Kent County Health Department urges people to stay alert amid ‘third wave’ of COVID-19

Kent County has reached more than 10,000 diagnosed COVID-19 cases.

KENT COUNTY, Mich — COVID-19 cases are climbing in Michigan, with the state now reporting an average of 1,000 daily cases. Dr. Adam London with the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) said increases statewide mirror local numbers across the county.

“Here in Kent County we’re now over 10,000 diagnosed cases in total of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, and we are seeing an increase,” London said. “About a month ago, we were only seeing about 35 cases per day. Now we’re seeing over 100 new cases per day.”

London said in addition to case numbers, the percent of tests done each day that come back positive are increasing. Around one month ago, an average of 2% of the tests came back positive, but now it’s jumped to 4%.

He also said more people are also being hospitalized due to COVID-19.

“About a month ago we were at less than 20 people in our hospitals, now we’re up to about 70-75 people,” London said.

When asked about the virus’ resurgence, London said medical experts understood there would be more positive cases when Michigan began to reopen. However, he believes the sharp increase in numbers could be linked to young adults getting and spreading the illness.

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“We think that the increases that we’re seeing may be related to what we saw about a month ago, which was an increase in the number of people in that 19-24 year-old age bracket. We saw about a third of our cases were in that small, five-year period of age. So now we think that is causing spread further into other parts of our population and driving an increase across the community that way,” he explained.

As the colder weather and the holiday’s approach, KCHD is asking community members to keep up on social distance and health guidelines. “We are absolutely in the midst of a second wave now — in fact, kind of in the midst of a third wave. We had a smaller wave in the middle of the summer,” he said.  

London adds that the hope is to keep the number of COVID-19 affected people as low as possible, as to not overwhelm the hospitals, something he said would have a detrimental domino effect.

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“When our hospitals are not overwhelmed, they can provide tremendous care and we see that the mortality rate stays very low. When they’re overwhelmed, that’s when we see the outcomes aren’t as good as they were before,” London said.

In addition to taking standard health and safety precautions, London recommends community members get their flu shot, also reminding anyone who gets sick during flu season, or any other time, to stay home.

“We are concerned about influenza this year, and the two are not unrelated, and certainly if our hospitals are overwhelmed with our people suffering from severe influenza, that’s going to affect their ability to treat people with COVID,” he explained.

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