Over the past several weeks, COVID-19 cases have spiked in two counties within District Health Department #10’s (DHD#10) jurisdiction, Newaygo and Oceana. While there are several reasons for the increase in cases, an area that the public can help play a big part in reducing the spread is to commit to follow the recommendations of staying home and practicing social distancing and wearing a face covering when in public.
As essential businesses continued to operate during the Governor’s Stay Home Stay Safe Executive Order, many business owners went above and beyond following the appropriate protocol for screening their employees, cleaning and disinfecting their facilities, implementing social distancing plans to keep employees separated and educating their employee on COVID-19 and its prevention strategies. Unfortunately, many individuals have chosen not to adhere to the Executive Order to stay home or to social distance and mask while in public, which has resulted in increases in COVID-19 infections. Because not everyone who is infected shows symptoms even though they are contagious, they head back to work or into community settings and unknowingly infect others.
“We understand the frustration that business owners express as they are doing everything right to keep their facilities disinfected and their employees safe,” said Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for DHD#10. “We can’t say enough just how important it is for everyone to please do your part to not only protect you and your family, but to protect others.”
In Newaygo and Oceana Counties, the increase in cases is not coming from any one location. Many of these cases are due to families getting together where asymptomatic individuals unknowingly spread the virus to multiple family members and then to coworkers. Other cases involve individuals contracting the virus while working in neighboring counties outside of DHD#10’s ten-county jurisdiction which have higher numbers of cases and then unknowingly bringing it home to their families, and in some cases spreading it among three to four generations. In addition, more testing is being done in these communities by hospitals and the opening of the drive through testing clinic in Shelby through a joint effort of Northwest Michigan Health Services and DHD#10. More testing will identify additional cases otherwise unknown. DHD#10 continues to work closely with our partners, local employers and community officials to provide guidance and assistance to slow the spread.
It is known that COVID-19 can spread rapidly at mass gatherings and in enclosed spaces. Please do your part to prevent getting or spreading COVID-19, including:
- Follow the guidelines set forth in the current executive orders2020-91 (Safeguards to protect Michigan’s workers from COVID-19) and 2020-92(Temporary requirement to suspend certain activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life).
- Try to think of alternatives to serving meals “buffet” style for your holiday cookouts.
- If you are sick, please stay home to avoid getting others sick.
- Unless you are in Regions 6 or 8, do not have or go to gatherings of more than 10 people.
- Always remain 6 feet or more away from others when you are in public, whether inside or outside.
- Wear face coverings when you are in an enclosed public space or can’t maintain at least 6 feet physical distance.
- Practice good hand washing hygiene – wash hands regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% or more) if soap and water are not available.
- Clean all “high touch” surfaces every day with household cleaning spray or sanitizing wipes.
- Cover coughs, sneezes and avoid touching your face.
For more information on COVID-19, go to www.dhd10.org/coronavirus. You can also send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.