the body that could prepare the immune system to fend off COVID-19. Adenovirus vaccines do not need to be stored in frozen settings and can remain stable in refrigerated conditions for months, unlike Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines.

Johnson & Johnson said its vaccine is 66 percent effective in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 cases 28 days after participants received their shot, with the earliest onset of protection being observed just 14 days after receiving the shot. The announcement was based on data from a phase 3 clinical trial that took place in the U.S., Latin America and South Africa.

The drugmaker found the vaccine to be 85 percent effective in preventing severe COVID-19 cases 28 days after vaccination. Johnson & Johnson also said its vaccine showed complete protection against COVID-related hospitalization and death.

U.S. Cases Continue to Drop, Health Experts Warn Do Not Let Your Guard Down With New Variants
While a recent dip in COVID-19 infections may seem encouraging, experts warn now is not the time for Americans to let their guard down. That’s largely because of new variants circulating in the US, putting the country once again in the “eye of the hurricane.”

Nearly 700 cases of Covid-19 variants first spotted in the UK, South Africa and Brazil have been reported in the US so far, according to data updated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Covid deaths continue to be more than 3,000 per day. CDC says to continue to social distance, wear a multi-layered mask, wash your hands and avoid travel.

South Africa pauses AstraZeneca vaccine rollout
South African health officials said Sunday they’re pausing the country’s rollout of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine after a small study showed it offered reduced protection from the COVID-19 variant first identified there. During a briefing on Sunday, South Africa Minister of Health Dr. Zweli Mkhize said the hold would be temporary while scientists figure out how to most effectively deploy the AstraZeneca vaccine. Mkhize said South Africa will move forward with the deployment of vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson.

NFL offers all stadiums to serve as COVID-19 vaccination sites
The National Football League, in a letter to President Joe Biden, offered all 30 of its stadiums for use as COVID-19 mass vaccination sites. The offer adds to the seven NFL stadiums currently being used as mass vaccination sites.


COVID-19 Variant Confirmed in Kent County
A coronavirus case with the UK variant strain B.1.1.7, which is believed to more contagious than the primary strain, has been found in a Kent County resident. The variant is approximately 50% more transmissible, leading to faster spread of the virus and potentially increasing numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, the Kent County Health Department.

Indoor Sports Resume Today
Contact sports that can be played with a mask can proceed with contact practice and competition beginning today, Monday Feb. 8. Where contact sport participants cannot remain masked, they must be tested consistent with testing protocols specified by the MDHHS. Non-contact sports where distancing can be maintained and a mask is not possible continue with no changes. See graphic from MDHHS here.

Gathering Guidelines — see graphic from MDHHS here.

Updated: February 1, 2021 – 5:13 PM


  • Cases 610,138; Deaths 15,525 (*includes probable)
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 73%
  • Vaccinations Given 909,038 (as of 1/28/21)
  • Percentage of vaccines administered 61%

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 49,242; Deaths 656

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 10,267; Deaths 334

Ottawa County

  • Cases 21,226; Deaths 324


Status Update — January has surpassed December as the most deadly month for COVID-19 in the U.S. claiming the lives of more than 95,000 people. according to Johns Hopkins University data. Prior to December, April claimed the most lives with 60,750 deaths reported.

At-Home-Testing — The U.S. announced a $230 million deal with a coronavirus test-maker, Australia-based Ellume, to provide Americans with non-prescription, at-home, nasal swab tests that deliver results to a user’s smartphone (via Bluetooth) in as little as 15 minutes. Results are able to then be reported to area health officials. The tests can detect results with 90% accuracy and will eventually be rolled out in the U.S. at a rate of about 8.5 million tests per month, though no specific launch date is available as of yet. The tests were authorized by he FDA in December.

Federal Mask Mandate — The order takes effect today at 11:59 p.m. ET, requiring all operators and “passengers on public conveyances” traveling into or within the U.S. to wear masks that cover nose/mouth. Order applies to passengers on airplanes, buses, ferries, ride-shares, ships, subways, taxis, trains, and taxis; and requires face masks worn in transportation hubs. Masks can be homemade or manufactured, but some types of face coverings will not qualify, including bandanas; face shields; masks with exhalation valves, slits, or punctures; and masks that are too big or don’t fit properly. Exceptions include: children ages two and younger, individuals who have disabilities that prevent them from safely wearing a face mask. The order also states that individuals who violate the new requirements could face criminal penalties or civil penalties for violating federal law. However, the order notes that CDC “does not intend to rely primarily on these criminal penalties but instead strongly encourages and anticipates widespread voluntary compliance.”


Overall Status Report – Michigan now has 37 of its 83 counties below a 5% coronavirus positivity rate, including Oakland, Washtenaw, Genesee and Bay. That’s based on a seven-day average of coronavirus diagnostic test results reported from Jan. 23 through 29. Staying below 5% is the recommendation of the World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

MI Safe Start Status — Starting today indoor dining at restaurants, concessions at casinos, movie theaters and stadiums; personal services requiring mask removal are allowed to be open at 25% capacity. Non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households are also allowed. The order lasts three weeks, until Sunday, Feb. 21.

Vaccination Distribution Delays UPDATE– Michigan is still experiencing significant delays in getting vaccine to vaccination sites. With shortages still happening at the State level, vaccine allotments continue to be rationed. Expectations are that the supply chain will loosen in the coming weeks, but many states and local communities continue to struggle with far more demand than supply. The State has voiced that it plans to put more control in the hands of county public health departments to determine how much vaccine is needed overall, and identify where pockets of disparities exist.

Updated: January 25, 2021 – 5:23 PM


  • Cases 596,746; Deaths 15,181 (*includes probable)
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 73%
  • Vaccinations Given 642,111 (as of 1/21/21))
  • Percentage of vaccines administered 58%

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 48,320; Deaths 636

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 10,144; Deaths 290

Ottawa County

  • Cases 20,765; Deaths 324


U.S. To Impose Travel Ban — The ban would prevent most non-U.S. citizens from entry hailing from South Africa where the new strain has been identified. Broader restrictions to limit non-U.S. citizens traveling from the United Kingdom, Ireland and much of Europe, as well as travelers from Brazil would also be included.

Vaccine Efficacy for Virus Mutation –  Moderna reported that lab studies show its COVID-19 vaccine would remain protective against virus variants first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa. But out of caution, the company will test adding a second booster of its vaccine — to make three shots in total — and has begun preclinical studies on a booster specifically for the South African variant.

Biden Vaccination Plan —  Click the red button below to view the Biden Administration’s National Vaccine Plan.


Overall Status Report – Exactly a month after Christmas Day, Michigan’s coronavirus numbers continue on a downward trend. Michigan now has a 5.9% positivity rate as a seven-day average on coronavirus diagnostic tests, down from 8.9% a month ago. There were 1,843 hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as of Saturday, down from 3,204 a month ago. The seven-day average for confirmed coronavirus deaths is now 70 deaths a day, down from 108.

COVID Variant in Michigan UPDATE— This weekend, additional cases of the variant B.1.1.7 have been detected in a Wayne County resident and among people associated with the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. MDHHS identified a variant case in an adult male who lives in Wayne County through a specimen sent to the department’s Bureau of Laboratories. The laboratory also detected the variant in specimens from two adult females associated with the U-M, which previously had three B.1.1.7 cases identified. B.1.1.7 spreads more easily between people, but there has been no indication that it affects the clinical outcomes or disease severity compared to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has been circulating across the United States for months. Further, the vaccine is believed to be effective against this mutation.

MI Safe Start Status — MDHHS released its order Friday, Jan. 22 allowing indoor dining at restaurants with certain requirements; concessions at casinos, movie theaters and stadiums; personal services requiring mask removal; and non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households. The order will last three weeks, until Sunday, Feb. 21. MDHHS based its decisions on the following:

  • Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients has been in seven-week decline, with current capacity at 9.9% for beds with COVID-19 patients. Peaked at 19.6% on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
  • Overall case rates:  Currently at 225 cases per million. Peaked at 740 cases per million on Saturday, Nov. 14, plateaued after a decline to 239 on Friday, Dec. 25 and has been in decline for 11 days.
  • Positivity rate: currently at 6.8% and declining.

Vaccination Distribution Delays — Michigan has set a goal of administering 50,000 vaccine doses a day. If this was happening, we would have 70% of people aged 16 and older inoculated by the end of summer. But, at the rate we are going now (29,000/day +/-) it will take a year. The issue is not capacity, its supplies. The State is only receiving 60,000 doses of Pfizer a week. A Moderna supply is being used in rural locations and in nursing homes and is slowly rolling out to supplement the Pfizer shortage. But it’s still not enough. We only have about half of what we need to inoculate on pace. The Governor request permission from the Trump Administration to buy 100,000 doses directly from Pfizer (located in MI), but did not get an answer. At this point it is not clear if the request will be resubmitted to the Biden Administration to be considered as part of its multi-tiered national strategy.

Updated: January 18, 2021 – 3:58 PM


  • Cases 581,785; Deaths 14,669 (*includes probable)
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 75%
  • Vaccinations Given 405,992 (as of 1/10/21)
  • Percentage of vaccines administered 49%

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 47,241; Deaths 612

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 9,992; Deaths 381

Ottawa County

  • Cases 20,198; Deaths 308


General Updates — The number of deaths across the world from COVID-19 passed the 2 million mark Friday, just over a year after the coronavirus was first detected in China, according the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. For a frame of reference, two million people is about the equivalent of the entire population of Brussels or Vienna.

Vaccine Update — In the U.S., the mayors of several cities have asked the incoming Biden administration to send COVID-19 vaccine shipments directly to them, bypassing state governments, saying local officials were best positioned to ramp up lagging inoculations. Also, acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine continues to improve, a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds. Now 56% of those surveyed say they will get the vaccine as soon it was available to them, a jump of 10 percentage points since the USA Today poll in December, and up 30 points since October. Most of the shift has come from those who were reluctant to get the vaccine until others had taken it first. Those who expressed that view made up 47% in October, 32% in December and just 22% now.


COVID Variant Detected in Michigan — The first Michigan case of a new COVID-19 variant has been identified in a Washtenaw County woman, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services announced Saturday. The person recently traveled to UK where the variant, B.1.1.7., originated. Two new cases have been identified from close contacts with the person, but it is not known if they are infected with the variant of the virus.While this is the only known case in Michigan, it is possible there are more that have not been identified. B.1.1.7. is believed to be more contagious, but there is no indication that it affects the clinical outcomes or disease severity compared to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Status Update — The rate of positive COVID tests continues to drop and was at 6.06% on Friday. On Jan. 5, the rate was at 10.46%. As of Friday, there were 2,200 adults in Michigan hospitals with suspected or confirmed coronavirus, down from 2,900 patients slightly more than two weeks ago

Vaccination Distribution Delays — Who is the keeper of the vaccine and when will it get to local vaccination sites? A question easier asked than answered. In response to national reporting about U.S. Health & Human Services vaccine distribution delays to states, like Michigan, Michigan Hospital Association issued the following statement last Friday:

“Michigan hospitals have been working around the clock to vaccinate more than 243,000 Michiganders for weeks, all while calling for clear and consistent communication from the federal government. The Washington Post article published today stating that U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) began releasing vaccine reserves several weeks ago, prior and in contradiction to their announcement this week that those reserves would be made available now, is extremely troubling. If true, it is a total failure of operational management and communication at the federal level. We call on HHS to immediately clarify what vaccines are available now, and what will be available in the coming days and weeks, so that our hospitals can plan accordingly.”

Updated: January 11, 2021 – 4:50 PM

Cases 562,553; Deaths 14,145 (*includes probable)
Statewide Bed Occupancy 75%
Vaccinations Given 233,085 (as of 1/10/21)

Kent County
Confirmed Cases 45,835; Deaths 592

Muskegon County
Confirmed Cases 9,763; Deaths 275

Ottawa County
Cases 19,533; Deaths 296


Vaccine Update — The World Health Organization’s chief scientist has warned that even as numerous countries start rolling out vaccination programs to stop COVID-19, herd immunity is highly unlikely this year. WHO stated in a media briefing today that populations must continue to maintain strict social distancing and other outbreak control measures for the foreseeable future. “Even if it [herd immunity] happens in a couple of pockets, in a few countries, it’s not going to protect people across the world.” Scientists typically estimate that a vaccination rate of about 70% is needed for herd immunity, where entire populations are protected against a disease. But some fear that the extremely infectious nature of COVID-19 could require a significantly higher threshold. Where are we currently? By the end of this month, about 30% of the American public will have been infected, and another 10%+/- will have been vaccinated.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC News that  he expects a larger part of the population to become eligible to receive the vaccine ahead of schedule. The former Food and Drug Administration commissioner cited hesitancy to receive the vaccine among Americans, which he believes will remain in place as the number of available doses increases.

Remdesivir Therapy Efficacy — Remdesivir should be effective against new COVID strains first identified in the U.K. and South Africa, said the manufacturer of the drug, Gilead Sciences. The company is currently conducting tests against the variants to make sure. “Remdesivir works at the source in the cell where the virus replicates, and what we know is in these new variants, that part of the cell is not changing at all in fact,” said Gilead’s CEO, also noting that Gilead studied the antiviral’s efficacy against more than 2,000 virus strains.


Status Update — The next two weeks should tell us whether Michigan will experience a post-holiday surge. Limited testing and uneven reporting of numbers during the holidays mean trendlines are unreliable around from Christmas and New Year’s. Then last week, the numbers went up, which may have been a result of reporting agencies catching up with backlogged data and COVID-19 patients who held off testing during the holidays finally seeing a doctor. Where are we currently? Michigan’s seven-day average of new cases is 3,136 (11% increase from a week ago today). The seven-day average positivity rate is 9.1% (down a bit from 9.2% a week ago). Forty-three counties now have positivity rate of 10% or higher, compared to 32 counties on Dec. 21.

Beginning today Jan. 11, by the Governor’s order, category 1B is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 1B includes: those aged 65 and older; frontline essential workers including police officers, first responders, frontline state and federal workers and jail and prison staff; and preK-12 teachers and childcare providers. While this is great news, it presents challenges. (See attached).  Requests for vaccine in the state surpassed federal allocations for the upcoming week by more than 210,000 doses. Vaccination partners in Michigan requested 270,000 doses from the federal government, while the total vaccine allocation to Michigan for the week was 60,000 doses. In short, we have a significant bottleneck.


Temporary Symptomatic Lab Changes Hours — The symptomatic lab will now only be open from 1:00PM  to 2:00PM Monday through Friday. Please read more here.

Updated: January 4, 2021 – 5:37 PM

Cases 538,121; Deaths 13,306 (*includes probable)
Statewide Bed Occupancy 67%
Vaccinations Given 121,296 (as of 12/29 from MHA)
Percentage of vaccines administered 32% (up from low 20s last week according to MHA)

Kent County
Confirmed Cases 44,380; Deaths 566

Muskegon County
Confirmed Cases 9,533; Deaths 262

Ottawa County
Cases 18,876; Deaths 281


Vaccine Update — On Monday, Britain became the first nation to use the vaccine developed by Oxford University and drug maker AstraZeneca, a vaccine not yet been authorized for emergency use in the U.S. In the U.S., an estimated 20 million vaccinations were expected to be given December. In reality, less than 5 million were administered by month’s end. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci said there is “some glimmer of hope” – with 1.5 million shots administered in a recent 72-hour period.

Federal Stimulus/Relief Bill — The final relief and government funding bill totals $2.3 billion. Below is a link that provides a good overview of the how the money will be divvied up. Of note to the healthcare industry, an additional $68B is appropriated for vaccine distribution including $20B to ensure that there is no cost to the individual. Read Here.


Status Update — The seven-day average of new cases (up by 8%) and positivity rate (up to 9.2%) are rising in many counties. That could be a sign of a new surge, or statistical noise: Limited coronavirus testing and uneven reporting of numbers during the holidays means the trendlines are unreliable right now. In fact, anticipate that coronavirus numbers could well continue to go up over the next several days simply as reporting agencies catch up with backlogged data and COVID-19 patients who held off testing during the holidays get tested now.

Updated: December 28, 2020 – 2:57 PM


  • Cases 516,326; Deaths 12,690 (*includes probable)
  • Statewide Bed Occupancy 71%
  • Vaccinations Given 2,708 (as of Fri. Dec. 17, 2020)

Kent County

  • Confirmed Cases 42,373; Deaths 525

Muskegon County

  • Confirmed Cases 9,056; Deaths 252

Ottawa County

  • Cases 18,157; Deaths 262


Vaccine Update — The New York Times publishes two comprehensive on-line trackers that are routinely updated (usually every few days) — one for vaccines and the other for treatment/therapies. It tells us where we are, globally, in terms of research, development, and distribution and implementation. Whether you need a quick overview, or want a deep dive, it’s fascinating.

Federal Stimulus/Relief Bill — The President signed a sweeping $900 billion pandemic-aid bill on Sunday night ending a standoff with Congress. In signing the bill, the president called on Congress to increase the size of direct payments to Americans. The House will vote this evening on the legislation to increase the checks to $2,000, up from $600 per adult and per child for individuals with adjusted gross incomes under $75,000. It is unclear if the Senate will take up the measure.


Status Update — The Christmas holiday weekend means there’s a lot of statistical noise around the latest coronavirus numbers. MDHHS posted numbers on Saturday, Dec. 26, that included data from Thursday and Friday, as well as Saturday. But the slowdown in people being tested over the holiday weekend — as well as the likelihood testing labs and local public health department were short-staffed in people who report the data — means the numbers are very likely incomplete. That said, Michigan’s seven-day average of new cases is now 2,640, a 34% drop from 4,010 a week ago today. The seven-day average positivity rate is now 8.3%, down from 9.9% a week ago.

Updated: December 21, 2020 – 4:57 PM


Michigan — Cases 496,056; Deaths 12,074 (*includes probable)Statewide Bed Occupancy 76%
Vaccinations Given 2,708 (as of Fri. Dec. 17, 2020)

Kent County — Confirmed Cases 41,078; Deaths 503

Ottawa County — Cases 17,574; Deaths 241
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 9,025; Deaths 240


New Virus Strain Hits Europe — A new variant of the virus is now circulating in England. Officials have sounded the alarm about the possibility of a highly contagious form of the virus, resulting in some European countries imposing travel restrictions. Scientists point out, however, that human behavior is the primary reason the virus has spread so quickly, and why cases continue to increase across the world, particularly in the U.S. Experts also say the novel coronavirus also does not mutate as much as influenza, meaning it is less likely that a vaccine would need to be developed every year — adding the current vaccines, as well as those that are still candidates for FDA EAU approval, should still work against it.

Vaccine Update — One week after Pfizer received the first Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for its COVID-19 vaccine, a second manufacturer also received EAU on Dec. 17, Moderna. A nurse at a hospital in Connecticut became one of the first people in the U.S. to receive the Moderna vaccine today. This vaccine can be stored at -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit), much lower than Pfizer’s vaccine which must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit), making it easier to distribute. The Federal government expects to have delivered 20 million doses of vaccine by the end of the year.

Next up to receive the vaccine will be long-term care facilities (staff and residents) that account for more than a third of the state’s overall coronavirus death total, which has surpassed 11,000. After that, come difficult choices on other essential workers including teachers, day-care workers, workers in food supply, utilities, transportation, at homeless shelters, jails and funeral homes. County Health Departments are developing plans for this prioritization now.


Status Update — For the first time in weeks, a Michigan county went for a week without a positive coronavirus tests. Michigan also had no counties with a positivity rate above 20% last week and only two counties (Hillsdale and Kalkaska) had an average positivity rate above 15%. Statewide, Michigan’s seven-day average of new cases is now 4,010, a 21% drop from 5,106 a week ago today. The seven-day average positivity rate is now 9.9%, down from 11.6% a week ago. This is the first time in six weeks that the state’s positivity rate has dropped below 10%.

Updated: December 14, 2020 – 5:57 PM


Michigan — Cases 472,780; Deaths 11,289 (*includes probable)
Kent County — Cases 37,771; Deaths 455
Ottawa County — Cases 16,725; Deaths 218
Muskegon County — Cases 8,642; Deaths 222; Deaths 195


Grim Milestone — The number of coronavirus deaths in the United States crossed 300,000 on Monday, according to Reuters tally, as the hardest hit nation rolled out its first vaccine inoculations on Monday.

Vaccine Update — Late last week Friday, the FDA approved Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. This Thursday, Moderna’s vaccine candidate will also be considered for and EUA.


Status Update — Michigan health officials reported a two-day total of 7,205 new coronavirus cases and 90 new deaths for Sunday and Monday, Dec. 13-14. The Department of Health and Human Services provided the update Monday afternoon after providing no report Sunday. The two-day case total announced Monday was the lowest of its kind in six weeks. Michigan is now averaging 4,800 new cases per day over the last week. That’s down from 6,605 new cases two weeks ago, and marks the first time the daily average was less than 5,000 since Nov. 9.

Updated: December 7, 2020 – 6:57 PM


Michigan — Cases 426,576; Deaths 10,321 (*includes probable)
Kent County — Cases 36,183; Deaths 400
Ottawa County — Cases 15,307; Deaths 178
Muskegon County — Cases 8,006; Deaths 195


Vaccine Update — The FDA will consider Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine candidate on Thursday and Moderna’s vaccine candidate on Dec. 17. Last week, the United Kingdom cleared EUA for Pfizer’s vaccine and is preparing to begin inoculating patients this week.

First Vaccines Go To Health Care Workers & Long-Term Care Residents
The CDC’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices voted last Tuesday to recommend that if and when a vaccine gets emergency use authorization from the FDA, it should go first to both health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, who have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

CDC Decreases Coronavirus Quarantine Time
The new guidelines recommend close contacts of those infected with coronavirus should quarantine for seven to 10 days after exposure, down from the 14 days currently recommended. Individuals can end quarantine after seven days if they receive a negative test, or 10 days without getting tested.

Relief Bill Makes Slow Progress — Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a $908 Billion proposal including enhanced federal unemployment benefits of $300 per week; $160 billion in financial aid to state and local governments; $288 billion to renew the Paycheck Protection Program and help small businesses; and $25 billion in rental assistance. It does not include a second stimulus check.


Michigan Partial Shutdown Extended Through Dec. 20 — The partial shutdown that barred indoor dining and in-person instruction for high schools and colleges will continue for another 12 days, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced at a news conference Monday. The MDHHS order was slated to expire Dec. 8. The order continues to limit gatherings to between two households and close entertainment venues like casinos and movie theaters. Employees who can work from home must do so. (see printable flier below)

Status Update — Hospitalizations slowed last week, but are still higher than the first peak last spring. On Friday, hospitals were treating 4,141 COVID-19 patients, including 855 in the ICU and 513 on ventilators. However, positive test rates continue to climb — the positive test rate was 14.3%, with about 51,800 tests being processed per day, last week. In today’s news conference, State of MI CMO, Dr. Khaldun, said it’s clear Michigan is still in the midst of its second surge. Cases per day per million people have been trending down over the last 16 days but are still “alarmingly high.” Michigan’s current rate is seven-times higher than it was in early September. MDHHS Director, Robert Gordon said that while there is no iron clad formula officials are using, they are looking to see progress during the extended restrictions in a combination of areas, including hospitalizations flattening, cases falling and the percentage of people testing positive going down.

Updated: November 30, 2020 – 4:17 PM


  • Michigan — Cases 378,152; Deaths 9,467 (*includes probable); Recovered 165,269
  • Kent County — Cases 32,582; Deaths 344
  • Ottawa County — Cases 13,559; Deaths 151
  • Muskegon County — Cases 7,321; Deaths 170


Get Tested After Thanksgiving Holiday
White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, is urging Americans that traveled for the Thanksgiving holiday or gathered with people outside their households to get a COVID test — however, officials also recommend waiting five days after a exposure before getting tested to allow for the virus’ incubation period. Some health officials are even going as far as saying that if you traveled this weekend you should quarantine upon your return to help any potential spread of the virus. More people passed through airport security on Sunday than on any other single day since the coronavirus pandemic cratered air travel, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Moderna to Apply for FDA Authorization for Vaccine Today
Moderna will file for emergency use authorization for its vaccine today. The vaccine is 94% effective at preventing COVID and 100% effective at preventing severe COVID according to their data. Data show that 11 of the 15,000 people, who were injected with the vaccine during trials got infected. The timeline for the release of the vaccine is still to be determined, but health care workers and nursing home residents will more than likely be the first to receive it.

U.S. Reaches 93,000+ COVID Hospitalizations
The US recorded its 27th day of more than 100,000 new cases nationwide and now more than 93,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with COVID. The midwest is being hit the hardest, facing a shortage of ICU beds and staff.


Status Update — Just as it looked like Michigan’s positivity rates on coronavirus diagnostic tests might be coming down, they seem to be inching back up again. Statewide, the seven-day average positivity rate is now at 13%, up from 12.8% late last week, and 33 counties have a positivity rate of at least 15%, up from 26 counties a week ago today. Muskegon County remains at Level E (More than 20%), Ottawa and Kent Counties are at Level D (15 – 20%)


Blood Drive Info — Our December 18 blood drive had to be relocated and will now take place at:  First Reformed Church, 301 Washington Ave. Grand Haven, MI 49417. We have lots of slots open from 130-545 if anyone would like to donate, you schedule here.

