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Community Update 1/08



On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that those tasked with the responsibility to administer the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the state, MAY move forward into Phase 1B of the tiered vaccination plan.

While we are excited to be granted the go-ahead to vaccinate more members of our community, the Grand Traverse County Health Department continues to vaccinate individuals in Phase 1A of the priority group endorsed by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as we prepare for the Phase 1B group. So far, we have vaccinated individuals including GTCHD staff, EMS, Medical First Responders, and are currently vaccinating all Healthcare workers.

If you fall into the 1A or 1B priority groups, to assist the health department staff in the scheduling of appointments, we have forms on our website at: that can be filled out to alert us of you or your organization’s interest in receiving the vaccine.

Phase 1A; paid and unpaid healthcare workers
If you are a paid or unpaid healthcare worker in Grand Traverse County and have not received the vaccine and would like to, please fill out this form to alert us of your interest.

Phase 1B; essential workers (police officers, first responders, frontline state and federal workers, jail and prison staff, pre-K-12 teachers and childcare providers) If you fall into this category of the Phase 1B group, please fill out this form to alert us of your interest.

Phase 1B; 65 years and older
If you fall into this category of the Phase 1B group, please fill out this form to alert us of your interest.


The Area Agency on Ageing of Northwest Michigan and the United Way of Northwest Michigan have partnered with each other to create a hotline to help assist those in the Phase 1B, 65 years and older group. The hotline number is: 231-715-5557. When calling the hotline, callers will be asked to provide their name, contact information, age, county and whether or not they have transportation to get to and from a vaccination location. They will be contacted back with specifics when they are available.

Vaccine clinics are invite-only and are scheduled at specific times. There are no walk-in vaccination clinics.

Michigan residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can visit Locally, go to: where you may find answers to your questions.

Vaccine is allocated at the national level to each state and then each state distributes vaccine to local health departments and hospitals. Additionally and separately, the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care Program is a national initiative to provide COVID-19 vaccine to the Phase 1A priority groups of long-term care facility residents and staff.

Daily Numbers

The Grand Traverse County Health Department is reporting 49 new cases of COVID-19 for Friday, January 8, 2021, bringing the cumulative total to 3,237 cases.

Grand Traverse County and the Traverse City Region as a whole is at a risk level E on the MI Safe Start Map. The current 7 day average of 10% positivity rate and Grand Traverse County incidence is currently at 213.3 cases per million. Additional statistics are available on the Health Department’s dashboard and Facebook page, which updates new case information daily at 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Regionally, Munson Healthcare is reporting COVID-19 testing results on its website for each of its hospitals. Numbers listed are by hospital, not county of residence.

Michigan has reported 559,655 positive cases and 13,913 deaths of COVID-19 as of Friday, January 8, 2021. As of December 28, 2020, 363,611 have recovered in Michigan.

Off-site Testing Offered

The Grand Traverse County Health Department is now offering free, off-site COVID-19 testing by appointment. The pop-up site located at the Cherryland Mall (1700 South Garfield Rd. Traverse City, MI 49686) provides COVID-19 testing by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, log on to:

COVID-19 Testing

Grand Traverse County testing sites include:
Munson Healthcare Foster Family Community Health Center (priority 1 & 2 only)
Northwest Michigan Health Services (testing all by appointment)
Rite Aid at Chums Corner (testing all by appointment)
Walgreens at Chums Corner (testing all by appointment)
See Michigan’s COVID-19 test finder for more options

Testing sites have capacity and tests are available. Individuals seeking tests can call:

  • Their healthcare provider
  • The Munson Healthcare Covid-19 hotline: 231-935-0951
  • The Michigan COVID-19 hotline: 888-535-6136

If you seek testing, please remember that once you get tested you should not be going out and visiting local shops and restaurants or other public spaces while waiting for test results. Anyone who gets tested for COVID-19 must remember to stay home and away from others as much as possible until they have received a negative test result, or once they have passed their isolation period as advised by the health department if they test positive. The public should also assume the potential risk for COVID-19 exposure when going into any business and should always be wearing masks, social distancing and follow other safety guidelines to reduce the spread in Grand Traverse County.

Mental Health

Anyone having difficulties navigating life during the COVID-19 pandemic, you are not alone. MDHHS has a mental health hotline you can access for free and confidential access to counselors 24/7. Language translation is available for non-English-speaking residents who call the counseling line.

MDHHS COVID-19 Help Hotline: 1-888-535-6136, choose prompt 8.

To access other mental health resources for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, visit


The day shelter at Safe Harbor that is operated by Goodwill is open from 8:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Safe Harbor’s overnight shelter opened on Saturday, October 31 and is currently looking to add more volunteers. If you or someone you know may be interested, reach out to volunteer coordinator, Brad Gerlach by emailing: or fill out the application online.

Senior Center

The Senior Center Network and the Commission on Aging each have disposable masks available for seniors in Grand Traverse County. Parties may call either office to arrange for curbside pick-up or could be mailed upon request.

Senior Center Network: 231-922-4911
Commission on Aging: 231-922-4688

Stay Safe to Stay Open

Residents, businesses, and visitors are encouraged to Stay Safe to Stay Open. This includes the following measures while in public:

  • Staying 6 feet apart from others
  • Wearing masks while indoors our even outside when you are unable to maintain social distancing
  • Limiting large social gatherings – not hosting or attending large gatherings
  • Continuing basic prevention measures like frequent hand washing
  • Following workplace safety protocols
  • Daily monitoring of yourself for symptoms including your temperature (even if you feel fine)
  • Staying home if symptomatic – even if it is just very mild symptoms
  • If others in your household have tested positive or are symptomatic, stay away and take extra precautions to not become infected.

Businesses and individuals can download Stay Safe to Stay Open resources and get additional information at the website and communication templates and graphics on the Traverse Connect website.

About the JOC

Grand Traverse County’s Joint Operations Center has been meeting to coordinate efforts and communication on the COVID-19 pandemic since Friday, March 13. Members include key community partners from health, government, first responders, education, social service, and business sectors.