Updated: November 23, 2020 – 5:37 PM


  • Michigan — Cases 275,792; Deaths 8,376 (*includes probable); Recovered 152,267
  • Kent County — Cases 28,334; Deaths 292 
  • Ottawa County — Cases 11,699; Deaths 124
  • Muskegon County — Cases 6,125; Deaths 145


US Surpasses 250,000 COVID Deaths and 12 million cases
In less than 10 months, more than 250,000 Americans have died from Covid-19, making it the third largest killer in the US behind heart disease and cancer. It has killed more people than strokes, suicides and car crashes typically do in a full year – combined. In comparison to the flu, which typically has an average of 42,000 deaths, Covid-19 is five times more deadly according to CDC data.

Pfizer Files for Emergency Use Authorization of Vaccine
Pfizer announced its vaccine is now 95% effective (same as Moderna), early reports were 90%. The Pfizer data shows it’s safe with no major side effects. Early role out plans state that 50 million vaccine doses can be made in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021. Four states will receive it first which are Rhode Island, Texas, New Mexico, and Tennessee.

AstraZeneca Vaccine Data Show Up To 90% Efficacy
The third company to produce a COVID vaccine, released early data showing that, on average, it prevented 70% of COVID-19 cases in late-stage trials in Britain and Brazil, but the success rate rose to 90% if the vaccine was administered as a half dose followed by a full dose. 200 million doses could be available by the end of 2020 (around four times as many as Pfizer). Seven hundred million doses could be ready globally as soon as the end of the first quarter of 2021.

FDA Authorizes First At-Home COVID Test Kit
The Lucira single use test kit received FDA authorization last week. It costs $50 and works similarly to a lab test with a self-swabbed nasal sample that is inserted into the kit. The molecular test takes 30 minutes to generate results. The test will be available by prescription to people 14 and older, who have symptoms that could indicate COVID-19. Initially, it will be available on a limited basis in Florida and California. It is expected to be available widely by the spring.


Status Update — While Michigan’s surpassed 50,000 cases last week, but data indicates the exponential growth in case numbers may be slowing down. Further, the percent of positivity rate dropped slightly from 13.4% to a flat 13%. Ottawa and Kent Counties are at Level C (10-15% positivity), while Muskegon remains at Level E with a positivity rate of more than 20%.

State of MI Now Reporting Test Turnaround Times —
The testing turnaround time data page provides test counts, average transport time and total turnaround time for commercial, hospital and public health laboratories. Avg. turnaround times statewide is three days. Commercial labs comprise 64% of all tests, hospitals 34% and public health sites 9%. Click this link for more data:,9753,7-406-98163_98173-545615–,00.html

Updated: November 16, 2020 – 4:37 PM


Michigan — Cases 275,792; Deaths 8,376 (*includes probable); Recovered 138,862

Kent County — Cases 22,344; Deaths 247

Ottawa County — Cases 9,408; Deaths 98

Muskegon County — Cases 4,783; Deaths 110


U.S. Reaches 11 Million COVID cases — The United States reached 11 million cases of COVID-19 yesterday. It took just six days for the U.S. to go from 10 million to 11 million cases, four days shorter than last million cases.

Moderna Shows More Than 94% Effectiveness with Early Vaccine Results — Last week Pfizer announced its COVID vaccine was 90% effective; today Moderna announced its vaccine is 94.5% effective. Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines have similar results because they use the same messenger RNA technology to activate the body’s immune system. This will be the first vaccine on the market using messenger RNA. Moderna’s vaccine has a couple more logistical advantages in that can be kept at minus 20 degrees Celsius, rather a negative 75 degrees Celsius and it can be kept for 30 days in the refrigerator. Pfizer’s vaccine can be kept for five days in the refrigerator. Both vaccines are given in two doses several weeks apart.


MDHHS Issues Three-week Epidemic Order; New COVID-19 Restrictions

A new epidemic order targets social gathering and other group activities to help curb infection rates. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Sunday that the new restrictions will begin Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. and will last three weeks. State officials continuously clarified that the order is not a stay home order like officials issued earlier this year. Read restrictions here.

Status Update — Genesee, Kent, Ottawa and Allegan counties are now among the 25 Michigan counties with an average positivity rate of 15% or higher on coronavirus tests over the past seven days. A total of 59 counties of Michigan’s 83 counties are now above a 10% positivity rate and 79 are above 5% as a seven-day average. (5% positivity is the benchmark recommended by the World Health Organization to safely keep schools and the economy reopened.) The state currently has a 13.3% seven-day average positivity rate on coronavirus tests, up from 9.5% a week ago.

REMINDER Local COVID Testing —

Pop Up Community testing sites RELOCATED
from Fire Stations to Road Commission locations. Next event on Tuesday, November 17 from 3:00 PM to 7:30 PM. Ottawa County Road Commission – Grand Haven 14110 Lakeshore Dr. GH, 49417 (If arriving between 3:00 PM-4:00 PM please enter off of Rosy Mound Rd via US 31 to avoid school traffic.)

COVID-ONLY TESTING – NxGen Laboratory at 1091 South Beacon Blvd (next to Urgent Care) is booking online appointments — find the link on the homepage of

COVID PLUS OTHER TESTING — Patients with respiratory symptoms who need other lab testing, should go to our temporary lab draw station located adjacent to the hospital’s Emergency Department entrance. Look for the signs. Entrance is via MPRs back door (accessed via the courtyard). Patients will be queued in MPR 1, or wait in car if we are at capacity. Hours of operation are from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM Monday through Friday.

Updated: November 10, 2020 – 4:37 PM


Michigan — Cases 238,308; Deaths 8,008 (*includes probable)

Kent County — Cases 19,972; Deaths 219

Ottawa County — Cases 7,526; Deaths 89

Muskegon County — Cases 3,711; Deaths 91


U.S. Reaches 10 Million COVID cases — The United States reached 10 million cases of COVID-19 yesterday. It took just ten days for the U.S. to go from 9 million to 10 million cases.

Pfizer Shows 90% Effectiveness with Early Vaccine Results — Pfizer says an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19, indicating the company is on track later this month to file an emergency use application with U.S. regulators. Monday’s announcement doesn’t mean a vaccine is imminent: This interim analysis, from an independent data monitoring board, looked at 94 infections recorded so far in a study that has enrolled nearly 44,000 people in the U.S. and five other countries.

FDA Approves Emergency Use of New Therapy — The FDA has approved emergency use for the investigational monoclonal antibody therapy “bamlanivimab” for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients. It is authorized for COVID positive patients, who are 12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. This includes those who are 65 years of age or older, or who have certain chronic medical conditions.

President-Elect Biden Announced Coronavirus Task Force — President-Elect Biden has named the health officials and leaders of his task force to combat the coronavirus. The task force is chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner David Kessler and Yale University’s Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith. Among the other thirteen members are Dr. Luciana Borio, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and Dr. Zeke Emanuel, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act and an ex-Obama health adviser.


Status Update — The state is averaging 4,559 COVID-19 cases per day over the last week — more than double the seven-day average of 2,014 cases from two weeks ago. Michigan’s daily death average has also spiked, from 26 two days ago to 40. It’s the highest seven-day average since June 2.  Hospitalizations continue to surge. As of last Friday, the state’s hospitals were caring for at least 2,826 patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. That’s a 393-patient jump over the weekend.  Of the 47,082 coronavirus tests processed Sunday in Michigan, 5,525 — or 11.7% — came back positive. The state hasn’t seen a one-day positive test rate that high since April 28.

Free COVID Tracking App — As part of the state’s continued efforts to slow the spread, MDHHS and Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) have launched a statewide rollout of the COVID-19 exposure notification app MI COVID Alert:,9753,7-406-99891_102592—,00.html  The anonymous, fee and voluntary app, lets users know whether they may have recently been exposed to COVID-19.  Users can confidentially submit a positive test result into the app and alert others in recent proximity that they may have also been exposed to the virus.


Ottawa County Health Department In the News — WOOD TV-8 featured Ottawa County Health Department Lead Epidemiologist, Marcia Mansaray in a story this morning that gives a good overview of what’s happening on the Lakeshore related to COVID numbers. Here is a link to the story:

Updated: November 3, 2020 – 4:37 PM

Michigan —
Cases 175,612; Deaths 7,716 (*includes probable)

Kent County — Confirmed Cases 16,675; Deaths 189

Ottawa County — Cases 5,542; Deaths 79
Muskegon County —
Confirmed Cases 2,764; Deaths 84


Domestic Cases Rising Dramatically — In the last two weeks, records for the daily number of new cases have been set and shattered on successive days, most recently Friday, when 98,500 infections were reported. During the same period, case numbers rose by 25 percent in 40 states, with some of the biggest increases happening in the Midwest: Michigan (115%) and Wisconsin (88%). 48 states now have a full or partial mask mandate.

Europe Facing Exponential Surge — In the past 10 days, the European Union has overtaken the U.S. in terms of new coronavirus cases per capita. The continent is now reporting a 7-day average of more than 1,200 deaths a day, which is an exponential increase from a month ago. The UK’s House of Commons is voting today on the recommendation by its Prime Minister to impose a country-wide lock-down.

Vaccine — Globally there are 47 vaccine candidates at their clinical evaluation stage, 10 of which are in phase three trials, while 155 candidates are still at their pre-clinical evaluation level. Two American-based front-runners, Pfizer and Moderna, are in the third phase of clinical trials. The U.S. Health and Human Services Director was quoted this week as saying, “Pending FDA authorizations, there could be as many as 100 million doses by the end of the year —enough to cover especially vulnerable populations. Further, the FDA stated that is projects having enough for every American who wants a vaccine by March to April 2021.”


MDHHS New Orders — On Oct. 29, the MDHHS extended its epidemic emergency order based on surging cases and hospitalizations. Key changes include:

  • Reduction from 500 persons to 50 persons as the maximum size for indoor gatherings.
  • Commercial indoor facilities are limited to seating for no more than six persons per table; must collect take names and contact information to support effective contact tracing.
  • Violations are now punishable by a civil fine up to $1,000; may also be treated as a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months or a fine of not more than $200, or both. Failure to comply may violate a business or professional’s licensure requirements or present a workplace safety violation.

Community Spread — Cases in Michigan are up 63% in the past week with a statewide positivity rate increase to 7.5% up from 5.5% last week. Seven counties have a positivity rate of more than 10% — including Ottawa. 75 of 83 counties are now categorized at the highest risk level. Hospitalizations have doubled in the past week, with total bed capacity approaching almost 80% statewide.


Visitation Restrictions — In light of surge happening in WM, we must strictly enforce our visitation policy at the screening entrances and in each department.  We have added one restriction to our general policy: patients who are suspected of having COVID will not be allowed any visitors (see attached “Visitor Restrictions” PDF). We have developed a more specific policy for the ER, because they are seeing more COVID patients that any other part of the campus (see attached “ER Visitor Restrictions” PDF).  Additional visitation details include:

  • Harbor Dunes Patients — limited to one accompanying visitor.
  • North Ottawa Care Center at Heartwood Lodge — per MDHHS and the Ottawa County Public Health Department, no visitation is allowed at this time.
  • NOCHS Cashier Office – please submit payment on-line at or use the drop box near the hospital’s front entrance. Call (616) 847-5272 with questions.
  • NOCHS Health Information Management Office – consider to signing up for the patient portal to access records digitally or fill out a release form at the time of care to have records mailed.  Contact (616) 847-5292 with questions.

Updated: October 19, 2020 – 6:00 PM

Michigan — Cases 164,123; Deaths 7,363 (*includes probable)
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 12,667; Deaths 178
Ottawa County — Cases 4,433; Deaths 72
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 1,816; Deaths 76


Global Stats — COVID-19 cases across the globe hit 40 million Monday with the United States leading the world with the highest numbers of infections and deaths.

Indications Its Going to be a Tough Winter– CVS Pharmacies launched a program to immediately hire 15,000 employees to prepare for an expected rise in COVID-19 and flu cases this fall and winter. More than 10,000 of those will be full-time and part-time licensed pharmacy technicians who can help dispense medications and administer COVID-19 tests. The expanding staffing could also help CVS prepare for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, if federal officials allow pharmacy technicians to administer it.

Status of Next Relief Bill — The latest development in Congress’ back and forth: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced today that the Senate will vote Wednesday on the coronavirus relief proposal crafted by Republicans, in addition to a separate vote on additional funding for a program to aid small businesses on Tuesday. This is contrary to efforts by the White House and House leaders to negotiate a larger bill. The Senate bill calls for $500 billion to provide funds to expand unemployment benefits, another round of the Paycheck Protection Program, financial aid to schools, and funding for testing and tracing.


Safe Start Update – Seventy of Michigan’s 83 counties are seeing an upward trend in coronavirus cases, reporting more cases last week than the week before.The state now has 10 counties at code red (most in the UP) and 42 coded orange; red = dangerously high levels of coronavirus, and orange = signifies heightened concern. For the first time during the pandemic, no Michigan counties are green, which indicates the lowest level of transmission. The state’s seven-day average positivity rate has risen to 4.6%.

Statewide Testing Access Expanded — MDHHS is launching new partnerships with Walgreens and the Michigan Primary Care Association to offer 77 new, free COVID-19 test sites statewide, bringing the total number of state-supported, free test sites to nearly 100. Michiganders can find the free test sites on the state’s locator:,9753,7-406-99891_99912-531745–,00.html. Testing at Walgreens’ sites is available by appointment only and is provided through existing pharmacy drive-thru lanes. When patients arrive, pharmacy staff walk them through a self-administration of a COVID-19 test. Michigan is also expanding its partnership with the Michigan Primary Care Association, the association of federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in the state. FQHCs already offer low-cost COVID-19 testing and these newest efforts will ensure patients do not face costs for testing at 47 locations. FQHCs typically serve low-income or socially vulnerable areas, providing a vital source of quality medical care.


Updated Testing Site Info – Ottawa County Sites:

GVSU Stay Safe Order Lifted — On September 17 the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) issued a “Staying in Place Order” for GVSU students living in on-campus and off-campus housing in Allendale Township to slow the spread of COVID-19. This order was in effect until October 1, 2020. Given a steady decline of positive COVID-19 cases, the “Staying in Place” order was lifted followed by a “Staying Safe” order. That order expired on Oct. 16. Data show continual improvement to slowing the spread of COVID-19 among the GVSU community.

Regional Hospitalizations are on the Increase – Spectrum Health, Mercy Health and Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo were profiled in a number of media stories last week about increasing COVID hospitalizations. Spectrum has not seen these numbers since last spring. Mercy Muskegon has the largest number of COVID patients of any hospital in its statewide system. Bronson has seen a 154% increase across its system. Kent County has seen more positive cases than counties to the east such as Wayne, Oakland and Macomb, event though its population is smaller. Treatment plans have greatly improved through the months as we have learned more about the novel virus, resulting in patients having better outcomes.

Updated: October 12, 2020 – 4:18 PM

Michigan — Cases 149,646; Deaths 7,219 (*includes probable)
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 12,268; Deaths 174
Ottawa County — Cases 3,819; Deaths 65
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 1,676; Deaths 73


Study Finds Virus Lives on Surfaces Longer – A new Australian study released today found that COIVD-19 can survive on glass, money and stainless steel for up to 28 days in a controlled environment, much longer than the flu virus. Also, the virus survived longer at cooler temperatures, and on smooth surfaces vs on complex surfaces such as cotton.. All the experiments were done in the dark to remove the impact of ultraviolet light*, as research has shown direct sunlight can kill the virus. (*check out our story in the local section for info about NOCHS’ investment in ultraviolet light for infection control.)

Remdisivir Treatment Efficacy Upheld in Study — The National Institute of Health issued its final report on the use of Remdesivir in COVID-19 patients and has confirmed the drug’s success in speeding recovery. The final results were gathered after a complete follow-up from the initial study and were in-line with preliminary findings. It involved 1,062 patients who were randomly assigned Remdesivir or a placebo for 10 days. Of the total, 85% of patients had a severe course of COVID-19. The drug shortened the time to recovery by about five days – 10 days vs. 15 for those on the placebo.


MDHHS Issues Additional Emergency Order — In the wake of the Supreme Court decision to limit the Governor’s power, the MDHHS first issued an emergency order on Oct. 5 restricting gathering sizes, requiring face coverings and limiting some businesses across the state, citing authority that wasn’t covered by the Supreme Court’s decision. Then, on Oct. 9, under section 2253 of the Public Health Code, the MDHHS issued updates/clarifications to minimize confusion about what, if anything, had changed from the Governor’s original orders. Ottawa County has a great infographic that depicts what’s now in place:

Law Makers Debate “Herd Immunity” — Without a guaranteed distribution plan or timing for a COVID-19 vaccination, and health experts predicting the disease will be around for a long while, law makers are looking to find a way forward that balances concerns for public health with the health of the economy.

Herd immunity is making news this past week as THE goal for stabilizing the country. But there are dramatically different takes on how best to achieve it. By definition, herd immunity is when the overwhelming majority of a population has gained enough immunity to a virus that it can no longer spread and the chain of transmission is broken. Health experts say the process must be done slowly so we don’t overwhelm local health systems. Or a vaccine, like with other viral infections, could help the process happen faster. For the community to reach herd immunity, 60-80% of the population would need to gain immunity against the virus, either through infection of vaccination.

  • Some lawmakers are suggesting that we should keep only the vulnerable protected with restrictions, while allowing all others to return to normalcy. This could allow the disease to spread naturally among healthier people who can weather it, and keep the economy moving forward.
  • Other law makers and health officials (State and global, e.g. The World Health Organization) caution that herd immunity is best achieved with a vaccine that can be better controlled. As it stands now, only 1.3% of Michiganders have contracted the disease (roughly 10M total population, 135K confirmed cases). They contend a natural spread would take too long, result in preventable death and is too risky with a novel virus because we don’t yet understand the extent of long-term harm to the patient. So, they recommend all aspects of society continue practicing mitigation strategies until the vaccine is widely available.


UV Angel Product Collaboration with NOCHS – We continue to learn more about this novel virus, day after day. Case in point, recent global news was just shared out about an Australian study that found the virus can live on surfaces longer than we initially thought. We want you to know that NOCHS is already ahead of that curve. In the coming weeks, we will share more detail about a unique community collaboration we have with local manufacturer, UV Angel. They have pioneered an ultraviolet light system that NOCHS will install in three particular places where infection control and clean air are extremely important but difficult to achieve: the ER triage area, the lab, and pharmacy. This company’s support of NOCHS, along with generous donors helped us with this important effort. More info to come soon! Good stuff.

Local Schools Update —

Outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools are scattered across the state, with the state reporting Monday 26 schools impacted by cases this week. Ottawa County had three outbreaks in schools.

The Ottawa Area Center, a public school serving students with cognitive impairments, is closed to in-person instruction for one week after a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus – starting last week Thursday.

Updated: October 6, 2020 – 11:18 AM

Michigan — Cases 141,271; Deaths 7,124 (*includes probable)
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 10,498; Deaths 175
Ottawa County — Cases 3,635; Deaths 67
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 1,585; Deaths 71


CDC Guidelines Reversed … Again —  For the third time in less than a month, the CDC altered its guidance on how COIVD-19 is transmitted. On Monday, new guidance was posted on its web site that says airborne transmission is possible, but that it’s not the most common way the virus travels from person to person — a position that was published and then removed from its website in September. Here is an excerpt: “some infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours. Those small droplets and particles in turn may be able to infect people who are farther than 6 feet away from the person who is infected or after that person has left the space.” Poor ventilation in enclosed spaces where activity associated with heavy breathing is the number one concern for airborne transmission.

Rapid Test Controversy — As most of us already know, the President of the United States tested positive for COVID 19 on October 2, and was hospitalized over the weekend to treat symptoms and monitor his status. Given POTUS’ busy schedule the past week, authorities have been contact tracing to identify others who may have been exposed. Since Oct. 2, at lest 13 people in POTUS’ circle have tested positive. There has been some concern voiced about how this could happen, given the “daily testing” of personnel. So, I wanted to provide some insight as to testing process that has reportedly been used. The White House has been relying on routine rapid testing as a screening tool. However, the one product they use, Abbott’s ID Now, was not intended for that purpose as I may deliver incorrect results. In issuing an emergency use authorization, the Food and Drug Administration said the test was only to be used by a health care provider “within the first seven days of symptoms.” The ID Now has several qualities in its favor: It’s portable, doesn’t need skilled technicians to operate and delivers results in 15 minutes. Used to evaluate someone with symptoms, the test can quickly and easily diagnose COVID with a sensitivity rate of 95%. But in people who are infected but not yet showing symptoms, the test is much less accurate, missing as many as one in three cases.  In May, after problems were reported the test, the FDA warned that those who test negative using the test should confirm that result with a lab-based test. A lab-based test was ultimately used to confirm POTUS’ diagnosis. It is unclear if the test/screening policy will be changed as a result of this situation. PCR tests (like the ones we use at NOCHS for pre-operative patients and at the test collection site) remain the gold standard for accuracy.


Clarification Sought for Governor’s Emergency Powers — Last week Friday Michigan’s Supreme Court issued a 4 to 3 opinion finding that the Governor was not permitted under the law to unilaterally extend a state of emergency because of the ongoing crisis caused by COVID-19 after the state Legislature decided not to pass an extension of its own on April 30. Today, the Governor asked the state Supreme Court to immediately clarify how  and when the ruling would be applied; asking it to hold off the effective date of the ruling until Oct. 30.  In the motions made to the Supreme Court on Monday — one asking the court to delay implementation for 28 days following issuance of the opinion and another asking that the question of the effective date be taken up immediately — the Governor contends that court rules under state law give parties between 21 and 28 days to request a hearing. In the meantime, however, the Attorney General announced her office would no longer enforce the Executive Orders per the Supreme Court ruling. It is possible that the Governor can keep some orders in place using her Administrative powers, although no details were shared about which orders.

This morning, the Governor stated that a mask mandate is still in effect under an epidemic order issued by the head of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The epidemic order states that everyone still “must comply” with the governor’s mask order, despite her powers being revoked.

Two Counties Issue Their Own Restrictions — Oakland and Ingham Counties acted swiftly in the wake of this weekend’s Michigan Supreme Court ruling striking down the Governor’s authority to extend emergency powers past April 30 – including mask mandates, gathering sizes and retail/restaurant capacity restrictions. The emergency orders issued did not impose any new restrictions, but instead were aimed at removing any uncertainty around the need to continue COVID protection measures designed to keep people safe and businesses open.


Ottawa County Issues Statement — sent to media on Monday, Oct. 5, 202 from Kristina Wieghmink, Ottawa County PIO:

“On Friday, October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court determined that the Governor did not have the authority to issue executive orders under emergency declarations past April 30, 2020. The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) is currently evaluating future actions to ensure the continued health and safety of Ottawa County residents. Public health 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 and remains in effect.

‘We appreciate everyone who has contacted our department to provide feedback and express concern over the potential relaxation of COVID-19 preventative measures in our community,” said Health Officer Lisa Stefanovsky with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. “It is critical for us to continue to work together as a community to ensure conditions for all people to be healthy.’

The OCDPH continues to encourage everyone to wear facial coverings when inside public places, maintain physical distance from others and practice good hygiene. We will share more information as it becomes available in the coming days.”

School Protocol Remains Unchanged— According to The Grand Haven Tribune, local school officials stated that despite the state Supreme Court’s decision, their rules regarding COVID-19 are not changing.

Updated: September 28, 2020 – 2:08 PM

Michigan — Cases 134,373; Deaths 7,044 (*includes probable)
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 9,843; Deaths 175
Ottawa County — Cases 3,247; Deaths 66
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 1,517; Deaths 69


COVID-19 Forecasting Models Are Changing – Infectious disease modeling is a tricky science; easy to criticize for its uncertainties. Experts say coronavirus models have come a long way since the early days of the pandemic, to the point where some researchers are moving away from long-term projections and focusing instead on forecasts that can more accurately predict COVID-19 trends up to six weeks. For example, the University of Washington institute’s model, which is one of several the CDC uses to track the pandemic, has been criticized for often including high degrees of uncertainty, which can lead to imprecise predictions. Early on, the model underestimated the number of COVID-19 deaths nationwide. But it is updated frequently, and refinements are made as data on case numbers, hospitalizations and a host of other factors become available. By June, the institute’s model was estimating that the U.S. death toll could hit 200,000 by Oct. 1, a projection that ended up being accurate to within two weeks. Behavioral changes — such as diligent mask-wearing — could drive their projections for January down, but there is worry about fatigue settling in. That’s why modelers are hoping people heed their warnings about the coming weeks, when, they say, growing complacency and changing behaviors tied to the fall and winter seasons could result in a new wave of infections. There’s no question that there have been challenges with (and consequences to) modeling a novel coronavirus. But things are improving with nine months of data from the pandemic now available. Again, one of the most difficult things to predict in a model is also one of the most important factors that could change the outcome of an outbreak: how humans respond.

Vaccine Update — Inovio biotechnology company announced today that the FDA has notified the company it has additional questions about the company’s planned Phase 2/3 trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Until the FDA’s questions have been satisfactorily addressed, Inovio’s Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for the Phase 2/3 trial is on partial clinical hold. The company plans to respond in October, after which the FDA will have up to 30 days to notify them of its decision as to whether the trial may proceed. This partial clinical hold is not due to the occurrence of any adverse events related to Inovio’s ongoing expanded Phase 1 study.


MDHHS Update — The State of Michigan has 63 cases per million people and positivity is 3.4%, with declining trends in both metrics. Complaints of coronavirus like illness (CLI) in the emergency department increased for state and all MERC regions except Detroit. All regions are less than 1% CLI except Kalamazoo and Upper Peninsula. State death rate is at less than one death per million people and has been in a decline for three weeks. Eighteen Michigan counties, however, are now coded red or orange because of high levels of COVID-19, based on a metric developed by the Harvard Global Health Initiative to assess coronavirus risk levels. Among new counties coded orange are Kent and Kalamazoo. The four counties coded red, signaling a dangerous level of transmission rates, are all in the western Upper Peninsula. They are Iron, Houghton, Delta and Menominee.

Safe Halloween Guidelines Issued — The CDC and MDHHS issued guidance for Halloween celebrations last week on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. Tips for all groups include staying home if you are sick; maintaining social distancing of at least six feet; wearing a cloth mask that covers both the mouth and nose; and washing hands often or frequently using hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol. More detail can be found via this link to the MDHHS info:,9753,7-406-98163-540429–,00.html


Pop-Up Testing Site in Holland —  Tuesday: 9/29 at 3-8 pm
Meijer 746 E 16th Street, Holland 49423 The National Guard will do the testing. Medical Reserve Corps volunteers and Ottawa County employees will provide support functions (instructions, forms, traffic control, data entry, etc.).

Updated: September 21, 2020 – 1:28 PM

Michigan — 128,087; Deaths 6,969 (*includes probable)
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 8,572; Deaths 171
Ottawa County — Cases 3,187; Deaths 66
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 1,380; Deaths 69


CDC Testing Guidelines Update – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed controversial guidance on COVID-19 testing last week Friday, now recommending that people who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should get tested, even if they’re not symptomatic.The recommendation departs from guidance the agency issued at the end of August, which said that someone who was in close contact (within 6 feet) of an infected person for at least 15 minutes but doesn’t have symptoms does not “necessarily need a test.” The CDC estimates that 40% of infections are asymptomatic and 50% of transmissions occur before symptoms appear. Experts worry that failing to test asymptomatic carriers could not only result in more infections but also hinder contact tracing efforts.

Vaccine Update — Makers of the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates disclosed detailed information about their pivotal late-stage clinical trials and how they plan to gauge their shots’ safety and effectiveness. First Moderna Inc., then later Pfizer Inc. and later AstraZeneca PLC released information following increasing worry that the effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine is becoming politicized, and that an inoculation could be rushed to market before it is proven safe and effective. While the broad outlines of major drug trials are available on a U.S. government website, details of how and when monitoring boards overseeing the trials plan to analyze data are often kept confidential by pharmaceutical companies. And the Wall Street Journal reported this weekend that Russia has struck preliminary agreements to sell its vaccine to more than 10 countries in Asia, South America and the Middle East. In addition, Russia says it is in various stages of talks with roughly 10 other countries to buy the vaccine. All told, it has received requests or expressions of interest in the vaccine for a total of 1.2 billion doses.


Health Insurers Agree to Extend Free Testing/Treatment Coverage Through End of Calendar Year – The Governor and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) announced that the state has secured agreements from nearly all of the state’s health insurers to waive all out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing and treatments through the end of 2020, including copays, deductibles, and coinsurance. These agreements cover more than 92% of the commercial health insurance market in Michigan. At least through year’s end, consumers with these individual and group health plans will not be charged cost-sharing for medically appropriate COVID-19-related medical treatment, such as primary care visits, diagnostic testing, emergency room visits, ambulance services, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medications and vaccines when they become available.The insurers who have agreed to waive cost-sharing are:

  • Aetna Better Health of Michigan
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Care Network
  • HAP, Alliance Health
  • Humana
  • McLaren Health Plan
  • Meridian Health Plan
  • Molina Healthcare Michigan
  • Paramount Care of Michigan
  • Physicians Health Plan (PHP)
  • Priority Health, Priority Health Insurance Co.
  • Total Health Care

MDHHS Now Posting School Outbreak Data —  In an effort to provide accurate and timely information about COVID-19 in Michigan schools, the State will begin reporting outbreak information by school building. Data on COVID-19 outbreaks is being collected from the 45 local health departments across the state weekly. A COVID-19 outbreak is defined as two or more cases with a link by place and time indicating a shared exposure outside of a household. Here is a link to the info:,9753,7-406-98163_98173_102480—,00.html

This Mlive article provides a comprehensive look at the data so far in K-12 schools:


“Stay In Place Order” Issued for GVSU — The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) issued an order requiring all Grand Valley State University (GVSU) students living in on-campus housing or living in off-campus housing in Allendale Township, Michigan, to remain in their designated residence at all times for 14 days beginning September 17, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. and ending October 1, 2020, 11:59 p.m. Students may not return to their home address unless for an emergency. Since August 23, 2020, there have been more than 600 cases of COVID-19 in the student population living on or near the GVSU campus in Allendale Township, Michigan. Case rates per million have continued to rise, indicating disease spread among GVSU students and rates have exceeded maximum indicator thresholds for risk to the community. The majority of cases are among off-campus students and appear to be driven by congregate living and congregate gathering. GVSU cases have consistently reported a lower number of contacts, compared to non-GVSU cases in Ottawa County. During OCDPH’s case investigation, many students report having no contacts or refuse to disclose contacts. Students will be allowed to:

  • Attend in-person classes with strict adherence to preventive measures.
  • Leave their room or residence to pick up food and other basic needs, go to medical appointments, pick up medication, attend religious practice activities or to obtain COVID-19 testing with strict adherence to preventive measures.
  • Attend work with the approval of the employer if the work is essential and cannot be done remotely
  • Have clinical rotations
  • Leave their room or residence for purposes of physical activity in groups of no more than two with strict adherence to preventive measures.
  • Although strongly discouraged by OCPHD during the term of this order, if GVSU specifically authorizes students who are associated with intercollegiate varsity sports, they may attend practices provided a currently licensed physician is present during the entire process, actively supervises the team’s COVID-19 mitigation activities during the practice and has the final authority to suspend the practice if he or she believes COVID-19 mitigation practices require that result.

Clarified Nursing Home Visitation Guidelines UPDATE — Per the Governor’s recent announcement clarifying visitation restrictions at nursing homes, North Ottawa Care Center at Heartwood Lodge began permitting outdoor visitations on September 15. Here is a link to the story in the GH Tribune:

Updated: September 14, 2020 – 4:58 PM

Michigan — Cases 123,058; Deaths 6,911 (*includes probable);Recovered 85,513
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 8,249; Deaths 169
Ottawa County — Cases 2,732; Deaths 60
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 1,374; Deaths 69


Next Round of Federal Relief — The $300 billion “skinny” Republican coronavirus aid packaged (compared to the $3-plus trillion Democratic House bill that was approved in May) did not pass. The Republican bill included more money for a popular small-business loan program, a scaled-back version of an expanded unemployment benefit, funding for schools and the U.S. Postal Service, and liability lawsuit protections for businesses, schools and health care providers. Experts fear that this effort could be the last official act of Congress on this matter until after the general election in November. There is only one must-pass bill on the agenda this month, a stopgap measure to keep the government running by the Sept. 30 deadline for the end of the fiscal year. Such a measure is likely to last into early December and, both parties agree, would not include any pandemic relief attachments.

Vaccine Update — The AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine trial that was halted last week when a participant fell ill, has been deemed safe to resume following an independent review. The company’s CEO stated publicly that they should know before the end of the year whether its experimental vaccine can indeed protect people from COVID-19. This is one of three Phase 3 trials happening in the U.S. The others are being conducted by Pfizer and Moderna. Still, experts warn that even with this aggressive, fast-tracked approach, a viable vaccine will not likely be widely available until late 2021.


Current Status — According to a report published by MLive today, the four Michigan counties with the highest coronavirus transmission rates as of Monday are all counties with state universities. Ingham and Houghton counties, home of Michigan State and Michigan Tech universities, are both coded red [based on a metric developed by the Harvard Global Health Initiative (HGHI) to assess coronavirus risk levels.] Ottawa and Mecosta counties, where Grand Valley and Ferris state universities are located, are in the orange zone, along with Branch County in the Lower Peninsula and Iron and Delta counties in the Upper Peninsula. Counties coded red should consider lockdown according to HGHI, and level Orange signals heightened concern. On Saturday, the Ingham County Health Department asked Michigan State University students to self-quarantine (for 14 days), with some exceptions for going to class, required shopping or going to work, through Saturday, Sept. 26. On the other end of the spectrum, 11 counties are in the green zone as of Monday morning meaning they have minimal transmission of coronavirus currently.

Clarified Nursing Home Visitation Guidelines — Per the Governor’s announcement last week clarifying visitation restrictions at nursing homes, North Ottawa Care Center at Heartwood Lodge will be permitting outdoor visitations beginning tomorrow, September 15.  While we are very excited about the positive benefits outdoors visits will bring to the residents, we will have in place the following restrictions to protect our residents and staff from COVID-19:

  • Visits must be scheduled in advance through the front office by phone (616) 604-2171 or by signing the appointment calendar in the front lobby.
  • Visits will be limited to two visitors at a time.
  • Visitors must enter and be screened for COVID symptoms through the front lobby.
  • Visitors must sign in and out when visiting.
  • Visitors must sign a statement that they will inform NOCC if they develop COVID within 14 days of visiting the care center.  Visitor contact information must be shared.
  • Visits will be monitored to ensure 6 feet of social distancing is maintained at all times.
  • No resident contact will be allowed.
  • Sharing of food or drinks will not be allowed.
  • Visits will only be allowed in the patio areas of the courtyard.
  • Visits will be limited to 15 minutes in duration.
  • Visits will be limited to once a week during September and be reevaluated for October.
  • Visits will only be held during the times listed below for the month of September. Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursdays:  10:00 AM to 12:30 PM and 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

NOCC officials are communicating these changes with residents/families, and we are also working on a story with the GH Tribune for this week.

Futures For Frontliners program Launch — The Governor, along with leaders in education, business, labor and workforce development, today launched the nation’s first program offering tuition-free college to an estimated 625,000 Michiganders who provided essential, frontline services during COVID-19 Stay Home, Stay Safe orders between April – June 2020. For more info, go to:


Current Status NO CHANGE — Ottawa County remains in the yellow zone (less than 10 positive cases per 100K residents using a seven-day avg.) with a percent of positivity rate at 3.8%. Regionally, hospital capacity is good, access to PPE remains strong, and the number of hospitalized COVID patients is low.

K-12 School/Sports UPDATE – Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-180 last week Wednesday, clarifying the rules on face coverings for organized sports during training, practice and competition. This executive order specifies that a face covering must by worn at all times by athletes training for, practicing for, or competing in an organized sport when the athlete cannot maintain six feet of social distance, except for occasional and fleeting moments. Athletes are not required to wear a face covering if they are swimming. Athletes competing in football, soccer, or volleyball, for example, are not able to maintain six feet of social distance as required and therefore would need to wear a face covering. Most schools have also updated face covering policies pursuant to updated CDC recommendations that discourage neck gaiters, bandanas, mesh or masks with vents/exhalation valves.

Updated: August 31, 2020 – 5:28 PM

Michigan — Cases 113,025; Deaths 6,753 (*includes probable)
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 7,751; Deaths 163
Ottawa County — Cases 2,023; Deaths 58
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 1281; Deaths 67


Current Status — Today, the United States topped six million confirmed cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University; a million more coronavirus cases and about 21,000 more deaths in just the past three weeks.

The U.S. reporting far more confirmed cases and deaths than any other country in the world. The total number of confirmed cases worldwide is more than 25 million, meaning the U.S. accounts for about 24% of all cases around the globe despite only having around 4% of the world’s population.

Controversial CDC Report on COVID Death Classification —  The CDC recently released new data that depicts how many Americans who have died from COVID-19 also had contributing conditions. Only 6% of COVID-19 deaths have the virus as the only cause mentioned, according to the report, revealing that 94% who died from coronavirus also had other “health conditions and contributing causes.” Here is a link to the report:

Unfortunately, the findings within this report have been widely mischaracterized across social media. It’s important we understand the facts. Here is the break down …

In the U.S., deaths are recorded using standardized death certificates. On these certificates, completed by medical certifiers, there are several spaces to fill in — one for the immediate cause of death, and then several lines for the underlying causes of that. E.g., say someone has lung cancer, and dies in hospital of an infection after having a lung removed. The immediate cause of death is the infection, which occurred due to complications of the lung removal, which was ultimately caused by the underlying issue of lung cancer. In the same way, someone who gets COVID-19, which causes respiratory failure, and then dies of kidney failure due to being on a ventilator would have at least three things on their form — the immediate cause, kidney failure, the secondary cause, respiratory failure, and the underlying cause, COVID-19.

When you see that “only 6%” of people had COVID-19 as the sole reason listed on their death forms, what it means is that there were only a small fraction of people who died of the disease who didn’t have any other underlying or immediate causes noted by the medical certifiers. This is not surprising, as it’s pretty rare that someone wouldn’t have at least one issue caused by coronavirus prior to their death, and all it means is that in 94% of cases people who had COVID-19 also developed other issues, or had other problems at the same time.

One way of looking at the precise number is to ask how many COVID-19 deaths had coronavirus as the UNDERLYING cause. That is, the cause that precipitated any other issues, or the thing that actually killed a person. The CDC has actually estimated this, and puts it at >95% of all COVID-19 deaths, meaning that the vast majority of deaths recorded as caused by coronavirus in the U.S. were caused by COVID-19. In other words, most COVID-19 deaths were almost certainly caused by COVID-19.


Current Status — Only two Michigan counties (Macomb, Isabella) have a positive rate of at least 5% in coronavirus tests reported in the last 14 days ending Aug. 30. The state is administering an average of an average of almost 30,000 tests a day. As of Monday morning, seven Michigan counties are in the red or orange zone, based on a metric developed by the Harvard Global Health Initiative to assess coronavirus risk levels; at the other end of the spectrum, 13 counties are coded green, the lowest risk level (mostly up north). The World Health Organization says schools are safe to reopen if fewer than 5% of coronavirus tests over the past two weeks are positive.

Outbreak Tracking – The State of Michigan COVID-19 web page is now tracking outbreaks by cluster/setting. For more info, here is the link:,9753,7-406-98163_98173_102057—,00.html

Phased Re-Opening Update — The Governor is expected to allow fitness centers, theaters, bowling alleys, ice rinks and related facilities — ordered closed for more than five months during the coronavirus pandemic —  to re-open after the Labor Day holiday. An announcement could come as soon as Wednesday.


Current Status — Ottawa County remains in the yellow zone (less than 10 positive cases per 100K residents using a seven-day avg.) with a percent of positivity rate at 3.9%. Regionally, hospital capacity is good, access to PPE remains strong, and the number of hospitalized COVID patients is low.

K-12 Testing Strategy — In-person learning is resuming with Spring Lake Public Schools opened last week, Coopersville Public Schools opening this week and Grand Haven Public Schools opening on Sept. 8. The County has assigned a team of experts to work directly with school administrations on suspected cases, positive cases and contact tracing. This team will “triage” emerging situations and coordinate contact between schools/parents and our test collection site to create a more efficient process.

Updated: August 19, 2020 – 4:28 PM

Michigan — Cases 103,403; Deaths 6,608 (*includes probable)
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 7150; Deaths 155
Ottawa County — Cases 1,835; Deaths 54
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 1,185; Deaths 63


Current Status — More than 22 million people around the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, unreported cases and suspicions that some national governments are hiding /downplaying the scope of their outbreaks. Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the U.S. has become the worst-affected country, with more than 5.4 million diagnosed cases and at least 171,823 deaths. Different parts of the country are continuing to face varied disease burdens, however, e.g. New York’s positivity rate has been below 1% for 12 straight days, but Florida’s coronavirus death toll just reached 10,000. Forty-nine states still have an Emergency Declaration, of some form, in place – including Michigan.


Current Status — There have been 85 outbreaks in different areas across Michigan in the last two weeks. Most associated with large gatherings, nursing homes, food processing and offices. With the positivity rate goal being 3% or lower, four Michigan counties have a positive rate of at least 5% in coronavirus tests reported in the last 14 days ending Aug. 17. The state is administering an average of of almost 30,000 tests a day (strong number). Macomb had the highest 14-day average at 7.2%. The other four counties: Ontonagon (6%), Branch (5.9%), and Saginaw (5%). Note: The number of positive tests does not match confirmed cases because a single patient may be tested  multiple times. The World Health Organization says schools are safe to reopen if fewer than 5% of coronavirus tests over the past two weeks are positive.

CARES Relief to Schools — During a news conference today, the Governor announced that Michigan schools with the most need are now eligible for $60 million in additional federal coronavirus relief funds. An additional $5 million will be available for other education entities, including universities. The aid must be used to further the education and well-being of students and staff and schools and districts that need the money the most (e.g. disproportionate number of vulnerable, disadvantaged, special education students) will be prioritized.


Current Status – Regionally, hospitalizations across the region, including NOCHS are relatively low, and capacity is good. Throughout Ottawa County, about 5,000 people are tested a week and the rate of positivity (seven-day rolling average) is at 4.2% — with the goal being 3%; this means we have work to do and must remain vigilant. Incident Command at NOCHS remains “open” with weekly reporting, and our surge plans are at-the-ready, able to be implemented in a few hours should conditions change.

“For The Love Of Grand Haven” Campaign (#GHLove) Update — the work of Grand Haven Mainstreet’s Downtown Development Authority continues its momentum! 2,500 additional branded masks were distributed to area retailers today and are now for sale (just $5/each). Our own Dunewood Pharmacy also received a shipment and will be selling the masks on campus. Remember … staff are required to wear disposable surgical masks while working, but these are great to wear around town. If you get one, please add to the movement by posting pics of you/family on social media wearing these masks around town and use #GHLove.

Area Test Collection Site Expansion — NOCHS has been working closely with the Ottawa County Health Department to help expand access to testing, not only at our test site, but to add more sites in our area. This is critically important in preparation for flu season and schools resuming at least some in-person learning this fall.

The State of Michigan is the best places to go to find updated information on local testing sites, changes in criteria and/or hours of operation for each site.

REMINDER – NOCHS Remote Test Collection Site

  • Appointment Required – screening/schedule (616) 935-7810
  • Symptomatic and Asymptomatic (when available)
  • No physician order needed
  • Will test those with insurance and without
  • Open M, T, W, Th from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Results in 48 to 72 hours

NEW – NxGen MDxTesting Site

  • Appointment Required — complete on-line registration at:
  • Symptomatic and Asymptomatic patients welcomed
  • No physician order needed
  • Will test those with insurance or without
  • Open Tuesdays, 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Grand Haven Community Center, 421 Columbus Ave
  • Results in 48 to 72 hours

POP UP SITE – Ottawa County/National Guard Testing Site

  • This Saturday Only, 8/22 at 8:00 AM to 12 Noon
  • Ages 5 to adult (children need parental consent)
  • Grand Haven Community Center
  • Register in parking lot across the street, stay in car
  • Test conducted in Community Center via back entrance
  • No appointment needed
  • No insurance needed
  • Results in 5 to 7 days

Updated: August 10, 2020 – 5:28 PM

Michigan — Cases 97,306; Deaths 6,526; Recovered 63,636
Kent County — Cases 6,867; Deaths 154
Ottawa County — Cases 1,734; Deaths 51
Muskegon County — Cases 1,132; Deaths 59


Vaccine Update — This article provides an analysis of how a vaccine is but one tool among many needed to achieve herd immunity.

American Academy of Pediatrics Report, July 30 Findings — 
While children represent only 8.8% of all COVID-19 cases to date, positive cases are on the rise — with a sharp increase in the last two weeks of July (up 40%). Of note, hospitalizations and deaths in children are uncommon, and severe illness is rare. Experts are strongly recommending stringent tracking of these data points as schools begin to open nationwide. This article highlights how some school districts in different parts of the counrty are innovating to approach the school year with caution and flexibility.


State of Emergency Extended by Executive Order —
On Friday, August 7, the Governor extended Michigan’s state of emergency through Sept. 4. Michigan’s state of emergency should not be confused with the stay-at-home order, which was lifted June 1.

Clarification of Executive Orders — The Governor issued clarifications to her Executive Order “Mask Up” program originally issued July 10. The clarifications include allowing businesses to accept a customer’s verbal representation of medical necessity if non-compliant with the mandate. That means that a representative of a business must ask why a customer is not wearing a mask, but if the customer cites a medical reason, the business representative can choose to accept that explanation and offer entry and services to the customer without a mask. Or, according to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights businesses may choose to offer alternatives, such as allowing the customer to wear a face shield, or offering carry-out service or having a store employee shop for the customer. If reasonable accommodations are rejected or if an accommodation is not possible, the business may deny entry to that individual.


“For The Love Of Community” Mask Campaign Update — Public response to the mask campaign continues to gain strength. Grand Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority announced it has ordered 2,500 additional branded masks to give away to more businesses, for free, as well as allocate some of that inventory to local retailers to sell to the public. The sell date has not yet been released.

Updated: July 27, 2020 – 6:45 PM

Michigan — 86,661; Deaths 6,154
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 6,226; Deaths 149
Ottawa County — Cases 1,510; Deaths 48
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 1044; Deaths 56


Vaccine Update — Moderna announced it has started a U.S. government-backed late-stage trial for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, the first to be implemented under the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed anti-coronavirus program. The biotech company reports it is on track to produce 1 billion vaccine doses a year starting in 2021.

FDA authorizes first COVID-19 diagnostic test for asymptomatic people —  The Food and Drug Administration Friday reissued its emergency use authorization for the LabCorp COVID-19 RT-PCR Test to include authorized use for asymptomatic individuals and for pooled sample testing with up to five individual specimens. FDA previously authorized emergency use of the test for patients with suspected COVID-19 and individual specimens. This is a step toward the type of broad screening that may help enable the reopening of schools and workplaces. By authorizing another test for use with pooled samples, we further help increase the possibility that patients may be able to receive results sooner, while also conserving vital testing supplies, which are under increased demand during the pandemic.


Bill 956 (Nursing Homes) — The Michigan House of Representatives this week approved a bill to house COVID-19 patients in dedicated facilities, sending it to the desk of a governor. According to MDHHS, 34% of COVID-19 deaths in Michigan are linked to nursing homes. Senate Bill 956 would require the state to inspect and designate one dedicated facility for coronavirus-positive patients in each of the state’s eight health care regions by Sept. 1. After that, a hospital that determines a positive patient who isn’t a nursing home resident and isn’t eligible for hospitalization would need to transfer him or her to either a dedicated facility or a field hospital. A person who had tested positive couldn’t be transferred to a nursing home until recovered. Nursing home residents who contract coronavirus would need to be moved to a physically separate building or to the COVID-specific facility the state had designated. Currently, the state has designated regional hubs that can either be separate facilities or units within facilities to house COVID patients needing long-term care, but not hospitalization. Critics of the bill claim it is based on the false premise that isolation units within existing facilities are somehow insufficient, which is not supported by data. Further, critics say the bill lacks clarity on how the facilities would be staffed and paid for, and how frail residents would be supported through a potentially traumatic transfer.

Emerging Areas of Concern — The Jackson County Health Department reports is case rate is on the rise, with 596 positive cases in the county as of Saturday, July 25 – up from 537 cases on July 15, and 484 cases at the end of June. Five patients at Henry Ford Allegiance are hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Wednesday, July 22, representing an increase from the week before. The cases are linked to international and domestic travel; outdoor gatherings without masks; and family gatherings, parties, and sporting events, according to health officials.


“For The Love of Grand Haven” Campaign  — This collaboration among NOCHS, the City of Grand Haven and the Downtown Development Authority (Grand Haven Mainstreet) to provide free masks to 1,500 “economic frontline workers” media launch was a great success this past week. Like and follow the official Facebook page here. Use the hashtag #GHLove to show your mask love, too!

Updated: July 21, 2020 – 6:00 PM

Michigan — Recovered 55,162 (reported weekly); Cases 83,059; Deaths 6,382
Kent County — Cases 5,872; Deaths 146
Ottawa County — Cases 1,414; Deaths 48
Muskegon County — Cases 1009; Deaths 55


CDC study shows COVID-19 case count exponentially higher than reported — COVID-19 infections were anywhere from six to 24 times higher than the number of reported cases in 10 different sites across the United States tested at different times during the pandemic, the CDC study found. The findings were published July 21 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The percentage of people with COVID-19 coronavirus antibodies ranged from 1% in the San Francisco Bay area up to nearly 7% in the New York City metro area, based on analysis of previously gathered blood samples. Those numbers far outpace reported case counts but unfortunately still aren’t broad enough to promote herd immunity, the point at which enough people are immune to a virus to protect those who haven’t been either sick or vaccinated, according to an editorial accompanying the study. The study underscores the need to drastically expand testing for the purpsoes of calculating hospitalization and mortality ratios and plan for the future. The editorial also said the U.S. will need to increase its viral testing capacity nearly 18 times more, becoming able to test approximately 4.3 million people each day, to effectively suppress further disease transmission.

Vaccine Update — A coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is safe and shows signs of inducing an immune response, according to early clinical trial results published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet. The trial did not look at whether the vaccine prevents coronavirus infection, however. That’s a question that will be answered in trials that are ongoing. Trial results found that the vaccine generated two “strong” immune responses: the production of both antibodies and T cells. The immune system makes antibodies in response to a virus so it can recognize it and fight it off a second time. T cells are also important, because they search for infected cells, attacking and killing them. “We’re getting both sides of the immune system stimulated, and that is fairly unusual for vaccines,” Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University. The vaccine is made from a weakened form of a common cold virus, called an adenovirus, that’s been genetically modified to carry instructions for cells to make the coronavirus’s notorious spike protein. The idea is that, if the vaccine can instruct human cells to make this protein, the human system can learn to recognize it and better protect against infection.

Growing Number of National Chains Institute Mask Wearing Policy — Major retailers began announcing requirements for customers to wear masks in stores as a surge in cases nationwide threatens to close businesses again. Walmart, Best Buy, Starbucks, Costco and Kroger were among the companies saying they will now require facial coverings at all U.S. locations. The National Retail Federation (NRF) encouraged other chains to adopt similar policies. More and more states are imposing similar mask rules for all public spaces, with mounting scientific studies showing the effectiveness of facial coverings in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Retailers, who were hard hit early on in the pandemic, are hoping to avoid another round of lockdowns like the ones in March and April that crippled their in-store revenue. Grocery chain Winn-Dixie, which operates roughly 500 grocery store locations across five Southeastern states (Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana) drew a mixed reaction after it initially said it would not mandate masks in stores because they are a source of conflict between customers and employees. They reversed that decision yesterday and will require customers to wear face masks while shopping at its stores beginning July 27.STATE OF MICHIGAN UPDATE

Statewide Mask Mandate — The Governor launched a new campaign designed to encourage compliance with the mask wearing mandate, featuring sports icons from both U of M and MSU. You can see the video here:

Updated: July 13, 2020 – 6:50 PM

Michigan — Recovered 53,867 (reported weekly); Cases 76,776; Deaths 6,314
Kent County — Cases 5,851; Deaths 144
Ottawa County — Cases 1,294; Deaths 52
Muskegon County — Cases 927; Deaths 54


COVID Epicenter is now the Americas — The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Monday that epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic is now North and South America, and will continue spreading unimpeded unless governments/individuals take the steps needed to suppress transmission. More than 12.5 million people worldwide have tested positive and about half of those cases (6.5 million) are in the Americas. On Saturday, for example, almost 143,000 of the world’s 230,000 new cases were in North and South America. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters, “It would appear that many countries are losing gains made as proven measures to reduce risk are not implemented or followed.”

Asymptomatic Transmissions — The CDC reported today that approximately 40% of people infected with COVID-19 are asymptomatic; the chance of transmission from them is 75%.

Hot Spots — Miami Beach hospitals (and ICUs) are at full capacity; Los Angeles daily cases are increasing and hospitalizations are substantially higher than a month ago; dramatic increases are also being seen in South Carolina (percent positive of tests was at a staggering 20.6% this weekend) and Louisiana (1,300 new cases reported Sunday with 99% being community spread in people aged 29 or younger — now mandating masks and shut downs); Arizona is reporting higher numbers than were ever seen in NY. Fourteen states are holding steady (Alaska, AZ, MD, MS, Nevada, NH, Oregon, NY, RI, SC, SD, TN, WY and Washington State), three states are in decline (DE, Maine, NJ), and NYC had its first day without a COVID-19 death since March 11.

Vaccine Update — As several drug companies move closer to developing a potential vaccine in pursuit of controlled “herd immunity,” the role of antibodies could become even more important in determining how well it works, how often one would need to receive it, or if a booster is necessary to prolong protection. Health officials have said there is insufficient data, thus far, to indicate that antibodies ensure immunity against the COVID-19, which could mean patients who have recovered may be able to get COVID-19 again. A limited study published in Nature Medicine last month seemed to validate those concerns in that showed that coronavirus antibodies could last only two to three months after a person becomes infected.STATE OF MICHIGAN UPDATE

Statewide Mask Mandate — On Friday, the Governor mandated that businesses open to the public deny service or entry to customers who refuse to wear mask. She also expanded where people must have a face covering beyond indoor public spaces. Masks must be worn outdoors if a person cannot consistently keep six feet from non-household members, and while using public transportation, a taxi or a ride-sharing vehicle. Violators are subject to a misdemeanor charge and up to a $500 fine. Exceptions include: Children under five, while eating or drinking in a restaurant, if the mask interferes with exercise, if you are communicating with someone who is hearing impaired, cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, if you need to be identified, are a member of public safety, if you are giving a broadcast or religious service or if you are receiving a service that requires you to momentarily remove the mask.

Implicit Bias Training  — Citing the disparate impact COVID-19 and other health issues have on people of color, the Governor issued a directive last Thursday requiring health professionals to take implicit bias training to obtain or renew their licenses.

Outbreaks We Are Watching —

EAST LANSING, MI – Coronavirus cases linked to East Lansing bar Harper’s Pub soared to 152. The surge in cases was reported July 2. The infections spread to 13 counties around the state (128 are direct cases, and the balance are considered secondary cases, meaning people who were not at the pub contracted the virus from being in close contact with those who were). First-hand cases range from people aged 18-28, with secondary cases ranging from 16-63. In response, Michigan’s Governor closed most indoor bar services.

WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI — A large house party in the Saline area during the 4th of July weekend caused an outbreak, particularly among young people, in the Ann Arbor area. The Washtenaw County Health Department has identified 43 positive cases of COVID-19 and 66 exposed close contacts, not including patients’ household members.

ANTRIM COUNTY, MI — Following a Fourth of July weekend party on Torch Lake, a local health department reports that several people have tested positive this week for COVID-19; health officials have now labeled this year’s annual “Torch Fest” as a potential exposure site. The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is urging anyone who attended the multi-day boat and sandbar party to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19.

CASS COUNTY, MI — Organizers of a party at Diamond Lake near Kalamazoo, where hundreds of people without masks packed onto a sandbar on the Fourth of July, face potential charges for defying the state’s social-distancing requirements. Videos of the party circulated on social media, drawing the ire of public officials. The party was held one day after Michigan reported the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in more than a month, and many speculate was a key factor in eliciting the statewide mask-wearing mandate issued late last week.

Keeping Perspective — Health officials recommend looking at seven-day moving averages to evaluate data trends. Michigan is now averaging 488 new cases and 14 new deaths per day. As of July 10, hospitals in Michigan were treating 366 coronavirus patients, including 99 on ventilators. About 74% of in-patient hospital beds were reported occupied in total. While deaths and hospitalization trends continue to decline, those indicators often lag several weeks behind trends in cases.


Why is Kent County’s death rate one of the lowest in the state? Kent County has the fourth most COVID-19 cases (5,800) trailing only Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties; and its death rate is at 2.6% compared to the statewide rate of 8.8% (even smaller counties have higher rates, including Ottawa County at 4%, Jackson County at 6%, Calhoun County at 7.1% and St. Clair County at 10%.) While local officials cannot pinpoint a single factor, they believe its a combination of things including: targeted testing of at-risk populations that allowed faster pinpointing and containment; and unlike Detroit, Kent County (and surrounding communities) had time to get supplies and were ready when testing criteria was broadened, which also helped contain the virus.

Updated: July 6, 2020 – 4:28 PM

Michigan — Recovered 52,841 (reported weekly); Cases 72,941; Deaths 6,218
Kent County — Cases 4,875; Deaths 136
Ottawa County — Cases 1,135; Deaths 51
Muskegon County — Cases 897; Deaths 51
National Update

Hot Spots — The number of people hospitalized grew by 5% or more Sunday in 23 states, based on a seven-day moving average.

Los Angeles — Today, County health officials formally urged local hospitals to prepare facilities and staff for a surge of coronavirus patients in the coming days. “Today I write you to urge that you begin implementing your decompression plans,” wrote Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer and Health Officer Muntu Davis in a letter to the region’s hospital executives. “Los Angeles County data is continuing to show a steep increase in the number of community cases of COVID-19. The daily number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients continues to rise, and the LA County Department of Health Services (LAC DHS) is projecting a marked increase in the coming weeks.” Ferrer and Davis went on to warn that if the trend continues, the number of ICU beds — already a limited resources — “is likely to become inadequate in the near future.” That near future is the next two to three weeks.

Miami – Today, Miami-Dade County closed bars and restaurants. “We want to ensure that our hospitals continue to have the staffing necessary to save lives. At this time, I plan to keep open various outdoor activities, including condominium and hotel pools with strict social distancing and masks rules, as well as summer camps and child daycare centers with strict capacity limits, requiring masks and social distancing of at least 6 feet,” Mayor Carols Gimenez said in a statement. The county’s beaches will be open Tuesday but the Mayor said they would be closed again if beachgoers fail to follow anti-crowding rules. Offices, retail stores and personal grooming businesses will remain open “for now,” he added.

Texas — Texas had more than 8,000 hospitalized cases patients on Sunday, a record number of hospitalizations and one of the highest in the country, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project. Hospitals in at least two Texas counties, Starr and Hidalgo, are at full capacity and local officials are urging residents there to shelter in place and avoid gatherings, according to local officials. Hospitals are on track to be overwhelmed in approximately two weeks as cases mount, Mayor Sylvester Turner said on CBS’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday.


Statistical Milestones (some perspective) —

  • This week there were no new coronavirus-related deaths reported Sunday, the first time since the mid-March when the first COVID-19 death was reported by the state.
  • Michigan reported Monday fewer than 300 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time in five days.
  • As of Thursday, the state had tracked 315 hospitalized inpatients with COVID-19 compared to mid-April, when Michigan had about 3,900 people in the hospital with COVID-19.
  • While Michigan has experienced an increase in new cases in recent days, the increases are small compared with what’s happening in other states.
  • Michigan, which once ranked third for cases and deaths nationally, now ranks 12th for cases and seventh for deaths linked to the virus, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University.
  • Last week, the state reported 2,524 new cases, a six-week high, according to the state’s data. Still, the tally is less than half of the total for any week in April.
  • Likewise, the number of new deaths linked to the virus has remained low in recent weeks and the weekly percentage of tests returning positive results has crept upward but has been under 3% for four weeks now.

EMS & ER Update —  In an effort to better understand the impact that COVID fear is having on health outcomes, the State of Michigan health officials released a report last week that analyzed “out-of-hospital deaths and emergencies.”  Michigan EMS data show that cardiac arrest calls are up 43.3% between March and May compared to the same timeframe last year, with out-of-hospital deaths up a staggering 62%. And the CDC reported that ER visits were down 42% nationally at the outset of the pandemic.

Updated: June 22, 2020 – 4:20 PM

Michigan — Recovered 49,290 (reported weekly); Cases 67,957; Deaths 6,097
Kent County — Cases 4,603; Deaths 124
Ottawa County — Cases 971; Deaths 51
Muskegon County — Cases 822; Deaths 49


Trend lines — As of Sunday, the nation’s seven-day average of new COVID cases increased more than 24% compared with a week ago, according to Johns Hopkins University data. COVID-19-related hospitalizations are growing in 14 states as of Sunday, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Texas and Arizona have reported increases in people currently hospitalized COVID based on a seven-day moving average — In TX, a 37% increase compared with a week ago, and in AZ a near 29% increase compared with a week ago. As of Saturday, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 83% of inpatient beds and 85% of intensive-care unit beds were in use.

Therapy — Gilead Sciences Inc. announced plans to start human trials of an inhaled version of its anti-COVID-19 drug, Remdesivir. U.S. regulators gave Remdesivir emergency use authorization in May, and since has been used to treat hospitalized COVID patients after a study showed it could speed recovery. It is administered through daily infusions at a hospital over a course of five to ten days, however. An inhaled version could be used with a broader group of patients, including those with milder symptoms, who don’t need to be hospitalized.


State of Emergency Extended – Last week on June 18, the Governor signed Executive Order 2020-127, extending the state of emergency declaration related to COVID until July 16. A report from the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team (UK-based crisis scientific and advisory team looking at trends in England and U.S.) indicates aggressive mandates in MI lowered the number of cases and deaths that would have occurred without any intervention.  With reductions in COVID cases the State has relaxed restrictions on business activities and daily life. If current trends continue the Governor has stated that the entire state will be moved to Phase 5 (containment – all businesses opened with mitigation measures in place, gatherings still restricted in size with social distancing measures) by July 4.


State Parks Reopening — State Parks in Michigan (including Grand Haven) re-opened today, with restrictions. The state suspended use for the past three months to try and reduce face-to-face contact and the exchange of money due to COVID. State officials strongly encourage social distancing requirements. NOCHS will continue to communicate and work with local municipalities to provide real-time hospitalization and testing data enabling leaders to make informed decisions to protect NOCHS and the broader community should we see a change in trajectory.

North Ottawa Care Center/Hospice Testing Mandate —  On June 15, MDHHS released new guidance requiring diagnostic testing practices in skilled nursing facilities which requires:

  • Testing of all new or returning residents during intake and routine quarantine of new residents; testing of any resident or staff member with symptoms or suspected exposure.
  • Mandatory baseline testing of all existing residents and staff working at skilled nursing facilities in areas classified as medium risk of higher. (As of this morning, Ottawa and the majority of counties in the lower peninsula are categorized as medium risk.)
  • Weekly testing for staff until the county moves to a risk level below medium. (This will be checked routinely to ensure the facility’s testing protocols remain consistent with the State’s guidance.)
  • If facility develops a positive COVID case, weekly testing of residents and staff will occur until it has 14 days without COVID case development.  After that, weekly testing for residents will stop and if the facility is in an area under medium risk, weekly testing for staff will stop.
  • Hospice Community staff, who are providing care in skilled nursing facilities, and our Hospice Residence staff will also be tested on a weekly basis while our region remains in a medium or high risk area.  Hospice of North Ottawa Community has been testing its residents upon admission or presence of symptoms and will continue to do so.

Updated: June 15, 2020 – 6:00 PM

Michigan — Recovered 44,964 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 66,085; Deaths 6,017
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 4,463; Deaths 115
Ottawa County — Confirmed Cases 936; Deaths 50
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 742; Deaths 42


Second Wave? — The number of active global cases hit an all-time high in June. Meanwhile, there is evidence that a second wave of infections is emerging in many parts of the U.S. All states have now begun reopening their economies, easing social distancing restrictions. But data show that, simultaneously, 22 states are trending in the wrong direction, showing at least a 25% increase in new cases last week. For weeks, the number of Americans testing positive for COVID-19 hovered around 20,000/day, but a change is taking place at the local level. While the incidence of new cases of COVID-19 is slowing in some parts of the country, it is growing rapidly in others. In addition to concerns about community spread as the economy re-openings, another contributing factor to rising case data, is more testing.

Experts Continue to Express Concern — In an interview published Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, top U.S. infectious-disease expert, warned that waves of infection could come “back and forth” for months and not begin returning to “normal” for at least a year. He added that the real end of the crisis will only come with the development of a vaccine, which remains in development with hopes of becoming available by end of this calendar year.

New Hotspots Emerging — While major cities like New York and Detroit have seen marked decreases in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Houston and Phoenix are dramatically increasing. Last week, Texas set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations in four of the five days. Health officials in both cities are concerned that the increase may strain hospital capacity.

FDA Revokes Usage of Two Drugs — The FDA has revoked its emergency-use authorization for two malaria drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, for the treatment of COVID-19, citing that it is more harmful (cardiac complications) than helpful.  After reviewing new information from large clinical trials the FDA believes that the suggested dosing regimens are unlikely to produce an antiviral effect. The drugs, which also have been used to treat lupus and other conditions, aren’t being removed from the market. And the FDA says the drugs can still be prescribed by doctors for “off-label” uses if they think it’s appropriate. Clinical trials also will continue. But the emergency permission granted by the agency last February that added the drugs to the federal stockpile and allowed them to be distributed to states for use against COVID-19 will end.


MDHHS Nursing Home Announcement Today — Later today, the MDHHS is expected to issue an Epidemiologic Order focused on testing protocols for all residents and staff in skilled nursing facilities. The order will also include further clarity on COVID-19 reporting requirements. Information expected to be announced by MDHHS includes:

  • Public release and posting of resident deaths by facility & staff deaths
  • Testing strategy for nursing facilities
  • Protocols for staff who test positive
  • The initiation of Rapid Response Teams designed to assist facilities in critical staffing situations
  •  Updates regarding Regional Hubs decommissioning and potential additional HUB locations
  •  Doctors Without Borders will be joining MDHHS to provide infection prevention & control support

North Ottawa Care Center has anticipated this announcement and is ready to quickly implement updated protocols as necessary. Restricted visitation is NOT expected to change as part of this announcement; the Governor’s EO for that does not expire until June 26.

Updated: June 8, 2020 – 5:00 PM

Michigan — Recovered 42,041 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 58,999; Deaths 5,673
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 3,954; 103 deaths
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 824; 43 deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 697; 40 deaths


Did the Shut-Downs Slow Disease Spread? Two independent studies published today examined how stay-at-home orders and other restrictions limited the spread of COVID-19. One indicates shutdowns prevented 60 million coronavirus infections in the U.S. Another estimated shutdowns saved about 3.1 million lives in 11 European countries, including 500,000 in the United Kingdom, and dropped infection rates by an average of 82 percent, sufficient to drive the contagion well below epidemic levels. The two reports, published simultaneously Monday in the journal Nature, used completely different methods to reach similar conclusions. They suggest that the aggressive measures, which caused massive economic disruptions and job losses, were effective at halting the exponential spread of the novel coronavirus. Full story:

WHO Warning Issued — In a news conference today, the World Health Organization warned that the pandemic is far from over, and strongly encouraged protesters to wear masks and maintain social distancing, as well as encouraged governments to be cautious during anti-racism demonstrations around the world. WHO officials acknowledged that several countries are seeing positive signs, but in these countries, the biggest threat now is complacency.


MDHHS Updates COVID-19 Stats on Website — In an effort to provide more information about COVID-19, MDHHS is providing additional and improved statistics on its website:

Starting today, you can see:

  • Confirmed and probable cases and deaths by age group, sex and race breakdowns for the state, preparedness regions and counties.
  • Total serologic and diagnostic tests by county and preparedness region.
  • Cumulative confirmed cases and deaths by date.

It’s also providing the national standard defining “probable” cases, in response to public confusion/scrutiny. Identifying probable cases and deaths provides a more complete picture about how COVID-19 has impacted the state. They are defined by one of the following:

  • Having clinical disease AND an epidemiologic link.
  • Having a presumptive lab result AND either clinical disease OR an epidemiologic link.
  • Having a death certificate that lists COVID-19 disease as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death without a positive COVID-19 confirmed lab result.

Executive Orders reopening parts of the state’s economy were issued last week by the Governor. These plans are being watched closely by governmental officials at every level to track the impact of public congregation on community spread of the disease. Here is a link to a great chart to help you keep tabs on what’s opening, when and where, and with what restrictions:


Urgent Care — As of today, the UC is now seeing all patients. (During the past few months it was using a telehealth screening mechanism to triage those with COVID symptoms and redirect to the ER if direct care was needed. That allowed the UC to minimize exposure to all other patients.)  The process is …

  • We still highly recommend that patients experiencing COVID-related symptoms call first to utilize the telehealth service.
  • All patients are triaged before entering the facility.
  • Those with COVID symptoms will be directed to a separate entrance and treated in rooms away from other patients by dedicated staff.
  • Patients needing non-COVID-related care will use the main entrance and be treated using standard protocol.

MillPoint Update — Lab is now opened, with X-Ray services resuming on Tuesday, June 9. Rehabilitation Services are still centralized at the Generation Care main facility on Lincoln St. in Grand Haven.COVID-19

Serology (Antibody) Testing — NOCHS is now performing IgG testing as well as total anti-body testing — both requiring a physician’s order and involving a blood draw. (A prior COVID-19 diagnostic test is not required.) “Total” antibody test results indicate if the patient has recently been infected or is currently infected. The IgG test give us even more specific results indicating if antibodies have present for 14 days or longer, presuming some level of immunity. How long that immunity lasts is still not known.

New Info on County Health Department COVID Dashboard — The County Health Department has added an important statistic to its dashboard, which is updated daily. Localized hospitalization data is now available in real time. This is, perhaps, the most important metric to watch as we move into the phased economic reopening. If we see hospitalizations sharply increase, it may be a signal that our community needs to adjust its plans/activity and strengthen social distancing measures.

Updated: June 4, 2020 – 4:30 PM

Michigan — Recovered 38,099 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 58,241; Deaths 5,595
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 3,851; 95 deaths
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 807; 38 deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 675; 37 deaths

On Wednesday, June 3 The Governor announced an Executive Order expanding visitation in hospitals, outpatient clinics and doctor’s offices effective immediately, provided visitors can pass a health evaluation prior to entering the facility.

NOCHS has revised its policy accordingly. This new policy has been posted throughout the campus, along with reminders that all personnel and visitors must wear a mask at all times.


Updated visitor restrictions are as follows :

  • One visitor per patient per day for inpatients & outpatients
  • Two visitors per patient per day for minors and patients in the Family Birthing Unit
  • No visitors for COVID positive patients unless extenuating circumstances.


In compliance with the Governor’s Executive Order, which remains in place for nursing home facilities, no visitors are allowed at this time.


In compliance with the Governor’s Executive Order, which remains in place for Hospice facilities, we require that everyone must wear a mask and will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19. The visitor restrictions are as follows:

  • Two visitors per patient per day

Updated: June 1, 2020 – 4:49 PM

Michigan — Recovered 38,099 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 57,532; Deaths 5,516
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 3,748; 89 deaths
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 781; 34 deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 645; 36 deaths


NEW: Health, State and Municipal Officials raised concerns this weekend about the possible impact of the protests on the health crisis. As of Sunday, the United States had recorded 1.7 million coronavirus infections and 103,000 deaths — a disproportionate number of them people of color. Crowded protests, like any large gathering, can facilitate spread of the disease; close proximity for extended periods of time and shouting/screaming that projects droplets farther, are chief concerns. Further, tear gas was used in some situations causing people to cough, sneeze and rub their eyes. Finally, arrests resulting in incarceration put people at even more risk, because jails are higher risk communal environments. On the other hand, outdoor open spaces and breezes dilute and disperse the virus. Still, experts are tracking concerns closely in the wake of a positive case emerging in the Ozarks after a record number of people gathered in local pools during Memorial Day weekend. A public health notice was issued in Camden County for anyone who participated in those holiday gatherings to self-quarantine and get tested. A similar, proactive notice was issued by Atlanta’s Mayor yesterday for protest attendees in that city to get tested.

NEW: New Treatment Testing  — Drug maker, Eli Lilly began the first study of an experimental drug derived from a blood sample of an early U.S. survivor of COVID-19, a new effort to take advantage of the molecular defenses developed by recovered patients.

NEW: COVID-19 Symptom May Be Permanent — Clinicians racing to understand COVID-19 are starting to discern an unusual trend: one common symptom—the loss of smell and taste—can linger months after recovery. Doctors say it is possible some survivors may never taste or smell again.


NEW: Stay-At-Home Order Lifted — The Governor announced today that the stay-at-home order will lift five days earlier than planned, on June 8, for the remainder of Michigan regions. These regions, comprising 93% of the state’s population, will move to Phase 4 entitled “Improving” within the MI Safe Start program. The Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan have been in Phase 4 for two weeks. Beginning immediately, outdoor gatherings of 100 people or less may resume with social distancing measures in place. Outdoor fitness, drive-in movies, and in-house services may also resume. Office work can resume, but if work can be performed from home, that is still preferred. On Thursday, June 4, retail may resume without appointments. And on Monday, June 8, restaurants may reopen to dine-in customers at 50% capacity.  Some businesses where close contact is necessary — gyms, hair salons, indoor theaters and casinos — will remain closed. The hope is to reopen all businesses by July 4.

NEW: MI Symptoms Web Tracker (Data Collection) — In an effort to help safely reengage the economy, the MDHHS and Labor and Economic Opportunity have collaborated with the U of M School of Public Health and College of Engineering to design a portal for employers also Michigan residents. Users enter information daily to help identify symptoms that might be caused by the virus and to make decisions about when to seek appropriate medical care. Local and state public health will also use the collective data to help identify the potential for new outbreaks of the disease. To log in visit:

NEW: Health Facility Visitation — On Friday, May 29 the Governor issued an EO extending strict visitor limitation requirements for hospitals and nursing homes, and the screening mandate for staff and visitors through June 26. In a separate EO that same day, the Governor extended the screening, employee notification and mask mandates for food-selling establishments and pharmacies through June 12.

REMINDER: Elective Cases Resume — The Governor’s EO temporarily banning elective surgery was lifted Friday, May 29 allowing all cases to be scheduled at hospitals across the state.


NEW: COVID-19 Serology (Antibody) Testing — NOCHS is now performing total in-house anti-body testing, requiring a physician’s order and involving a blood draw. (A prior COVID-19 diagnostic test is not required.) “Total” antibody test results indicate if the patient has recently been infected or is currently infected. A different test panel, set to launch later this week, will generate even more specific results. The test referred to as the “IgG antibody test” will tell us if antibodies have present for 14 days or longer, presuming some level of immunity. How long that immunity lasts is still not known.

NEW: North Ottawa Care Center Update

The Governor released an updated Executive Order extending the visitor restrictions through June 26.  As a result, long term care facilities will continue the visitor guidance encouraging telephone visits, ZOOM meetings and window visits.  We apologize if there is a delay in having an open phone line.   You may bring a cell phone for short term residents to assist in having an easier access to phone calls.  As we see in many communities near the lakeshore, the cell phone service can change at times.  For long term care residents, may we suggest the option of adding a land line the resident’s room.  You may do this by calling your phone provider, such as AT&T and asking to set up the phone line.  Please contact our Admissions office as they coordinate the internal set up. We have seen the best luck with large numbered telephones for ease of reading. 
For window visits, please note the record setting rainfall that we have seen this spring has resulted in an increasing amount of mosquitos.  We have contracted with services to spray for mosquitos, however it is a good plan to be prepared with appropriate bug repellant when going outdoors. 
We will continue all screening activities and ensure staff are wearing surgical masks as identified in the Executive Order.   As you may have experienced, wearing surgical masks can impact communication as it is difficult to read facial expressions or read people’s lips when they are speaking.  If you identify this as a barrier for your loved one, we can use communication boards to aide in improved communication. Please ask your nurse or neighborhood Team leader for assistance with this.
Thank you for your ongoing support as we implement the best strategies in keeping our residents safe.

Updated: May 26, 2020 – 5:05 PM

Michigan — Recovered 33,168 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 54,881; Deaths 5,240
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 3,385; 68 deaths
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 709; 27 deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 603; 31 deaths


Worldwide Impact — There are now more than 5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, and U.S. cases account for nearly a third of them. It’s worth noting that the true number of cases may actually be higher due to testing lags, some countries not fully reporting data and asymptomatic people not getting tested. This case milestone prompted the director of the CDC to say he can’t guarantee whether a second round of lockdowns is coming as a possible second wave of the virus looms. Further, WHO emergencies head, Dr. Mike Ryan, said countries in Europe and North America should “continue to put in place the public health and social measures, the surveillance measures, the testing measures and a comprehensive strategy to ensure that we continue on a downwards trajectory and we don’t have an immediate second peak.”

U.S. Impact — Overall, the new cases by day continues to decline nationwide, as the death toll reaches almost 100,000. As of May 20, going into the holiday weekend, each state that had imposed a stay-at-home order or shelter in place (including Michigan) had begun lifting the restrictions of businesses and public spaces. People were allowed, in some places, to go back to restaurants and offices and places of worship generating multiple reports of social distancing defiance. State officials and health experts continue to seek expanded testing, contact tracing, improved treatment options and vaccine development as they consider moving forward reopening in phases.

STATE OF MICHIGAN UPDATEElective Surgery Allowed — In a May 21 news conference, the Governor rescinded the temporary ban on elective surgeries effective Friday, May 29, with no other restrictions imposed. This prompted an brief, immediate statement from the Michigan Hospital Association that you can read here:

Trend Lines — Sunday, May 24, was Michigan’s lowest single day death total since March. As of this past weekend, more than 330,000 recoveries were reported.

Antibody Testing Reports —  As antibody testing becomes more widely available, health officials will begin separately reporting results of statewide diagnostic and antibody testing, which previously had been reported together. Out of the 512,891 total tests that have been conducted statewide, 450,918 of those tests were diagnostic tests and 61,973 were serology (antibody) tests. Health officials emphasized the change in reporting will not affect the percentage of positive tests that are reported statewide.


NOCHS Surgical Reopening Status — Starting this week Friday, May 29, NOCHS will be providing full surgical, endoscopic and diagnostic services once again. While we have been slowly ramping back up by allowing time-sensitive cases to be scheduled at the direction of referring physicians, we have ample capacity to welcome all patients seeking elective surgical care. For a complete list of services that have re-opened visit:

Thank you, Brenn Fricano for your donation of homemade face masks! ❤️😷❤️ We love the bright colors!

Thank you, Little Caesars for providing lunch to our hospital and Urgent Care staff on Memorial Day!

Updated: May 21, 2020 – 4:34 PM

Michigan —
Recovered 28,234 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 53,510; Deaths 5,129  
Kent County —
Confirmed Cases 3,145; 62 deaths 
Ottawa County — 
Confirmed Cases 632; 25 deaths
Muskegon County —
Confirmed Cases 552; 26 deaths

Governor Whitmer Lifts Ban on Elective Surgeries and Procedures

Starting Friday, May 29, health care providers can perform nonessential medical, dental, and veterinary procedures. Read more here.

Please call your physician to reschedule or schedule your surgery or procedure at NOCHS. All services are OPEN at NOCH. 

Global Coronavirus Cases Hit 5,000,000 – see all the numbers here.

US Must Prepare for Second Wave And Lockdowns

Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, says the U.S. must be as “overprepared as possible” for a second wave of both lockdowns and infections. Read more here.

Updated: May 19, 2020 – 4:55 PM

Michigan —
Recovered 28,234 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 52,350; Deaths 5,017  
Kent County —
Confirmed Cases 2,934; 58 deaths 
Ottawa County — 
Confirmed Cases 573; 25 deaths
Muskegon County —
Confirmed Cases 519; 25 deaths

Michigan’s Coronavirus Deaths Surpass 5,000

The State of Michigan announced 102 additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total number of coronavirus-related deaths to 5,017.

The state also announced 435 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing that total to 52,350. Read more here.

Click here to read how to keep your home virus free.

Please do not delay seeking medical care.

If you had a medical procedure or surgery delayed, speak to your doctor to see when you can reschedule. And please go to the Emergency Room or call 911 if you are experiencing life threatening symptoms.

Updated: May 18, 2020 – 5:11 PM

Michigan —
Recovered 28,234 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 51,915; Deaths 4,915  
Kent County —
Confirmed Cases 2,868; 56 deaths 
Ottawa County — 
Confirmed Cases 558; 24 deaths
Muskegon County —
Confirmed Cases 513; 24 deaths


Vaccine Trial — A vaccine manufacturer, Moderna, is reporting preliminary data suggesting its COVID-19 vaccine is safe, and appears to be eliciting in test subjects the kind of immune response capable of preventing disease. Read more about it here

Pediatric Multi-Symptom Inflammatory Syndrome — On May 15, the CDC issued a national health advisory and posted information on its web site about the emerging illness. Today, the CDC issued another warning that children could develop this syndrome without ever knowing they were infected with the new coronavirus. More than 20 cases have been diagnosed in Michigan. Read more about it here

At-home COVID-19 sample collection kit — The FDA announced on Saturday that it has authorized the emergency use of Everlywell, Inc.’s COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit. The product is a standalone, at-home, nasal-swab sample collection kit that can be sent to specified labs for subsequent COVID-19 diagnostic testing using certain tests separately authorized by FDA for use with the new kit. The labs authorized to test specimens collected using the authorized kit are Fulgent Therapeutics and Assurance Scientific Laboratories. Individuals must be screened via an online questionnaire, the results of which are reviewed by health care professionals, in order to gain access to the kit. Results are returned to the patient through Everlywell’s independent physician network and online portal.

Regional Re-opening Plans
–The Governor announced today, by Executive Order informed by the Michigan Economic Recovery Commission, the partial reopening of Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Starting Friday (May 22), two regions — 6 and 8, which include 17 northern Michigan counties and the entire Upper Peninsula — will see some restrictions lifted. The decision was based on data analysis that show fewer positive cases diagnosed and deaths per day over a period of time, compared to state averages. The plan reopens retail and offices, including bars and restaurants, which will be required to operate at 50% capacity. Those businesses also must train employees on safety protocol, keep groups six feet from one another and require workers to wear face coverings. The EO does allow local government to take more restrictive stances, such as allowing only for outdoor seating. Small social gatherings of up to 10 people are now also permitted. Overnight lodging, campgrounds and rental properties in these regions are not yet permitted to reopen.

Testing — Michigan is now performing 15K diagnostic tests per day; ranking #6 in total daily tests and #7 in daily tests per million, nationally.


North Ottawa Care Center at Heartwood Lodge — In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order and our licensing authority, visitation at North Ottawa Care Center remains suspended. However, electronic ZOOM meetings and telephone visits are still available and highly encouraged. Window visits have also become a popular and welcomed way to interact safely with loved ones. As we transition from the cold winter months into spring and summer weather, we have developed updated visitor guidance that will impact how window visits, specifically, are conducted.

The warmer weather can allow us the opportunity to bring some normalcy back to our routines by allowing our residents to go outside to stroll in the gardens. This is an important component in quality of life and we appreciate your support as we move forward in assisting our resident’s while they spend much-needed time outdoors. Therefore, the courtyard will be closed to visitors when residents are outside. This may limit window visits for those residents with rooms looking onto the courtyard. We are happy to provide the option of window visits in the resident’s room or via the doors at the end of the hallway. We will continue to provide a phone to assist you with conversation, as the windows need to remain closed during these visits to minimize potential exposure.

At this time, we have placed a sign on the gate alerting our visitors that when residents are present, the courtyard is closed to visitors. “Gate visits” are prohibited as there is concern as the resident(s) may be exposed to the virus from our visitors. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Administrator or Director of Nursing.  We appreciate your on-going support as we make every attempt to ensure the safety of our residents.

Please remember, the State Ombudsman Office hosts a family conference call every Wednesday at 6:30pm via ZOOM.  This is a great opportunity to connect with the Ombudsman to answer questions on the licensing offices directives and protocols.

Please do not delay seeking medical care.

If you had a medical procedure or surgery delayed, speak to your doctor to see when you can reschedule. And please go to the Emergency Room or call 911 if you are experiencing life threatening symptoms.

Updated: May 15, 2020 – 4:00 PM

Michigan — Recovered 22,686 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 50,079 Deaths 4,825
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 2,705; deaths 53
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 501; 24 deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 452; 22 deaths

Michigan records 50,000 positive COVID-19 cases.

The state is also nearing 5,000 deaths. Testing has continued to rise in the state and the Governor urges all residents who are experiencing symptoms to get tested.

The Governor launches an advisory council called, Return to Learn to figure out a plan for children to safely return to school.

The panel will be made up of more than 20 members representing K-12 administrators and educators, health experts and community stakeholders

Anyone interested can apply for the Return to Learn Advisory Council by going to and click ‘apply now’ under boards and commissions. You will be able to choose Return to School Advisory Council under the appointment information tab within the application. Applications are due by Wednesday, May 20.

Please do not delay seeking medical care.

If you had a medical procedure or surgery delayed, speak to your doctor to see when you can reschedule. And please go to the Emergency Room or call 911 if you are experiencing life threatening symptoms.

NOCHS Spring Lake Mill Point Lab temporarily closes.

The lab draw site is now closed. Please go to the hospital’s main lab located at 1309 Sheldon in Grand Haven for lab work.

Updated: May 14, 2020 – 4:30 PM

Michigan — Recovered 22,686 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 49,582 Deaths 4,787
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 2,627; deaths 48
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 483; 23 deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 435; 21 deaths

Backlogged Cases Reported in State’s COVID Numbers Today

Michigan has confirmed an additional 1,191 cases of coronavirus, a much larger increase than in recent days that the state attributed to the processing of backlogged results. The state says though the backlogged cases took a while to get into the state system, the patients who tested positive were notified in a timely manner. You can read more here.

Donate Blood
NOCHS is hosting an American Red Cross Blood Drive at Harvest Church on Friday, June 12 from 10 AM to 3:45 PM. There is an urgent need for blood donations nationwide.

If you would like to donate, please email to reserve your spot.

Mask Care
Here are some important things to know about how to wear, remove and care for your face mask.

Q. Why do I need to wear a mask in public?
A. You can have an active COVID-19 infection even if you don’t have symptoms. Wearing a mask protects other people. It helps keep you from spreading the virus unknowingly to others. If we all exercise this courtesy, we will help prevent the spread of the virus.

Q. Does a mask or face covering protect me from the virus?
A. The virus enters your body primarily through mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth). A homemade cloth mask does not have the filters needed to protect you from inhaling the virus. The best protection for you is to wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, and practice social distancing. However, it is very important that you wear a face covering to avoid spreading the virus unknowingly to others.

Q. What is the proper way to wear a mask?
A. The mask or face covering helps keep droplets of moisture from spreading in the air as you talk, cough or sneeze. You need to fully cover your nose and mouth in order for the mask to do its job. Don’t forget your nose!

Q. How and when should I take my mask off?
A. It is best to wait until you are in your car or your home before removing your face covering, so that you can follow a safe procedure. The recommended way to handle your mask is as follows. First, sanitize or wash your hands. Then remove the mask, being careful not to touch the outside of the mask. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Place the mask either in a paper bag or directly in the laundry, depending on where you are and what kind of face covering you have. Then sanitize or wash your hands again.

Q. What should I do with my mask after I remove it?
A. If your mask or face covering can be washed, the safest recommendation is to wash it every time you wear it. If your face covering cannot be washed, then place it in a paper bag to dry before you wear it again. Do not place it in a plastic bag or closed container. Trapping a moist mask in a place without air circulation is an invitation to grow unhealthy bacteria! It’s a good idea to keep a paper bag in your car so that you have a place to put your mask after you remove it. Then you can either carry it in the house for washing, or leave it in the car to dry for its next use.

Updated: May 13, 2020 – 4:58 PM

Michigan — Recovered 22,686 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 48,391 Deaths 4,714
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 2,446; deaths 47
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 444; 21 deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 406; 20 deaths
Donate Blood
NOCHS is hosting an American Red Cross Blood Drive at Harvest Church on Friday, June 12 from 10 AM to 3:45 PM. There is an urgent need for blood donations nationwide.

If you would like to donate, please email to reserve your spot.

From the Local Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak continues to evolve, it is important for the long term care ombudsman program to continue to advocate for residents in licensed nursing homes, adult foster care, and homes for the aged more than ever.  We recognize the importance of keeping family and friends informed of ever-changing guidelines.  We have created weekly question and answer sessions.  These sessions are designed to respond to questions being raised over the course of the week, allowing us to research and respond accordingly.

Sessions are one hour and take place every Wednesday at 6:30 pm.  We encourage families and friends of residents to join the calls.  If you have a specific question you would like answered, please contact us at 517-827-8010 and leave a message or send us a detailed email at  We look forward to hearing from you!

Please be sure to visit our website at for more details about the call and for information about COVID-19 and the ombudsman program.

Updated: May 12, 2020 – 4:59 PM

Michigan — Recovered 22,686 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 48,021; Deaths 4,674
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 2,332; deaths 45
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 430; 20 deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 401; 20 deaths
Overall the state of Michigan is making progress in flattening the curve. Here are seven indicators that show Michigan’s positive progress in the coronavirus crisis.
As the state’s numbers decrease, Ottawa County is seeing an uptick in cases. You can read more about it here.
In case you missed it – The Michigan National Guard saluted medical workers from Grand Rapids skies today. Check out a video of it on our Facebook and Instagram.
Thank you, Coastal Community Church and Aldea Coffee for providing a morning perk for our employees during National Hospital Week!

Updated: May 11, 2020 – 4:48 PM

Michigan — Recovered 22,686 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 47,552; Deaths 4,584
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 2,416; deaths 42
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 420; 19 deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 384; 20 deaths

COVID-19 Link to Pediatric Illness — Nationwide, nearly 100 children have been diagnosed with the newly identified syndrome called, Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Potentially Associated with COVID-19. At least eight states — California, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington — as well as Washington, D.C., have reported cases. None in Michigan at this time. Health officials urge parents to seek immediate care if a child has:

  • Prolonged fever (more than five days)
  • Difficulty feeding (infants) or is too sick to drink fluids
  • Severe abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Change in skin color – becoming pale, patchy and/or blue
  • Trouble breathing or is breathing very quickly
  • Racing heart or chest pain
  • Decreased amount of frequency in urine
  • Lethargy, irritability or confusion

Most concerning is that children can develop problems with heart function; possibly the result of a child’s immune system going into overdrive after a COVID-19 infection. Many, but not all, children with the condition have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Some children don’t develop symptoms until a month after exposure to the virus.

New COVID-19 Antigen Test — The first emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 antigen test has been issued by the FDA. Antigen tests are a new category of tests for use in the coronavirus pandemic and quickly detect fragments of proteins from the virus in samples collected by swab from people’s noses. It’s a very rapid test that could be used in a doctor’s office on the same machines used to test for strep throat and flu. PCR tests (like the ones we do in NOCHS’ lab) are incredibly accurate, but take time. This test could provide results in minutes, but may not detect all active infections because they aren’t as sensitive. Positive results from antigen tests are highly accurate, but there is a higher chance of false negatives; negative results do not rule out infection. Negative results may need to be confirmed with a PCR test prior to making treatment decisions or to prevent the possible spread.


Industry Reopening Update — The Governor has reopened manufacturing starting today. Automakers don’t resume until May 18. Companies must provide daily entry screenings for all entering the facility, question about symptoms/exposure, and do temperature checks as soon as no-touch thermometers can be obtained. Companies must also create dedicated entry points and suspend entry of all non-essential in-person visits, including tours.

COVID-19 Treatment — Michigan is one of six states getting a shipment of remdesivir a drug that has shown to help coronavirus patients recover faster in preliminary trials. The HHS shipped 40 cases to Michigan. Health care providers have been asked to contact the state health department if interesting in procuring. Going forward, HHS is requesting certain data from hospitals to inform HHS’s distribution, e.g. weekly data on the number of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients and, of those hospitalized, the number requiring placement in intensive care units.


Predicitve Model Update — More analysis of the predictive models (U of M, U of Pennsylvania and suggest that West Michigan, and specifically Ottawa County, will continue to experience a flattened curve, assuming social distancing mitigation continues. Some have confused “flattened curve” with less disease. That’s not entirely accurate. The goal was to slow the spread so hospitals would not be overwhelmed with cases spiking all at once, like we saw in Detroit and elsewhere. But the curve — although flatter — is still a curve. This means we will still see increases in positive cases continue to rise locally, because we are testing more; and some of those will require hospitalization. That elevation may sustain for a while. But it is looking less likely that we will see a “surge” or maxing out regional hospital capacity. A few models continue to indicate that peak illness could come in a few weeks, while one predicts it could come as late as July. Regardless the virus will be with us, in some form, for a while.

NOCHS Reopening Plan — NOCHS summarized its phased reopening plan for services at the hospital on a new landing page of the web site,

Updated: May 7, 2020 – 4:15 PM

Michigan — Recovered 15,659 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 45,646; Deaths 4,343
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 2,076; deaths 41
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 331; 17 deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 344 cases; 19 deaths

Stay Home, Stay Safe – In a press conference today, Governor Whitmer extended the Stay Home, Stay Safe orders until May 28. She also discussed a six step phase plan to reopen Michigan’s economy (read here).

The governor said the state is currently in phase three.

The phases are:

  1. UNCONTROLLED GROWTH: The increasing number of new cases every day, overwhelming our health systems.
  2. PERSISTENT SPREAD: We continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity.
  3. FLATTENING: The epidemic is no longer increasing and the health-system’s capacity is sufficient for current needs.
  4. IMPROVING: Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are clearly declining.
  5. CONTAINING: Continued case and death rate improvements, with outbreaks quickly contained.
  6. POST-PANDEMIC: Community spread not expected to return.

The new order will also allow manufacturing, including the Big 3 automakers, to resume work on Monday May 11. Under the order, manufacturing facilities must adopt safety measure to protect workers from spreading COVID-19. See the press conference, here.

Hydroxychloroquine: According to a new observational study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, Hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old malaria drug touted by President Donald Trump, didn’t appear to help hospitalized patients with Covid-19. Read more here.

Ten COVID-19 Anxiety Reduction Strategies: Stay Home Stay Safe order from Governor Whitmer is in place to keep Michiganders safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ever changing news and information about COVID-19 may increase anxiety. Here are some things you can do to help relax and lessen stress. 

By the Numbers: Here is a good link to see how we are doing overall as a state with coronavirus. Click here.


NOCHS Spring Lake Lab Draw Site Re-opens

NOCHS’ lab draw site at Mill Point Station in Spring Lake is now open. Operating hours are Monday – Friday, 6:30 am to 3:00 pm.

North Ottawa Care Center – Mother’s Day Flowers

Mother’s Day is soon approaching and we would like to encourage those who have family members at Heartwood Lodge to send flowers a few days earlier this year because of the extra precautions we are putting into place due to COVID-19.

If you are planning to send flowers, please consider having them put in a glass vase for same day delivery. We will be sanitizing all glass vases before bringing them to any resident. Items in plastic pots or baskets will also be wiped down, but will be stored in a plastic bin, with your resident’s name on it and held for 72 hours before being delivered for extra precaution.

We would highly encourage glass vases this year so that your family member can receive the flowers the same day.


Updated: May 6, 2020 – 4:20 PM

Michigan — Recovered 15,659 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 45,054; Deaths 4,250
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 2,016; deaths 40
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 313; 13 deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 335 cases; 19 deaths

Giving Tuesday – Thank you to all who donated to NOCHS on #GivingTuesday. We continue to be blessed by your generous support yesterday, and every day.

National Nurse Week and Hospital Week – Today is the beginning of a national two-week celebration honoring all nurses and health care workers. We are thankful for their courage and grateful for all they give. Here’s to the 173 nurses, and nearly 900 employees and physicians at NOCHS. Every one of them a front-line hero.

Upcoming Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Mental Illness & COVID-19

Many of us have questions on how COVID-19 will affect mental health in our area, and what is being done to prepare for the expected increase in needs. Here’s your chance to hear critical and timely information, and ask questions from the safety of your home. Learn more here:

Reminder: If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, please call our testing hotline at 616.935.7810.

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Thank you — Taryn Bradtmueller for the homemade ear savers and M.W. Watermark for the fabric masks.

Updated: May 5, 2020 – 4:45 PM

Michigan — Recovered 15,659 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 44,397; Deaths 4,179
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 1,914; deaths 40
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 295; 12 deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 318 cases; 18 deaths

Giving Tuesday — Today is #GivingTuesdayNOW, a global initiative we are participating in to support nonprofits in our communities.

We need each other like never before. You need expert care, close by. We need your investment.
If there is anything that the last few weeks have taught us, it’s that “community” is still very much our middle name. We’re in this together now, and for the long-term. Your ongoing support in the form of in-kind donations, monetary donations (in any amount) and choosing us for services keeps our expertise embedded in this community, doing our part to keep our hometown strong. We are beyond grateful for the outpouring of love and respect you’ve showered upon us. We feel it deeply. We hope you feel the same from us with every interaction, every single day. We are so honored to be here.
And we thank you from the bottom of our heart.
Watch a special message here:

Thank you to Jeff Gural at Northwind Productions for gifting us this video for #GivingTuesdayNOW.

Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Mental Illness & COVID-19

Many of us have questions on how COVID-19 will affect mental health in our area, and what is being done to prepare for the expected increase in needs. Here’s your chance to hear critical and timely information, and ask questions from the safety of your home. Learn more here:

Grand Haven State Park lots closed due to overcrowding

The parking lots at Grand Haven State Park have been closed due to “overwhelming crowds ignoring physical distancing requirements. Read more here.

Updated: May 4, 2020 – 5:56 PM

Michigan —
Recovered15,659 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 43,754; Deaths 4,049
Kent County —
Confirmed Cases 1,786; deaths 39
Ottawa County — 
Confirmed Cases 275; 12 deaths
Muskegon County —
Confirmed Cases 304 cases; 17 deaths

Giving Tuesday — May 5 is #GivingTuesdayNOW, a global initiative we will be participating in to support nonprofits in our communities. Look for our posts on Facebook throughout the day to find ways to support NOCHS.


Social Distancing Guidelines — The President allowed the federal government’s coronavirus social distancing guidelines to expire on April 30, allowing states to take charge.

COVID-19 Treatment — The FDA authorized antiviral drug, remdesivir, for emergency use as a coronavirus treatment. A recently completed study led by the NIH found that remdesivir shortened the recovery time for some coronavirus patients by four days.

Antibody Test — Swiss drugmaker Roche received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for an antibody test designed to help determine if a person has been infected by the coronavirus and developed antibodies against it. Its reported that the test (blood draw) has a specificity rate exceeding 99.8% and sensitivity of 100%, meaning tests would show very few false positives and no false negatives. The World Health Organization, however, has warned that it’s too early to say whether people who have had the virus are immune from subsequent infections.


Status of Stay-At-Home Restrictions  The Governor announced revisions and an extension of Michigan’s stay-at-home order on April 24, setting a new end date for the order limiting most in-person business and activity through May 15. Landscapers, lawn-service companies, nurseries and bike repair shops have returned to work subject to strict social distancing. Big-box stores have reopened closed sections of stores. Other retailers are now open for curbside pick-up or delivery. Residents are allowed to travel between their residences again, although it is “strongly discouraged.” Public-facing businesses like gyms salons, bars and in-person dining at restaurants remain closed.

Elective Surgery — On April 30, the Governor extended Michigan’s state of emergency to May 28. While the legislature may challenge the legality of this action, the declaration is currently effective. Relevant details for hospital include …

  • Executive Order 2020-17 — This order prevents hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and dentists from conducting non-emergency or non-essential procedures but allows clinicians to determine when a patient needs care that will impact their health and well-being. While this is in place until May 28, we expect the governor to act on this order soon, e.g. issuing an FAQ outlining loosened restrictions.
  • The Governor and the State’s Chief Medical Officer have acknowledged support for hospitals doing additional medical procedures as capacity, testing and PPE supply improve, and has publicly urged patients to reschedule care they may have delayed and to not put off any further medical needs.

Visitor Restrictions — On May 3, the Governor extended restrictions barring non-essential visitors to health care. The new order remains in place through 11:59 p.m. May 31. The previous orders state that non-essential visitors are prohibited from entering health care facilities, residential care facilities, and congregate care facilities. That include visitors who are not:

  • Necessary for the provision of medical care, the support of activities of daily living, or the exercise of power of attorney or court-appointed guardianship for an individual under the facility’s care.
  • A parent, foster parent or guardian of an individual 21 years old or younger and who is under the facility’s care.
  • Visiting an individual under the facility’s care that is in serious or critical condition or in hospice care.
  • Visiting under exigent circumstances or for the purpose of performing official governmental functions. The birth of a child qualifies as an exigent circumstance, allowing a partner and doula to accompany a laboring mother, if they pass the health evaluation required by the order.
The order also requires facilities to accommodate remote visitations by way of phone or video conferencing programs. The order was first issued March 14, then extended on April 5 to May 3.
Thank you, Home Depot Grand Haven for your continued generosity! They donated 1000 disposable gloves to us today! 🖐🖐🖐
Thank you to Judith Dembowske for ANOTHER batch of homemade masks for our staff! 😷😷😷
And thank you Rykes for bringing six boxes of donuts for our staff to enjoy today! 🍩🍩🍩

Updated: May 1, 2020 – 4:45 PM

Michigan —
Recovered 8,342 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 42,356; Deaths 3,866
Kent County —
Confirmed Cases 1,600; deaths 36
Ottawa County — 
Confirmed Cases 254; 11 deaths
Muskegon County —
Confirmed Cases 288 cases; 17 deaths

Surgeries to Begin Next Week

Starting Monday, May 4, we will slowly re-open our surgical and Endoscopic capacity to accommodate time-sensitive patients whose doctors have deemed their case a priority. We encourage all patients who have had their surgery canceled to reach out to their physician to discuss what options might be available to them. In preparation, NOCHS has put a number of mechanisms in place to ensure the safety of patients and staff. These include screening all people coming into the building, and requiring masks to be worn in all public spaces, enforcing strict visitor restrictions, testing all surgical patients, testing hospital staff, establishing a separate “surge” ER entrance to keep patients isolated, establishing a remote test collection site to draw symptomatic patients away from the hospital, etc.

Fortunately, to this point, our community, and consequentially it’s community hospital (NOCHS) have a low disease burden with comparatively few Covid cases.

NOCHS Spring Lake Lab Draw Site Re-opens

Also, NOCHS’ lab draw site at Mill Point Station in Spring Lake will re-open on Monday, May 4. Operating hours will be Monday – Friday, 6:30 am to 3:00 pm.

North Ottawa Care Center – Mother’s Day Flowers

Mother’s Day is soon approaching and we would like to encourage those who have family members at Heartwood Lodge to send flowers a few days earlier this year because of the extra precautions we are putting into place due to COVID-19.

If you are planning to send flowers, please consider having them put in a glass vase for same day delivery. We will be sanitizing all glass vases before bringing them to any resident. Items in plastic pots or baskets will also be wiped down, but will be stored in a plastic bin, with your resident’s name on it and held for 72 hours before being delivered for extra precaution.

We would highly encourage glass vases this year so that your family member can receive the flowers the same day.

Hospice of North Ottawa Community 

Hospice of North Ottawa Community provides a comforting service that can allow people to experience togetherness at the end of life, even during COVID-19. Medical Director, Dr. VanderHeide answers some common questions below.
Q. What is hospice?
A. Hospice is specifically designed to provide comfort-focused care, equipment and services in the last few months of life. The objective is to help patients stay comfortable and experience the end of life on their terms. It is also intended to provide support for family members and caregivers, relieving stress and helping them deal with the many unknowns.
Q. Is North Ottawa Community Hospice still providing care during the coronavirus pandemic?
A. YES! We are still providing this essential care through a combination of services. We can use telehealth for some of our work, and then add in-person visits when it is necessary. We also have a hospice residence where patients can stay. Our staff is screened twice per day for fever and other symptoms. We also have all the necessary personal protective equipment and training to provide care.
Q. Why should I consider hospice care rather than having my loved one in the hospital?
A. Hospitals are required to restrict visitors in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. This means that a hospital patient at the end of life is virtually alone, increasing their hardship as well as that of their family and friends. However, visitation (with appropriate precautions) is more accessible for patients who are receiving hospice care in their own home or at our hospice facility. This is important for the patient, but also for the friends and family who want to create memories with someone they love.
Q. Do you help patients use technology when in-person visits are not possible?
A. Yes. We know how important it is for patients and those who care about them to connect. Our staff has phones and tablets, and will use them to facilitate calls and video conferencing with friends or family members.
Q. It is very difficult for people to grieve during this time, as many conventional end-of-life rituals cannot be observed. What can North Ottawa Community Hospice do to help?
A. We have a grief and bereavement team that is providing phone support during this time. They are available to anyone in the community who is grieving a loss…even if that person did not receive hospice care from us. Please call (616) 846-2015 and ask to speak to a bereavement counselor if these services would be helpful to you.
Q. How would I request hospice care?
A. Talk to your physician if you feel that hospice care might be right for you or a loved one. Once we receive a referral, our team will schedule an evaluation to start a plan of care. If you have questions, please call us at (616) 846-2015.
Thank you Grand Finale for providing tomato bisque soup and fresh bread for our employees today! YUM! ⠀
Thank you to the family of a patient for providing soft pretzels and sandwiches for our Med/Surg and ICU staff. They were so grateful.
Thank you to Hot Logic for their donation of 500 masks and Hot Logic Minis for our employees!⠀
Thank you to Betty Cooper for homemade masks, and to Lynn Soper for homemade ear savers!

Updated: April 30, 2020 – 4:49 PM

Michigan —
Recovered 8,342 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 41,379; Deaths 3,789
Kent County —
Confirmed Cases 1,479; deaths 33
Ottawa County — 
Confirmed Cases 236; nine deaths
Muskegon County —
Confirmed Cases 276 cases; 17 deaths

DO NOT Delay Emergency Care

Concerns about COVID-19 should not prevent you from seeking medical attention in the event of an emergency. Hospitals are well equipped to provide safe and high-quality care to those who need it. Your health is essential – do not delay emergency care.

COVID-19 Remote Testing Site
We have updated the hours for our COVID-19 screening hot line (616-935-7810). Staff is available to answer your call, Monday – Friday from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM and on the weekends from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.
NOCHS’ Palliative Care Offers In-Home Visits
Did you know we are still offering in-home palliative care? Check out some common Q&As here.
Q. What is palliative care and who can get it?
A. Palliative care is a medical specialty that focuses on helping patients with the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. That could include, for example, pain, depression, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and any other symptoms that may be causing distress. The goal is to improve quality of life for both patient and family. Palliative care serves as an extra layer of support to help patients understand their disease or condition and live more comfortably with it. Palliative care is offered to people with any serious illness at any stage of disease, even at the time of initial diagnosis. This includes serious chronic illnesses such as COPD, heart diseases, kidney disease dementia and many others.
Q. Is palliative care still available during the coronavirus pandemic?
A. YES! We are still providing this essential care through a combination of services. We can use telehealth for much of our work, and then add in-person visits when it is necessary. This hasn’t been a huge change for us. Many of our patients are confined to home due to their health conditions and we routinely deliver care this way.
Q. Why would I want palliative care, especially now?
A. Patients with serious illnesses already struggle to manage the symptoms and complications of their diseases. Add the stress of today’s environment, and the safety precautions required for leaving the home, and it just becomes harder. Palliative care can make it easier for caregivers as well as patients to cope. It also eliminates the stress of needing to leave the house for care.
Q. Can you provide palliative care to someone with COVID-19?
A. Yes, we are prepared to do so, although we have not yet encountered a patient who has tested positive for the virus. Our staff is screened twice per day for fever and other symptoms. We also have all the necessary personal protective equipment and training to go into the home safely when needed.
Q. Is palliative care covered by insurance?
A. Palliative care is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicaid and Medicare. However, 60 percent of Americans who qualify for palliative care don’t use it. Many patients simply don’t know the care is available, or don’t realize they might benefit from utilizing it. That’s unfortunate, because palliative care is a valuable service that helps many people achieve a better quality of life.
Q. How would I request palliative care?
A. Talk to your physician if you feel that palliative care might be right for you or a loved one. Once we receive a referral from your physician, our team will schedule an evaluation to start a plan of care. If you have questions, please call us at (616) 846-2015.
THANK YOU to our employee, Sabrina Frank for coming up with the idea for this decal and providing it for all of our employees. She organized the entire project and asked her friend, Erin Chittenden, to make all of them and even got her husband’s company, Mike’s Mobil, to help fund the project. ⠀
We are grateful for this gift and everyone involved – thank you! 💛
THANK YOU — to Judith Debowske, Toni Wilson, Melodee Bergy, Cynthia Revilla, Tammy Beswick, Robin Vanderlaan, Susan DeGarmo and Cheryl Dodger for donating homemade masks, and Mary Ogden for making earsavers, for hospital staff and their families. ⠀⠀
Also, THANK YOU to Michigan Chinese American Coalition – MCAC for donating 400 surgical masks as part of their “Fight Covid-19” Campaign.

Updated: April 29, 2020 – 4:42 PM

Michigan —
Recovered 8,342 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 40,399; Deaths 3,670
Kent County —
Confirmed Cases 1,395; deaths 33
Ottawa County — 
Confirmed Cases 224; nine deaths
Muskegon County —
Confirmed Cases 262 cases; 16 deaths

New data suggests patients with severe Covid-19 who took Remdesivir could recover faster than patients who didn’t take it, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said today. The FDA plans to announce an emergency-use authorization for Remdesivir. The authorization could come as soon as Wednesday. You can read more here.

Highlights from the Governor’s 3:00 PM news conference today:

  • The governor will sign an executive order on Friday that will loosen her Stay Home, Stay Safe order for the construction industry. Residential and Commercial Construction can reopen May 7.
  • She also announced a plan that would give college tuition to essential employees who are working the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Futures for Frontliners will create paths to earn a technical certificate, associate degree or even a bachelor’s degree for those working in hospitals, childcare, grocery stores, nursing homes, public protection and more.
  • Gov. Whitmer also announced she’s expanding the state’s Workshare Program to reduce employee hours to receive weekly unemployment insurance benefit plus the $600 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) weekly benefit. The program can act as supplemental pay for critical infrastructure workers and will be in place through July.

The CDC has updated the testing criteria for COVID-19 including new symptoms.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea

Please call 616.935.7810 if you think you need to be tested.

Tuesday, May 5 is #GivingTuesdayNow

#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity – in addition to the regularly scheduled Dec 1, 2020 #GivingTuesday – as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. More information can be found here.

Updated: April 28, 2020 – 4:49 PM

Michigan —
Recovered 8,342 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 39,262; Deaths 3,567
Kent County —
Confirmed Cases 1,305; deaths 33
Ottawa County — 
Confirmed Cases 210; nine deaths
Muskegon County —
Confirmed Cases 242 cases; 15 deaths

The US hit one million cases of COVID-19 today.

Read about how the hospital is poised to open more services here:

Volunteer Training – Hospice of North Ottawa Community’s volunteer training for May 12 & 19 has been canceled.
Do you sew? You can help us keep our healthcare workers safe by making face masks to wear when they are outside of the hospital, care center, hospice or urgent care.

Please drop off any homemade face masks at the hospital’s main entrance, Monday through Friday between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. Thank you!

THANK YOU — Tropical Smoothie Grand Haven for the wonderful smoothies! Our staff appreciated the treat and the encouraging messages today!

Here is some important information about COVID-19 antibodies.
Q. What are antibodies and why does it matter if I have them?
A. An antibody is the body’s response to a disease. You develop antibodies when you are exposed to an illness. Your body will use those antibodies to fight off the disease if it attacks you again. This is why, for example, you only get chicken pox once. You develop antibodies after the first infection, and you can fight off any additional attacks by the virus. Antibodies help you avoid multiple infections by the same virus.
Q. Why is the significance of having COVID-19 antibodies?
A. You only produce antibodies if your body has fought the virus. You might have had symptoms during this fight; you might not. If you have COVID-19 antibodies, you have (or have had) the virus, even if you were not symptomatic. It also means that, theoretically, you will not get it again. Your body has developed some level of immunity.
Q. How long are COVID-19 antibodies effective at preventing a recurrence of the virus?
A. This is a really important question for which science doesn’t have an answer. We know, generally speaking, that antibodies may not be effective forever and may not be universally effective. Go back to the chicken pox example. Chicken pox and shingles are caused by related strains of the same virus. If you have chicken pox as a child, you will never get them again. Your antibodies protect you from the chicken pox strain of the virus. However, you can still get shingles as an adult. Those chicken pox antibodies don’t protect you from the shingles strain of the virus. COVID-19 is new. We don’t have the data to understand how long the antibodies will be effective, or if they will be effective against multiple strains of this virus.
Q. Why should people be tested for COVID-19 antibodies?
A. This testing is important for two reasons. First, it helps employers determine if it is safe to have people in the workplace. Someone who has COVID-19 antibodies has already had the virus. It is unlikely they will get it again. This means they will not infect other people, either. Second, the data collected through antibody testing is hugely important for science, especially when it comes to developing vaccines or other preventative measures.
Q. Does NOCHS offer antibody testing?

A. As with all things COVID-19, the primary challenge is that of supply and demand. This is affecting everyone, including us. We have placed an order for the testing supplies needed to screen for antibodies. We don’t know when that shipment will arrive. As soon as it does, we are ready to begin testing.

In regards to COVID antibody testing there are a few things to know:
  • NOCHS does not currently have the COVID antibody test
  • When we do obtain it, it will be not be done at the COVID test center
  • It is a blood test that will require a doctor’s order.
Please know we will keep you informed when we are able to perform the test.

Updated: April 27, 2020 – 4:55 PM

Michigan — Recovered 8,342 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 38,210; Deaths 3,407
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 1,100; deaths 34
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 191; nine deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 234 cases; 13 deaths


Highlights from the Governor’s 4:00 PM news conference today:

  • announced MI Safe Start plan to re-open economy, which will incrementally assess sectors to determine if its safe to open and with what restrictions, based on geography, overall risk, public health capacity, e.g. outdoor enterprises and residential/commercial construction will be among the first. More details to be released this week.
  • COVID-19 trends continue to plateau statewide and recoveries are rising
  • continue to monitor and track increases in different parts of the state to avoid another hot spot developing
  • metrics being watched include — positive trends in cases and deaths going down over weeks; as well as increased testing with positives decreasing; and hospital capacity (ICU beds and PPE available)
  • cautioned the public to NOT DELAY in seeking urgent, necessary and certainly emergent medical care during this time


The State will now publicly report skilled nursing facilities in Michigan with active COVID-19 cases. We continue to implement stringent protocols to ensure the safety or residents and staff. Visitor restrictions remain in place. We continue to support residents in connecting with loved ones through cordless phones, Zoom meetings, and window visits.

In addition to adults being more stressed during times of social isolation and financial uncertainty, children can also display signs and act out in ways that will exacerbate the situation. Parents and caregivers may be more likely to respond to their children’s anxious behaviors or demands in aggressive or abusive ways. Here are some positive parenting tips to help keep the family calm.

THANK YOU — to Spring Lake-based 40 Visuals for the donating social distancing decals now placed around the hospital campus and at Urgent Care

THANK YOU — to Dr. Frank Duncan and his lovely daughter, Avery, for recording a special dance video to thank and cheer up essential workers in our community. If you haven’t seen it, check out our Facebook page!

Updated: April 24, 2020 – 5:00 PM

Michigan — Recovered 3,237 (reported weekly); Confirmed Cases 36,641; Deaths 3,085
Kent County — Confirmed Cases 906; deaths 29
Ottawa County —  Confirmed Cases 167; eight deaths
Muskegon County — Confirmed Cases 204 cases; 13 deaths

Cares Act Part II — The President signed the $450B supplemental relief bill today.


The Governor reported that Michigan now has several weeks of PPE in reserve (with more deliveries planned), fewer hospitalizations, and fewer positive cases being confirmed — this is being termed as a cautiously optimistic “plateau.” This indicates the stay-at-home order has worked. Therefore, she announced an extension to the stay-at-home order through May 15, while lifting restrictions to some businesses, which can reopen in a phased approach with social distancing requirements still in place. Here are the details:

  • People are now required (rather than encouraged), to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces, e.g. grocery stores. Employers must provide non-medical grade masks to their in-person employees.
  • In-person work that is not necessary to sustain or protect life is prohibited, with exemptions for various critical jobs.
  • Any retail that can do curbside delivery may reopen, e.g. greenhouses, garden centers, landscapers.
  • Boating, golf (no carts), and travel between residences is now permitted.
  • Restaurants remain closed to dine-in customers under a separate measure, and bars, movie theaters, gyms and other sports facilities will remain closed.
  • Discussions continue with medical and business experts to assess different jobs and industries for risk, to promulgate safety protocols, and to determine “markers” that need to be reached before reopening additional sectors.
  • More information will be shared on Monday.

Updated: April 23, 2020 – 4:45 PM

As of the time of this email, 3,237 patients have recovered statewide (number updated weekly); confirmed cases in Michigan increased to 35,291; and there have been 2,977 deaths.

Kent County has 815 cases, 27 deaths. Ottawa County has 161 cases, seven deaths. Muskegon has 186 cases, 12 deaths.

Eli Lilly & Co. will begin human testing next month for an experimental COVID-19 treatment using antibodies derived from the blood of people who have recovered. Testing could yield results by summer and, if successful, potential emergency FDA authorization by fall.

THANK YOU — to Little Caesar’s Pizza for yesterday’s delicious lunch.

THANK YOU — to our local Culver’s for the welcomed ice cream deliver today!

THANK YOU — to Grand Haven-based Klever Innovations for its ingenious donation of safety cutters that keep PPE safe from damage when opening boxes.

Updated: April 22, 2020 – 4:36 PM


As of the time of this post, 3,237 patients have recovered statewide (number updated weekly); confirmed cases in Michigan increased to 33,966; and there have been 2,813 deaths.

Kent County has 757 cases, 25 deaths. Ottawa County has 149 cases, seven deaths. Muskegon has 173 cases, 11 deaths.


Rapid Testing — Abbott Laboratories, maker of the Rapid Test that has been used in Detroit and among White House personnel, released a statement yesterday revealing that has been found to have a 15% failure rate of generating false negatives. The announcement, sent to the FDA and all customers, urged the test to be used ONLY when following revised guidelines at the point of care, which include taking the specimen and inserting it directly into the testing machine, as opposed to inserting the specimen into viral transport media to preserve for later testing.

Hydroxychloroquine — The Associated Press reports a VA study found no benefit to COVID-19 patients taking hydroxychloroquine; those taking the drug were no less likely to need a vent, and the death rate was higher.

Convergence of COVID-19 & Seasonal Flu — The CDC commented that it has concerns about winter 2020, when COVID-19 will combine with season flu; two outbreaks of similar respiratory illnesses could put enormous pressure on the U.S. health care system. Testing innovation/containment strategies, possible therapies in development, and ramped up production of PPE will help mitigate the impact, but strategic planning for that combination is critical.


Governor’s 3:00 PM news conference key points:

  • New criteria for increased testing (asymptomatic front line workers) will provide more data points in tracking disease spread; this data influences the models and helps tighten predictions so they are more accurate, and we can plan more strategically
  • More testing supplies are being sought/allocated throughout MI to keep capacity open
  • A Friday announcement is planned where the Governor will reveal next steps for re-opening economy
  • Numbers indicate that quarantine measures have been effective overall
  • Watching indications that the disease spread to different regions will happen in waves, e.g. Kent County may not peak until end of May/June
  • Stay-at-Home Executive Order will likely be extended in some form, possibly regional variance based on the data points made available through expanded testing

Antibody testing is another hot topic. Here is a good overview of where the industry is in developing this strategy (including a research initiative at Beaumont Hospital), and what questions remain.


The number one goal is and has always been, patients safety and the well-being of our community. During this unprecedented time, NOCHS will continue to serve the community as we have throughout our 100 year history. We are honored to do so and grateful to the community for its outpouring of support.

As an essential service, the hospital remains open (ER, emergency surgery, Imaging, Lab, Dunewood Pharmacy), with the exception of providing elective surgeries, as mandated by the Governor. We are now re-evaluating cancelled surgical cases that have become urgent to determine when/how we can provide service. We remain ready for what experts are calling a “surge” or an expected spike in medical patients needed hospitalization for COVID-19-related illnesses.

Updated: April 21, 2020 – 4:40 PM

At the of this post, 3,237 patients have recovered (number updated weekly). Confirmed cases in Michigan increased to 32,967, with 2,700 deaths.

Kent County has 626 cases, 25 deaths. Ottawa County has 129 cases, seven deaths. Muskegon has 160 cases, 10 deaths.

Home Testing — The FDA announced today it has approved the first authorized at-home coronavirus test. The test will be made available first to health care workers and first responders, and is expected to go on sale for consumers in most states within weeks. The test, called the Pixel, is a nasal swab kit developed and sold by LabCorp. Patients will collect their own samples using a special sterile swab provided in the kit and then send it in to one of the company’s labs for analysis. The FDA said it granted the company emergency approval to get the tests out sooner. Concerns about the efficacy of the test center on the collection process, which poses the biggest risk of false negative results.


West Michigan Predictions — While the number of new cases statewide has declined (largely due to flattening in southeast MI), numbers continue to rise in Kent County. Kent County public health officials cite the difficulty in predicting when the plateau will occur is due in part because there hasn’t been a surge in cases; social distancing efforts are working. Rather than a sudden spike, like in southeast Michigan, cases in Kent County/West Michigan are gradually climbing upward. We have flattened the curve shaping the experience to look more like a plateau than mountain. But May is likely when our region will feel the most demand.

THANK YOU — to Taco Bell and Jimmy Johns for providing dinner to our late night workers at the hospital.

THANK YOU — to Domino’s Pizza for providing lunch for our staff today.

Updated: April 20, 2020 – 4:35 PM

On Sunday, with expanded testing identified as a key factor needed to re-open the economy, the President announced plans to use the Defense Production Act to increase swab production in one U.S. facility by more than 20 million additional swabs per month.

NBC News/Wall Street Journal Confidence Poll — Nearly 60% of American voters say they are more concerned that relaxing stay-at-home restrictions would lead to more COVID-19 deaths than they are that the restrictions will hurt the U.S. economy.

In today’s news conference, the Governor highlighted some key information including:

  • Michigan lost its first child, a five-year-old girl from Detroit, to COVID-19 yesterday. Her parents are first responders and were asymptomatic. She had no underlying conditions.
  • Eight new test sites rolling out this week across the state in partnership with Rite Aid, CVS and Walmart pharmacies.
  • PPE and ventilator procurement continues to strengthen.
  • 2,200 people have volunteered to be trained to work with local health departments on contact tracing statewide.
  • In order to reach full testing capacity (11,300 a day statewide) we need more swabs and reagents; struggling with global shortages.

Google analytics rank Michigan #9 nationally in mobility reduction during the last month, and #4 overall in compliance of social distancing guidelines for the duration of the U.S. outbreak. This is a strong indication that this stay-at-home mitigation strategy is working.

Test Site Finder — a new search mechanism has been added to the State of Michigan homepage with a button that reads, “Find a Test Site Near You.” This allow the browser to type in an address to find a testing site nearby — NOCHS is listed.

THANK YOU – to the Rose family who raised money to buy the ER staff dinner (Arturo’s Tacos!) and snacks, as well as brought mini hand sanitizers.

THANK YOU — to Eric Van Horrsen of ReMax realty who brought in JW’s famous chili and snacks this past Saturday.

THANK YOU — to Panera Bread for this morning’s bagels for breakfast at the hospital.

THANK YOU — to Hillary Burns and Richard Kamischke for the beautiful signs of appreciation for health workers around the hospital campus.

THANK YOU — to Kendra Cribley and Sandi Gentry, who established the “Adopt A Frontlline Hero” volunteer program. They are working to help match community volunteers to an employee, who needs assistance in some way.. e.g. a homemade meal, delivery from a restaurant, cards/letters of support, or other things (as long as they are approved activities during the stay-at-home mandate). Thank you for the support!

Updated: April 17, 2020 – 4:15 PM

The White House announced its guidelines for states to use as they plan to re-open economies. It does not include a national testing strategy; states have been directed to develop their own. The guidelines include three phases but won’t begin until states have had 14 consecutive days of decreases in COVID-19 cases and have testing and hospital capacity to deal with potential coronavirus spikes. Details:

The World Health Organization released guidelines regarding the appropriate measures needed to safely re-open economies — chief among them TESTING. A good overview of those guidelines are included in this story:

Yesterday (Thursday) Governor Whitmer and her counterparts in a new multi-state coalition that includes Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky, announced they’d be working on measures to reopen the economy at a regional level. Decisions will be based on several factors, including sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations, enhanced testing and tracing capabilities, sufficient health care capacity in the event of a resurgence and best practices for social distancing in the workplace.

The Governor said during a virtual town hall this morning that she plans to re-open parts the Michigan economy on May 1 — details will be revealed in a series of news conferences next week.

Also yesterday, Michigan Senate Republicans a five-phased introduced its own plan to re-open the state economy based on number of COVID-19 cases and hospital capacity.

REMINDER: There is now a statewide survey to help health officials identify potential COVID-19 hot spots. it asks if residents are experiencing any symptoms and to provide birth year, gender, county and zip code. The data is confidential and secure. Residents are asked to provide the information daily.

Available at: and hit “Get Started!”

THANK YOU — Local design company, 40 Visuals, for donating uplifting yard signs for our HWL residents and workers! Check out NOCHS’ Facebook page to see photos!

THANK YOU — Karen Reenders of Reenders Blueberries for the delicious homemade cookies today — what a way to end the week.

Updated: April 16, 2020 – 4:45 PM

The governors of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky today announced that the states plan to coordinate efforts to reopen the Midwest economy.

NOCHS’ remote test is now testing patients with any of the following COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of smell
  • Severe fatigue
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea

Call to be screened at: (616) 935-7810

Kent County has begun a web-based survey to help health officials identify potential COVID-19 hot spots. The survey is available statewide. The web-based application asks residents if they are experiencing any symptoms and to provide their year of birth, gender, county and zip code. The data is confidential and kept in a secure database. Healthcare professionals, hospitals and health departments will be able to access the anonymous data. Residents are asked to provide the information daily. To take the survey, go to and hit “Get Started!”

Police department warns public to not click links in scam COVID-19 text messages

A police department in Maine is alerting cell phone users of a text message scam involving COVID-19. Read more here. 

Updated: April 15, 2020 – 4:40 PM

The President has ordered Governors to develop plans for states to re-open their economies.

The World Health Organization released guidelines regarding the appropriate measures needed to safely re-open economies. A good overview of those guidelines are included in this story.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Resources released expanded COVID-19 test criteria allowing hospitals and test sites that have the appropriate amount of capacity to include Priority 3 patients with “mild symptoms.” This expansion is a strategy designed to better identify how widespread the disease is, and then more strategically contain it through isolation and contact tracing. (NOCHS embarked on this strategy on March 31).

The Red Cross is seeking patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma to aid in therapy research. You can learn more here.

Updated: April 14, 2020 – 5:08 PM

The number of new U.S. coronavirus deaths and confirmed cases are down slightly for a third consecutive day. Monday recorded 1,509 deaths, down 48 from Sunday. The toll peaked Friday at more than 2,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

A new coronavirus saliva test developed at Rutgers University could dramatically accelerate the rate of collections and limit exposure to health care workers. It may be rolled out as soon as Wednesday.

President Trump is expected to announce a new task force this evening that will develop plans for reopening the country.

NOCHS’ lab is now conducting in-house COVID-19 testing. At present, testing will be limited to hospitalized and ER patients only, due to a restricted supply of reagents.

Community organizations and local partners in Ottawa County are actively collaborating to respond to the impact of COVID-19. Most vital human services organizations in Ottawa County remain open and accessible to those seeking assistance. Individuals may leave their homes to work or volunteer for businesses or operations that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities. To volunteer, donate, or locate local additional resources visit: This website also directs people to 2-1-1 to locate local additional resources.

THANK YOU – to Little Caesars Grand Haven for delivering lunch at the hospital today!

Updated: April 13, 2020 – 4:16 PM

Seventy COVID-19 vaccines are currently in development worldwide, and three candidates have already started human trials, according to the World Health Organization.

Unemployment for the state of Michigan has now reached more than one million claims. The Governor’s office is bringing on more resources in the short term so that everyone that needs to apply will be able to do so.

Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services has launched a warmline to help Michiganders with persistent mental health issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The phone number is 888.733.7753. You can read more here.


  • Spring Lake Country Club for donating an Easter dinner for our staff yesterday.
  • KFC for donating lunch to our employees yesterday.
  • Girl Scout Troop 4834 for donating cookies to those who are working ‘behind the scenes’ at NOCHS on Friday.
  • Schlatter Timberworks for 10 pairs of safety goggles today.
  • 3Dc19 for 150 more face shields. They have now donated 250 face shields to NOCHS!

Here is some important information about how NOCHS is able to diagnose residents of Ottawa County with COVID-19.

Q. How does someone receive a diagnosis of COVID-19?
A. It’s a two-part process. The first part is specimen collection, which is done with a long swab up into the nose. NOCHS has a drive-up center at the old Panera Bread location for this step (by appointment). The second part is the actual testing. Up to this point, any specimen that needed to be tested for COVID-19 has been sent either to the State lab in Lansing or to other commercial testing sites. We are planning to have some testing capability in-house in late April so that we can respond more quickly for critically ill patients.
Q. How do you know if someone has the flu vs. COVID-19?
A. The flu and COVID-19 are both viruses, and they have similar symptoms. However, their DNA structure is very different. We test each specimen we collect for the flu first. If we find flu DNA in the sample, then we know the person has the flu. If we don’t find flu DNA, then we send the sample to be tested for COVID-19.
Q. Is it possible to have both the flu and COVID-19?
A. Right now, we don’t know a lot about the possibility of having both diseases at the same time. Given the world shortage of collection and testing resources, it does not make sense to use our limited COVID-19 testing capacity on someone who is already known to have the flu, since most people would receive the same treatment for both diseases…rest, Tylenol and fluids.
Q. What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
A. If you have COVID symptoms and want to be tested, please call our COVID hotline at 616.935.7810. The clinical team will determine if you meet the criteria for testing. If you do, they will schedule an appointment at the drive-up testing center.
Q. Why shouldn’t I make an appointment at my primary care doctor’s office to diagnose COVID-19?
A. You can absolutely be in contact with your doctor by phone or via your portal. However, your doctor’s office does not have the ability to collect a specimen for COVID-19 testing. We set up an offsite specimen collection site specifically to help keep the virus out of primary care offices. This, in turn, allows physicians to see patients who have other health concerns. Although we are all consumed by COVID-19, there are still plenty of other immediate and important health concerns that require a provider’s attention! As much as possible, we need to keep the primary care offices free of COVID-19 so that these other conditions can be safely treated.
Q. How long does it take to get a COVID-19 diagnosis confirmed?
A. Right now, we have two options. First, we are now able to perform Covid tests in our own lab here at NOCHS, but this is limited to the most critically ill patients either in the hospital or ER. We use a 45-minute test, which is one of the quickest ones currently available.
For all other situations, such as less critically ill patients or those collected at our remote site, we send our specimens to a variety of different labs. This involves a multi-step process that can take 48-72 hours, depending on which type of testing protocol is used and where. We also send specimens to the State lab.
Q. How will I find out my test result?
A. Right now, the State lab or local health department is calling anyone who receives a positive result on a COVID-19 test. Our Urgent Care staff will follow up with anyone whose test result is negative. However, the situation is fluid and changes rapidly.
Q. Are we endangering other patients by bringing potential COVID-19 specimens into the hospital for testing?
A. In a word, no.The specimens we collect at our drive-up site are put into sealed biohazard bags and brought directly to the lab. Our Laboratory Manager has put strict guidelines around the number of people who can even touch these samples. In addition, the lab staff is well trained and experienced in working around communicable diseases. They work under a hood, wear gloves and coats, and wash their hands constantly. We are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of the lab staff. The lab is sealed off from the rest of the hospital to keep COVID-19 and other communicable diseases from spreading.

Updated: April 9, 2020 – 4:30 PM

  • Governor extended stay-at-home Executive Order to April 30.
  • Extension includes more stringent limitations to big box stores;  limit of four customer/1,000 square feet; restrict access to areas of store that sell more than food, e.g. clothing, housewares, hardware; Small stores must restrict shoppers to 25% total occupancy limits. Must demarcate any queues/lines with six feet apart stance recommendations.
  • Cautioned that we won’t be returning to “normal” in May, economy will need to re-open in phases, safely.
  • Rate of new cases is slowing; mitigation strategies are working.
  • Not enough testing happening across the state. Announcements about testing capacity expansion expected next week.
Here is some important information how the NOCHS Emergency Department is addressing COVID-19.
Q. Is the NOCHS Emergency Room open?
A. YES! We have not closed. We are not closing. We are permitted to be open under the governor’s order. We need to be open to serve our community. We are open 24/7 for your emergency care needs.
Q. Do you have enough staff?
A. Yes we do. We are fully staffed, which means we are ready and willing to care for people who need help.
Q. What do I do if I need to bring someone to the ER?
A. Please plan to drop them off and either wait in your car or await news at home. Due to the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, we are only taking patients into the treatment rooms. Although we cannot force non-patients to leave the waiting area, we are strongly recommending that they wait in their cars or at home after bringing someone to the Emergency Room. There are two exceptions to this guideline. The first is for minor children. One parent/guardian may stay with a minor child who is being evaluated in the ER. The second is for life-threatening situations. If a patient requires critical care, we obviously will need a family member there to advise. We are taking these extraordinary measures because COVID-19 is so highly contagious and can lurk undetected for up to two weeks. There is no way to know by looking at someone whether or not they are infected. Keeping people away from each other is the best way to prevent the spread of this virus.
Q. What is the staff of the ER doing to protect themselves and keep from spreading the virus to others?
A. We are taking extraordinary measures to ensure we do not spread the virus, either among the hospital staff or to other patients. Everyone working in the ER puts on full personal protective equipment when they arrive and wears it until they leave. This includes face masks, eye shields and gloves. We are all trained to put the equipment on in a way that does not contaminate us in the process. We are also washing our hands even more often than usual.
Q. What will happen in the ER if more COVID patients seek care?
A. If we see a surge in COVID-19 patients coming to the ER, we have designed a plan that provides for two entirely separate ER spaces: one designated for COVID-19 and one for other emergencies. So if you need emergency care, our ER is still the best place to obtain it

REMINDER: Urgent Care Virtual Visits — Encourage friends and family to use the Urgent Care virtual visits if they have COVID-19 symptoms, and also if they have routine issues, such as rash, sprain, etc. You can initiate care by calling the Urgent Care at 616 604 0096.


Hudsonville Ice Cream for the sweet treat for all of our employees this afternoon! You sure know how to put a smile on everyone’s face (even through a face mask!)
Food for the Fight for donating Jersey Mikes subs to all three shifts at North Ottawa Care Center.
Bob Scolnik for providing a Red Lobster dinner to our team in the yellow neighborhood at NOCC.
And Pam Phillips for all the cookies and candy for our care team in the green neighborhood at NOCC.
Your generosity and thoughtfulness is above and beyond, thank you all!

Updated: April 8, 2020 – 4:26 PM

THANK YOU to donor, Rich Lange, for his ingenious adaptation of a door handle designed to prevent the spread of germs. Check out the front-page story in today’s GH Tribune

NOCC Update:

Hearts for Healthcare
We are displaying hearts for our Healthcare Heros at North Ottawa Care Center.  The start of our display is in the office windows, however the hearts will be making a transition around the building.  Several of our residents are writing thank you notes on hearts for display.

ZOOM security
Due to recent news reports of teleconference hijacking, or “zoom bombing”, we are taking additional measures to provide a further level of protection to the communication between residents and family members. These will include making sure that virtual visit meetings are set to private mode (require password), managing screensharing options, and making sure that the most recent version of the application is in use. We take the privacy of you and your loved ones very seriously and are grateful that you have entrusted us with caring for them. For more information on Zoom’s privacy policy please visit

REMINDER: Urgent Care Virtual Visits — Encourage friends and family to use the Urgent Care virtual visits if they have COVID-19 symptoms, and also if they have routine issues, such as rash, sprain, etc. You can initiate care by calling the Urgent Care at 616 604 0096.

Updated: April 7, 2020 – 4:30 PM

Michigan’s Senate passed a resolution today extending the state’s emergency declaration through April 30. The Governor is still reviewing a stay home order extension; possible order coming this week.

Flattening the Curve:

Kent County Health Department’s Medical Director, Dr. Adam London, announced today that data show West Michigan may be flattening the curve more effectively than in other parts of the state. He attributes this to early adoption of and compliance with social distancing orders. Here is the comparative data: cases double every 5.7 days in the U.S., every 4.6 days in Michigan, and every 7.9 days for Kent County. He warned that social distancing should remain in place to ensure mitigation continues to work.

Spectrum Health released its latest model projections, which also indicate the 13-county West Michigan region is successfully flattening the curve. Data show a 65% reduction in the projected amount of COVID-19 patients, who will need hospitalization. They, too attribute this to social distancing compliance, but urge for it to continue, lest we risk a relapse. Its model projects WM will hit peak illness in June.

From the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program: 

Family members of nursing home residents are invited to participate in the MTLCOP hosted Statewide Family Council Call

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM Eastern Time

To join the call, dial 1 -725-696-3020
When prompted, enter passcode PIN: 353 919 641#

This is an opportunity for family members to learn and discuss:
• Family Council Support Resources- COVID 19 Resources
• Q &A

Please join the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program staff, local ombudsmen, and family members from across the state: Join by phone: 1 -725-696-3020 or Join Hangouts Meet: for this informative call.

Reminder: Urgent Care telehealth — Encourage friends and family to use the Urgent Care telehealth visits if they have COVID-19 symptoms, and also if they have routine issues, such as rash, sprain, etc. You can initiate care by calling the Urgent Care at 616 604 0096.


Randy and Therese Hansen for donating six boxes of disposable gloves today. We are so grateful!

Updated: April 6, 2020 – 5:15 PM

The CDC has changed its policy and is now advising everyone, whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19, to cover their face with a mask or cloth (homemade masks, bandanas, or scarf – NOT hospital PPE, which needs to be conserved) covering whenever social distancing is difficult to maintain. To be clear, the CDC is not saying you should wear a mask wherever you go, but rather in places where people congregate, including grocery stores and public transportation and ride-shares.

Click to learn how to wear a cloth face covering:

New York Times reports that, based on cell phone data tracking, MI is complying with stay home order better than other states. This is consistent with other indicators, such as slowing cases in all active counties and increased discharges, in that the pace of illness may be slowing, but we have still not reached the peak. Please continue to stay home, stay safe.

Urgent Care Telehealth — Encourage friends and family to use the Urgent Care telehealth visits if they have COVID-19 symptoms, and also if they have routine issues, such as rash, sprain, etc. You can initiate care by calling the Urgent Care at 616 604 0096.


  • Long-time supporter and local manufacturer, Shape Corp. sent all of our employees care packages today.
  • Jeff Robinson from Hybrid Machining for the 25 face shields for our employees. #3Dc19 ⠀
  • Heidi Naperala for donating 20 N95 masks.⠀
  • Melissa Meyers for donating 10 N95 masks.⠀
  • Jeff Krupinski for donating a box of disposable gloves.
  • Oakes Agency for providing pizza for our medical imaging, lab and EVS staff.

We are beyond grateful for all of your donations.

Updated: April 3, 2020 – 4:32 PM

COVID Testing for Ottawa County

More Ottawa County residents will qualify for COVID-19 testing as a result of a recent innovation in our NOCH lab. You can read more about

in the Grand Haven Tribune

or watch it here on Wood TV 8

North Ottawa Care Center

Family Update –
With the increasing number of cases in the community, we are looking at all options to reduce the risk of infection to our residents. As a result, we are suspending the family doing laundry practice at this time. NOCC will launder all of our resident’s clothing. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the neighborhood team leader who will work with laundry services to resolve those concerns.

We continue to work diligently, researching best practices that can be implemented in the center. As a result, we are limiting items being brought into the facility. Non-food and non-plant items will be cleaned and stored for a holding period before delivery.  We are able to clean and sanitize glass vases to deliver flowers to your resident’s room.

While there is not any data that suggests COVID will contaminate food, there is some concern it may travel on the containers food is delivered in.  Please let us know if we can attempt to procure these items on your behalf to mitigate contamination. Food containers will need to be sanitized before being stored in the pantry or the  kitchen, so having the opportunity to bring in manufactured sealed items is best.

We remain grateful for your ongoing support as we navigate changing factors in this unprecedented time. Please let us know if you have any questions that we can assist in answering.

Our Activities Team continues with creative programming. We will be baking bread next week, continuing with hallway exercises and candy bar BINGO continues to be a big hit.  To help celebrate everyone’s great work on keeping healthy – we are having a Spirit Week next week.  Residents will be creating hats to join our staff in Hat Day on Wednesday.

A big thank you for all of the cards and beautiful drawn pictures we are receiving from the local schools. We appreciate the wonderful thoughts and colorful pictures.


Many, many thanks to Coppercraft Distillery for delivering 500 GALLONS of hand sanitizer to us this morning. We are so so SO appreciative.

And we also received two bags of disposable gloves from Intricate Grinding. Thank you SO much!

Updated: April 2, 2020 – 5:41 PM

There seems to be lot of conflicting information about COVID-19, and a lot of concern about how to handle what would normally be routine health care decisions. The situation changes on an almost-daily basis.

We want to keep you safe and informed, so we’re sending brief emails a couple times each week to our e-news subscribers. You can sign up by visiting and click on the purple box on the top right. Each message will answer specific questions that we know are out there, but we wanted to share with you the first one below…


Q.  Is the hospital open?

A.  YES! We are here to serve you. Babies are being born. Emergency surgeries are being performed. Lab work and testing are available. Our pharmacy is staffed and stocked. We are taking safety precautions and complying with government guidelines, but we are still providing essential services to our community.

Q.  How do I know it’s safe to come to the hospital?

A.  Hospitals deal with communicable diseases all the time. We cope with TB, HIV, influenza and other diseases on a routine basis. We are taking every possible precaution while protecting and serving our patients.

Q.  How can I get into the building for care?

A.  We have consolidated our entrances so that everyone can be screened prior to entering the building. If you are coming for a non-emergency need, please use the covered entrance off Sheldon Rd. We will screen you and then help get you to the right place. If you need emergency services, please proceed directly to the ER.  We are screening patients there as well.

Q.  Am I able to visit a patient at the hospital?

A.  We are complying with the governor’s orders to limit visitors. You are welcome to call us or check our website to find out the specific guidelines for visiting. In most cases, it is better for everyone if you are able to avoid an in-person visit.

Q.  What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?

A.  Call our COVID-19 hotline at (616) 935-7810 for advice and direction. It is available seven days a week from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Q. Is the ER safe?

A.  We are screening everyone who comes to the ER, and taking every precaution with patients who may have COVID-19. All of the treatment rooms in our new ER are walled and private, which is better for patient privacy as well as for preventing the spread of germs. If we see a surge in COVID-19 patients coming to the ER, we have designed a plan that provides for two entirely separate ER spaces: one designated for COVID-19 and one for other emergencies. So if you need emergency care, our ER is still the best place to obtain it.

Q.  Should I just wait for care until COVID-19 is gone?

A.  Routine health care (such as an annual physical) can probably be delayed without a significant impact. But illness and injury should absolutely be addressed right away so that they do not become worse. You have three options:

  • Call your doctor’s office to seek medical advice and direction. Some offices are open, while others are closed, so it is best to call first.
  • Call our Urgent Care to access our telemedicine service at (616) 604-0096 for advice and direction about COVID-19 symptoms or other, more typical issues like rashes, sore throat, etc.
  • Come to the ER for emergencies (like broken bones or chest pain).

Remote COVID Test Site

We have changed the criteria and are currently testing any Ottawa County resident with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath). The goal is to test more widely allowing the health department to enforce contact isolation for those who test positive, whereby giving us a better chance of flattening the curve in our community.

Volunteer Site Launched for Medical Professionals, Residents

The Governor and MDHHS launched a new volunteer website where trained medical professionals can register to assist hospitals. Other residents can find out how they help in their local communities, give blood, donate money, needed supplies or assist public health officials in tracking infections. Read more here.


Many of NOCHS’ services are utilizing telehealth to continue providing care, including Urgent Care, The Bariatric Clinic, NOCHS’ Pediatric Office and now Hospice and Palliative Care. Please call the respective department to initiate a telehealth appointment.


Thank you Action Industrial Supply for the 100 pairs of safety glasses! ⠀

Thank you Frank and Karen Miller for the box of N95 masks!

Also thanks to Tropical Smoothie Café of Grand Haven and Grand Finale Desserts for the afternoon pick me up for our employees!

Updated: April 1, 2020 – 5:06 PM

National Update

During yesterday’s press briefing, the President and COVID-19 Task Force officials shared data that showed, even with the economy closed and most Americans staying at home, the U.S. could still have between 100,000 to 240,000 deaths occur due to COVID-19. Without these measures in place, the projections jump to more than one million deaths. Officials urged the public to comply with the stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines.

State Update

Volunteer Site Launched for Medical Professionals, Residents

The Governor and MDHHS launched a new volunteer website where trained medical professionals can register to assist hospitals. Other residents can find out how they help in their local communities, give blood, donate money, needed supplies or assist public health officials in tracking infections. Read more here.

NOCHS Updates

North Ottawa’s Pediatric Office Launches Telehealth

NOCHS’ Pediatric Office home to Drs Fernandez, Tallon and Warmoth with Nurse Practitioner, Kimberly Fenbert is now scheduling telehealth appointment for well-child and follow-up visits. For questions, please call our office at 616.844.4523.

NOCC Resident Laundry

To mitigate exposure to our residents via items brought into the facility, NOCC will be suspending family laundry services. NOCC will complete the laundry services during this time.

North Ottawa Care Center’s Resident Council

Kudos to the North Ottawa Care Center staff that received high marks of praise from the NOCC resident council for keeping residents engaged and safe during this unprecedented time — “I think the staff are handling COVID-19 very well” — “Hats off to the aides!” — “Gold stars to everyone!” — “Activities have been going well!”​

Remote Test Site

We have changed the criteria and are currently testing any Ottawa County resident with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath). The goal is to test more widely allowing the health department to enforce contact isolation for those who test positive, whereby giving us a better chance of flattening the curve in our community. Read more here.

Reminder: Let There Be Light

The public is encouraged to place luminaries out in support of the health care work force TONIGHT, at 7:00 PM.

Updated: March 31, 2020 – 5:07 PM

NOCHS Outpatient Rehab

We are temporarily consolidating our Outpatient Rehab services with our partner, Generation Care, at their location at 16760 Lincoln Street. Please call 616-935-3300 with any questions or to schedule your appointment.

NOCHS Bariatric Clinic Now Scheduling Telehealth Appointments

NOCHS’ Bariatric Clinic is now scheduling telehealth appointments for both surgical and non surgical patients. Please call us at 847-5489 to learn more.

NOCHS Urgent Care Telehealth Appointments

NOCHS’ Urgent Care now offers telehealth appointments.

Telehealth appointments are available for patients experiencing the following:

  • COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough) – if you are having shortness of breath, please go to the Emergency Department
  • COVID-19 exposure with questions
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose/sinus congestion
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Pink eye
  • Ear pain
  • Vomiting/diarrhea
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Rash/skin concerns
  • Insect bites
  • Tooth pain

To initiate a telehealth appointment, please call NOCHS’ Urgent Care at (616) 604-0096.

COVID-19 Testing Hotline

Screening for COVID-19 has been expanded to all of Ottawa County. Please call NOCHS’ COVID-19 hotline at (616) 935-7810 between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM seven days a week if you are experiencing symptoms and think you need to be tested.

Thank you SO SO SO much to our community and your donations today! Every donation, big or small helps!

Thank you…⠀⠀

  • Home Depot for donating 21 face shields, four respirators, 12 R95 Masks, 10 pairs of shoe covers and 500 Nitrile gloves⠀⠀
  • Doreen Sharp for two N95 masks  ⠀⠀
  • Dawn Michmerhurzen donated face masks ⠀⠀
  • Susan Voskuhl donated a box of 35 N95 masks⠀⠀
  • Laura Fritz donated a gallon of hand sanitizer
  • Brian Miller of Superior Environmental Corp. for eight boxes of gloves⠀⠀
  • Sandy Nails & Spa for 30 boxes of gloves!

Reminder: National social distancing guidelines have been extended to April 30, 2020. Please stay home, stay safe.

Updated: March 30, 2020 – 5:00 PM

Social Distancing

The President has extended social distancing guidelines to April 30, 2020.

NOCHS Urgent Care Begins Telehealth Appointments
Beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 31 NOCHS’ Urgent Care will be offering telehealth appointments.
Telehealth appointments are available for patients experiencing the following:
  • COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough) – if you are having shortness of breath, please go to the Emergency Department
  • COVID-19 exposure with questions
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose/sinus congestion
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Pink eye
  • Ear pain
  • Vomiting/diarrhea
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Rash/skin concerns
  • Insect bites
  • Tooth pain
To initiate a telehealth appointment, please call NOCHS’ Urgent Care at (616) 604-0096.
COVID-19 Testing Hotline
Reminder: You can also call NOCHS’ COVID-19 hotline at (616) 935-7810 between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM seven days a week if you think you are experiencing symptoms and need to be tested.
Happy Doctors’ Day! 
Today is Doctors’ Day, where we celebrate all of the physicians that help keep our community healthy and vibrant. Now more than ever, we are grateful for all the doctors on our medical staff and their commitment to us in times of need.
You can honor a doctor today by making a donation to our From the Heart fund that will help support our hospital and front line staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank You!

Thank you to Orchard Market for the 5,000 paper bags that may be used to dole out PPE masks to clinical staff as we move into the surge. This is a CDC emergency preparedness strategy that can help stretch the use of PPE in the event that inventory becomes low. Paper bags can store masks overnight allowing them to dry out and be reused again the next day as long as they are not soiled. Thank you for this generous donation to help us be ready for any scenario.

Thank you Tom Sabo for donating masks for our employees!

And thank you, Polyply Composites for donating N95 filters.

We are truly in this together. With a national shortage of protective gear and supplies and other needed items, we are turning to you, our community, for your support.

Protective Gear
N95 masks
Isolation masks – all ages
Masks with face shields
Face shields
Gloves – Nitrile Latex Free
Protective Gowns
Digital Thermometers
Digital Thermometer Probe Covers

Additional Supplies

Bleach Wipes
Pocket Size Sanitizers

*We are not currently asking for donations of hand-sewn masks. If donated, we will accept them to have on hand in the extenuating circumstance that we have exhausted our supply of standard masks.

Unable to Accept:
• We are not accepting painters masks.
• We are not able to accept swabs that are made with a wooden tube or stick.
• 3D printed items including ventilator parts
• Perishable food, blankets, medical equipment, medication or other supplies

You may drop-off your donations at NOCHS’ front entrance (1309 Sheldon Road, Grand Haven) Monday-Friday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Updated: March 26, 2020 – 5:40 PM

North Ottawa Care Center

The visitor restrictions that have been implemented to protect your loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic are understandably difficult on everyone. We want to provide some ideas that can help you still feel connected. Please call the Activities Department to learn more.

·         Calling a loved one. We have cordless phones available on each neighborhood that we can bring to your loved one if they do not have a personal phone.

·         ZOOM is a  free app that can provide you with face-to-face screen time with your loved one.  We have ZOOM set up on our iPads in the building and will be happy to work with you in scheduling a time to connect.

·         Window visits. There has been a lot of promotion on window visits on social media.  We, too, have seen the benefit of this. However, with the Governor’s Executive Order to Stay Home, Stay Safe; window visiting should be limited to extenuating circumstances.  Please call us and we will bring the cordless phone to the resident’s room to help with window visiting.  We ask for your help to limit visiting between the hours of 10:00 am and 5:00 pm, as this can be confusing for some of our residents to see people walking outside the windows in the morning or evening hours.

·         Window Décor. Share messages of love, encouragement and entertainment, with Yard Signs and Bird Feeders.

Online shopping can allow us to still follow the Stay Home, Stay Healthy guidelines while get-ting the appropriate supplies.

Yard Signs. You may purchase a yard sign and decorate it with loving, inspirational, and encouraging messages. NOCC would be happy to place the sign outside of the resident’s window.

Bird Feeders. Additionally, with spring just around the corner, we are seeing more birds coming back into the area. If you would like to purchase a shepherds hook, bird feeder and bird food, we would be happy to place it outside of your loved one’s window. Please notify us that there is a delivery coming for your loved one. Once we move through the COVID response, the bird feeder could easily be maintained by your family for continued enjoyment.

We remain grateful for your support and encouragement as we work together to help our residents.


Thank you to Dr. Sid  Disbrow for donating 10 boxes of disposable gloves.

Thank you, Pam Phillips, for donating lunch to our entire staff at North Ottawa Care Center today! We are so grateful for your kindness and generosity!

We are also appreciative of the 2 boxes of surgical masks, 4 pocket hand sanitizers, 21 boxes of gloves, box of sterile pads and miscellaneous head coverings made by anonymous donors!

Urgent Care

Starting Monday, March 30 Urgent Care will no longer take in-person visits to patients with COVID-19 symptoms. Instead, we will offer telehealth visits to those with fever/upper respiratory infection, who are not seriously ill. We will direct more serious patients to the ER for further evaluation. Stay tuned for more information.


There are now a few options for outpatient rehab care. Please call to discuss your care options.

1) In the clinic – For patients that can visit the clinic, may do so. We are following all cleanliness guidelines from CDC. Therapists are screened several times a day.

2). Therapy at Home: This includes our HomeSTEP program. Please speak to your therapist to see if this is an option for you.

3). Telehealth – Face to face “live” session using technology – all from an app on your phone, IPAD or your computer.  Live streamed education and exercise intervention.

4) E-visit  – A check-in visit via phone or live streaming, in the safety of your home. Telehealth is available for our pediatric clients as well.

Dunewood Pharmacy

Dunewood Pharmacy is open for curbside pick-up for vitamins, OTC products and bariatric food, as well as prescriptions. Call (616) 842-5193 to place orders.

COVID-19 Giving Opportunities

In response to these unprecedented times, NOCHS has been overwhelmed with requests from generous community members who have pledged their support to our hospital and front line staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot express our gratitude enough.

We greatly appreciate your inquiries and want to share a couple of ways you can provide support.

We are accepting donations of unused Personal Protective Equipment Monday-Friday from 10am-2pm at NOCHS Front Lobby (1309 Sheldon Road, Grand Haven).

We are also accepting monetary donations to help fund our greatest needs for our facilities and staff.

For more, including a full list of acceptable items, click here.

Remote Testing Site

REMINDER: The site is operational seven days a week. Screening phone line (616) 935-7810 is answered from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and appointments are scheduled if patients meet criteria.

Donate Blood

REMINDER: There is a nationwide shortage of blood. Please consider donating. Visit to find a blood drive near you.


NOCHS’ number one goal is and has always been, patient safety and the well-being of our community. During this unprecedented time, NOCHS will continue to serve the community as we have throughout our 100 year history. We are honored to do so and grateful to the community for its outpouring of support.

As an essential service, the hospital remains open and fully operational (ER, emergency surgery, Imaging, Lab), with the exception of providing elective surgeries, as mandated by the Governor. We are actively planning for what experts are calling a “surge” or an expected spike in medical patients needed hospitalization for COVID-19-related illnesses. We will be ready should that situation arise.

Updated: March 25, 2020 – 6:00 PM


We are truly in this together. With a national shortage of protective gear and supplies and other needed items, we are turning to you, our community, for your support.


Protective Gear

N95 masks

Isolation masks – all ages

Masks with face shields

Face shields

Gloves – Nitrile Latex Free

Protective Gowns

Digital Thermometers

Digital Thermometer Probe Covers

Additional Supplies

Bleach Wipes

Pocket Size Sanitizers

*We are not currently asking for donations of hand-sewn masks. If donated, we will accept them to have on hand in the extenuating circumstance that we have exhausted our supply of standard masks.

Unable to Accept:

  • We are not accepting painters masks.
  • We are not able to accept swabs that are made with a wooden tube or stick.
  • 3D printed items including ventilator parts
  • Perishable food, blankets, medical equipment, medication or other supplies


You may drop-off your donations at NOCHS’ front entrance (1309 Sheldon Road, Grand Haven) Monday-Friday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Learn more here:

THANK YOU to Consumer’s Energy JH Campbell plan in West Olive for the N95 masks. THANKS also to Hortech for even more N95 masks and boxes of gloves – so grateful!

Dunewood Pharmacy

Dunewood Pharmacy is open for curbside pick-up for vitamins, OTC products and bariatric food, as well as prescriptions. Call (616) 842-5193 to place orders.

Remote Testing Site

Screening phone line (616) 935-7810 is answered from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily, and appointments are scheduled if patients meet criteria.

Care Ottawa County created a new Facebook page today  to provide county wide human service response updates. You can find it here:

Updated: March 24, 2020 – 4:20 PM

COVID-19 Giving Opportunities

In response to these unprecedented time, NOCHS has been overwhelmed with requests from generous community members who have pledged their support to our hospital and front line staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot express our gratitude enough.

We greatly appreciate your inquiries and want to share a couple of ways you can provide support.

We are accepting donations of unused Personal Protective Equipment Monday-Friday from 10am-2pm at NOCHS Front Lobby (1309 Sheldon Road, Grand Haven).

We are also accepting monetary donations to help fund our greatest needs for our facilities and staff.

For more, including a full list of acceptable items, click here.

Dunewood Pharmacy

Dunewood Pharmacy is open for curbside pick-up for vitamins, OTC products and bariatric food, as well as prescriptions. Call (616) 842-5193 to place orders.

Remote Testing Site

REMINDER: The site is now operational seven days a week. Screening phone line (616) 935-7810 is answered from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and appointments are scheduled if patients meet criteria.

Donate Blood

REMINDER: There is a nationwide shortage of blood. Please consider donating. Visit to find a blood drive near you.

Free Audible Books for Kids

For as long as schools are closed, audible is open. Kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids.

All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet, here.


NOCHS’ number one goal is and has always been, patient safety and the well-being of our community. During this unprecedented time, NOCHS will continue to serve the community as we have throughout our 100 year history. We are honored to do so and grateful to the community for its outpouring of support.

As an essential service, the hospital remains open and fully operational (ER, emergency surgery, Imaging, Lab), with the exception of providing elective surgeries, as mandated by the Governor. We are actively planning for what experts are calling a “surge” or an expected spike in medical patients needed hospitalization for COVID-19-related illnesses. We will be ready should that situation arise.

Updated: March 23, 2020 – 4:30 PM


The Governor has issued an Executive Order requiring citizens to “stay home, stay safe.” The order goes into effect Tuesday, March 24 at 12 AM and will be reevaluated in three weeks. You can learn more here.

North Ottawa Care Center

Due to COVID-19, local Long Term Care Ombudsman are not making in-person visits to nursing homes.

They will be available to answer your questions, provide resources about the COVID-19 containment efforts, and address significant care concerns by calling Cindy Everston at (231) 733-3595.

COVID-19 Testing

The NOCHS site is now operational seven days a week. Screening phone line (616) 935-7810 is answered from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and appointments are scheduled from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

State of Michigan’s COVID-19 hotline for general public (888) 535-6136 can be accessed seven days a week from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Donate Blood

There is a nationwide shortage of blood. Please consider donating. Visit to find a blood drive near you.


The number one goal is and has always been, patient safety and the well-being of our community. During this unprecedented time, NOCHS will continue to serve the community as we have throughout our 100-year history. We are honored to do so and grateful to the community for its outpouring of support.

As an essential service, the hospital remains open and fully operational (ER, emergency surgery, Imaging, Lab), with the exception of providing elective surgeries, as mandated by the Governor. We are actively planning for what experts are calling a “surge” or an expected spike in medical patients needed hospitalization for COVID-19-related illnesses. We will be ready should that situation arise.

Updated: March 21, 2020 -12:35 PM

In response to these unprecedented times… NOCHS has been inundated with requests from generous community members who have pledged their support to our hospital and front line staff by offering to put their talents to work crafting homemade personal protection equipment like gowns and surgical masks. We cannot express our gratitude enough.

We are presently working on a plan to determine how/if we can accept such generous donations from the community. Once we have such a plan in place, we will reach back out to the community to share it.

In the meantime, know this… we are thoroughly evaluating our current inventory, we are in constant contact with officials regarding accessing the strategic national stockpile of additional personal protective equipment, as well as collaborating with other hospitals across the state, and with physicians offices that have closed, which may be able to shift their inventory to us. And, we are carefully rationing the use of our inventory to ensure we make it last as long as possible.

So, please stay tuned.

Again, on behalf of every employee in our health system, we are grateful to you for your kindness and talents. Please keep us in your thoughts. And promise us you will remain safely in your homes, practicing social distancing, as best you can.

With love and gratitude,

NOCHS Administration

Updated: March 20, 2020 – 4:17 PM


Weekend hours have been added. Appointments are being scheduled seven days-a-week between 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the former Panera Bread location, adjacent to Urgent Care on South Beacon Blvd. Patients must be pre-screened first, by calling (616) 935-7810 between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM, also seven days a week.


REMINDER – State of Michigan hotline for general public (888-535-6136) can be accessed seven days a week from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Community Mental Health of Ottawa County (CMHOC)

COVID-19 Emergency Operations Guidance

The CMHOC offices in Holland and Grand Haven will remain open for emergent needs and critical care.  CMHOC is the safety net provider and will continue to provide behavioral health services to our consumers and people who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

We are encouraging individuals to call our offices prior to coming in.  Our Access Center phone number is 877-588-4357 or TTY 711.  Callers and walk-ins will be asked screening questions to assess current health status.

Ongoing CMHOC services will be provided mainly by telephone or email.  Our staff will be providing frequent monitoring checks to our consumers and will assist with problem solving and care needs.

Increased stress and anxiety related to the current COVID-19 outbreak is normal and expected.  It is important that you take care of your mental health during this time.  Simple things like taking a walk, deep breathing, and taking an occasional time out from the news and media are good ways to give yourself a break and relax.  The Centers for Disease Control has lots of helpful information including managing stress and anxiety, the information can be found here.

If you or someone you know is in a mental health crisis, there is help available.  You are never alone, reach out by calling 866-512-4357 or test HOME to 741741 to speak with a mental health professional.  We are hear for you 24/7/365.  If it is an emergency call 911.

Please visit our website at for up to date information on services and tips and tips and guidance for caring for your mental health during this outbreak.


…to Spectrum Health for donating 30 bottles of its hand sanitizer to help us in the short-term that will be delivered yet today. And a HUGE thanks to Amway for donating 150 bottles of hand sanitizer to arrive next week. Thanks also to hometown hero, Biosolutions (a Shape Company), for donating 200 gallons of disinfectant cleaner.


• The number one goal for us is, and has always been, patient safety and the well-being of our community.

• With regard to safety, the cleaning and infection control practices at NOCHS are highly regulated and exceed requirements.
o NOCHS is strictly following the Governor’s executive order visitation is restricted with minimal exceptions.
o NOCHS is also carefully screening every person (staff, patients and visitors) entering our facility.  Those who do not pass the screening are turned away.

• With regard to the community’s well-being we have set up a remote test site to draw symptomatic people away from the hospital for testing.
o This protects patients who need to access our hospital-based services for routine or emergent care. Our services are open — ER, inpatient care and ICU, FBU, imaging, lab, sleep lab, Dunewood Pharmacy, and Breast Evaluation Center.

We also updated to make it easier to find all of the local COVID-19 information you may need including including Covid-19 screening/testing by appointment, visitor hours, service suspensions and more.

Updated: March 19, 2020, 4;51 PM


• State and private labs are now required to report all cases to the CDC for more accurate numbers.

• There is a nationwide blood shortage. Please consider donating today. You can schedule an appointment here:



Operational seven days a week from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at 1-888-535-6136 – fielding questions from the public and providers.


The COVID-19 screening phone line (616) 935-7810 and is available Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Appointments for testing are now being scheduled Monday to Friday between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM, at the former Panera Bread location, adjacent to Urgent Care on South Beacon Blvd. Again, this is by appointment only. If a person believes they should be screened, call the hotline to be screened.

• If they meet the criteria, an appointment will be scheduled.
• Drive up with ID and insurance card, stay in car and NOCHS will come out to collect the nasal swab.
• Patients will be directed to go home and self-isolate until results come back.
• Specimen is sent to the NOCHS lab to test first for flu.
• If negative for flu, specimen is then be sent to a State-approved lab to test for Coronavirus.
• This is a testing site only, not a clinic. Patients need to communicate with their PCP to let them know they’ve been tested, share results and determine follow up care.


The number one goal for us is, and has always been, patient safety and the well-being of our community.

With regard to safety, the cleaning and infection control practices at NOCHS are highly regulated and exceed requirements.

• NOCHS is strictly following the Governor’s executive order initiated today at 9:00 AM that drastically restricts visitation with minimal exceptions.
• NOCHS is also carefully screening every person (staff, patients and visitors) entering our facility.  Those who do not pass the screening are turned away.

With regard to the community’s well-being we set up a remote test site to draw symptomatic people away from the hospital for testing.

• This protects patients who need to access our hospital-based services for routine or emergent care.
• Our services are open — ER, surgery*, endoscopy, inpatient care and ICU, FBU, imaging, lab, sleep lab Dunewood Pharmacy, and Breast Evaluation Center.

*CMS announced that it is encouraging the public to delay elective surgery, but leaves ultimate prioritization decision to physician/patient. We are working closely with physicians on a case-by-case to accommodate the wishes of their patient.

Some adjustments to schedules for educational classes and support groups, however, have been cancelled in order to adhere to the CDC’s “social distancing” guidelines. Continually check our blog for updates,




Meijer announced Thursday it is adjusting its store hours for the foreseeable future both to allow more time for team members to deep clean and restock stores, as well as, dedicated hours for senior citizens, customers with chronic health conditions, essential service workers and its team members.

New store hours are as follows:

• Meijer stores will close overnight at 10 p.m. local time, beginning Friday, March 20, and will open each morning at 8 a.m. local time.
• Meijer Express convenience store locations will close overnight at 10 p.m. and open each morning at 8 a.m.; pay-at-the-pump fuel sales will remain available 24 hours a day.
• Meijer stores and pharmacies will provide dedicated shopping times for senior citizens and customers with chronic health conditions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-8 a.m. local time.
• Meijer stores and pharmacies will provide dedicated shopping times for essential service workers and Meijer team members on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7-8 a.m. local time.
More info can be found here:

D & W

Effective immediately, SpartanNash (D & W) stores are setting aside time twice per week for store guests most at risk of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19), including older adults, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals.

Reserved hours will be every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Learn more:


The link below has information about food distributions from all local school districts. You will also find links to information about emergency food resources and mobile food trucks.


A micropantry is located near their building on Columbus. People can get food anytime and others can drop donations.


A great resource powered by Pediatricians for parents to talk to children about coronavirus:

Talk to your kids about Coronavirus with this free coloring book:


Here is a list of educational companies offering free subscriptions to learning materials.

The Momentum Center is Facebook live streaming education classes (topics vary):


For many working for home will for an extended period of time will be a new experience. Here are a few good tips to help you adjust.


Without a doubt, many are feeling anxious about the COVID-19 pandemic. The kind folks at Calm wanted to share some of the tools they’re using to take care of their minds and stay grounded.


Tri-cities Family Y Fitness group is live streaming their exercise classes – free to anyone, no Y membership needed.

Ottawa County parks remain open! Play areas and handrails are not being disinfected so the county is recommending their use with responsibility such as avoiding crowded parks, keeping appropriate distance from others on the trail and hand washing before and after entry.

Western University’s Student Rec Department is also livestreaming a new workout everyday here:


To volunteer, donate, or locate local additional resources visit: This website directs people to 2-1-1 to locate local additional resources.

The Love In Action (LIA) Health Clinic remains open with an on-call nurse to answer questions and provide referrals weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Calling encouraged: 616-846-2701.

Updated: March 18, 2020, 4:05 PM

White House Warns Youth to Stay Home

Dr. Deborah Birx said during Wednesday’s briefing at the White House that the coronavirus task force is concerned about reports indicating that more young people are becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus. Read more here:


Operational seven days a week from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at 1-888-535-6136 – fielding questions from the public and providers.

Ottawa County Health Department DAILY BRIEFING

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH) hosts a press conference at 4:15 PM daily. Livestream at


REMINDER: The drive-up, remote testing site is open Monday through Friday from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM by appointment only, at the former Panera Bread location, adjacent to Urgent Care on South Beacon Blvd. The screening phone line (616) 935-7810 is manned from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

  • If a person believes they should be screened, call the hotline to be screened.
  • If they meet the criteria, an appointment will be scheduled.
  • Drive up with ID and insurance card, stay in car and NOCHS will come out to collect the nasal swab.
  • Patients will be directed to go home and self-isolate until results come back.
  • Specimen is sent to the NOCHS lab to test first for flu.
  • If negative for flu, specimen is then be sent to a State-approved lab to test for Coronavirus.
  • This is a testing site only, not a clinic. Patients need to communicate with their PCP to let them know they’ve been tested, share results and determine follow up care.


The number one goal for us is, and has always been, patient safety and the wellbeing of our community.

With regard to safety, the cleaning and infection control practices at NOCHS are highly regulated and exceed requirements.

  • NOCHS is strictly following the Governor’s executive order initiated today at 9:00 AM that drastically restricts visitation with minimal exceptions.
  • NOCHS is also carefully screening every person (staff, patients and visitors) entering our facility.  Those who do not pass the screening are turned away.

With regard to the community’s well-being we set up a remote test site to draw symptomatic people away from the hospital for testing.

  • This protects patients who need to access our hospital-based services for routine or emergent care.
  • Our services are open — ER, surgery*, endoscopy, inpatient care and ICU, FBU, imaging, lab, sleep lab Dunewood Pharmacy, and Breast Evaluation Center.

*CMS announced today that it is encouraging the public to delay elective surgery, but leaves ultimate prioritization decision to physician/patient. We are working closely with physicians on a case-by-case to accommodate the wishes of their patient.

Some adjustments to schedules for educational classes and support groups, however, have been cancelled in order to adhere to the CDC’s “social distancing” guidelines. Continually check our blog for updates,


Mental Health

Without a doubt, many are feeling anxious about the COVID-19 pandemic. The kind folks at Calm wanted to share some of the tools they’re using to take care of their minds and stay grounded.


Here is a list of educational companies offering free subscriptions to learning materials.


Tri-cities Family Y Fitness group is live streaming their exercise classes – free to anyone, no Y membership needed.

Ottawa Food

The link below has information about food distributions from all local school districts. You will also find links to information about emergency food resources and mobile food trucks.

Talk to your kids about Coronavirus with this free coloring book:


Updated: March 17, 2020, 4:00 PM


The number one goal for us is, and has always been, patient safety and the well-being of our community.

With regard to safety, the cleaning and infection control practices at NOCHS are highly regulated and exceed requirements.

NOCHS is strictly following the Governor’s executive order that drastically restricts visitation with minimal exceptions.

NOCHS is also carefully screening every person (staff, patients and visitors) entering our facility. Those who do not pass the screening are turned away.

With regard to the community’s well-being we set up a remote test site to draw symptomatic people away from the hospital for testing.

This will help protect patients who need to access our hospital-based services for routine or emergent care. Our services are open — ER, surgery, endoscopy, inpatient care and ICU, FBU, imaging, lab, sleep lab Dunewood Pharmacy, and Breast Evaluation Center.

That said, we have made some temporary adjustments to schedules (see below) for educational classes and support groups, as well as adjusted a few patient services in order to adhere to the CDC’s “social distancing” guidelines.

COVID-19 Drive-Up Testing Site

North Ottawa Community Health System has opened a drive-up COVID-19 (Coronavirus) testing center. Because the number of test kits and testing capacity is extremely limited, testing will be by appointment only.⠀⠀

If you have symptoms and believe you need to be tested for COVID-19, please call 616-935-7810 between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM to determine if you meet screening criteria for testing.


  • Must have an appointment.
  • Have your photo ID and insurance card ready.
  • Stay in your vehicle at all times.

Millpoint Health Center – NOCHS Lab, X-Ray, Rehab

NOCHS Millpoint Lab, X-Ray and Rehab closed at 12 noon today, and will remain closed until further notice. Those services can still be received at North Ottawa Community Hospital.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call:

  • North Ottawa Laboratory, 616-847-5382
  • North Ottawa Imaging, 616-847-5238
  • North Ottawa Rehab, 616-847-5293

15 Days to Slow the Spread

The new recommendations are simple to follow but will have a resounding impact on public health. Every American can help slow the virus’ spread and keep our most high-risk populations safe:

1.       Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.

2.       If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical provider.

3.       If your children are sick, keep them at home. Contact your medical provider.

4.       If someone in your household has tested positive for the Coronavirus, keep the entire household at home.

5.       If you are an older American, stay home and away from other people.

6.       If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition—such as a significant heart or lung problem—stay home and away from other people.

Updated: March 16, 2020, 2:40 PM

The following NOCHS departments have suspended or canceled the following services:

Bereavement Services
All support groups (including “Understanding Grief”) and in-person visits are canceled.

Breastfeeding Support & Community Education

All education classes are postponed through April. For questions or concerns regarding Childbirth and Breastfeeding preparation classes and Postpartum Depression support please call 616-847-5337. For questions regarding Babysitting and Basic Life Support, please call 616-847-5671.

The weekly breastfeeding support group (Wednesdays from 10:00 AM – 12 noon) will not meet again until further notice. If you are in need of lactation support please call (616) 847-5337 to schedule a call with a lactation specialist. We are dedicated to supporting the breastfeeding moms in our community, and will do the best we can to continue our support in your breastfeeding journey.

Cashier’s Office
The Cashier’s office is closed. You may make payments online by visiting and clicking “Hospital Online Bill Pay,” via your Patient Portal or at Emergency Room Registration. If you have any questions please call (616) 847-5272.

Dunewood Pharmacy
If you need a prescription filled, please utilize our curbside service and we will bring it to you. Just pull up to the green sign along the main entrance of the hospital off of Sheldon Road under the covered portico and give us a call at (616) 842-5193.

Harbor Dune Health Center
For the safety of our staff and patients, the entrance to Harbor Dune Health Center is now closed. All visitors are asked to go to the hospital’s main lobby entrance to be screened and then you may proceed to Harbor Dunes.

Medical Weight Loss Classes
All classes have been canceled until further notice. Please call the Bariatric Clinic at (616) 847-5489 with any questions.

North Ottawa Pediatric Office
Sick Care Express is suspended starting tomorrow, March 17.

Updated: March 16, 2020, 9:00 AM


In response to Governor Whitmer’s executive order, starting Monday, March 16, visitors will be limited/restricted at all North Ottawa Community Health System locations (hospital, outpatient locations and North Ottawa Care Center and Hospice Residence at Heartwood Lodge) except in special circumstances. Special circumstances allow for one approved visitor for pediatric, maternity, end-of-life or critically ill patients, and patients undergoing surgery.

We appreciate your adherence and understanding.

Updated: March 13, 2020, 3:56 pm

With the Restrictions on the visitors to the hospital, the Health Information Management (Medical Records) department will not be open to walk-in patients starting Monday 3/16/20. We will be available via phone to answer any questions. Please call us at 616-847-5292 if you have any questions about obtaining your medical records.

Out of an abundance of caution and in the best interest of the health of our community we are cancelling all NOCHS seminars now through the end of April. This includes our get better series and surgical seminars.

As a reminder, please review our visitor restrictions for the entire health system.

FACTS & FIGURES (as of 3/11/20)
Two coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Michigan, on the southeast side of the state. Both patients are hospitalized. No cases have been confirmed in West Michigan.

What is the Coronavirus (COVID 19)?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 is the name of the illness caused by the coronavirus. The coronavirus mentioned in the recent world outbreak also has a specific name: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (abbreviated as SARS-CoV-2).

A new strain of a virus that has never been seen before is also referred to as “novel.” That’s why you might see references to the “novel coronavirus” as well. In general terms, coronaviruses are relatively common and are responsible for the common cold.

How is it transmitted?
Person-to-person spread
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
·         Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
·         Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
·         People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
·         Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily does the virus spread?
The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”). Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

What are the symptoms?
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure*:
·         Fever
·         Cough
·         Shortness of breath

Can you prevent it?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
·         Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
·         Stay home when you are sick.
·         Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
·         Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
·         Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Is there a treatment?

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.


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