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Community Update 1/29



On Monday, January 18, 2021, in partnership with Northwestern Michigan College, the Grand Traverse County Health Department launched a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at NMC’s Hagerty Conference Center.

Prior to this week, the GTCHD, was able to administer 3434 doses of vaccine.

For the week of January 25-30, the Grand Traverse County Health Department, along with the Michigan National Guard, will have administered 3316 doses at it’s NMC’s Hagerty Center vaccination site and will continue to vaccinate those in the 1A and 1B (subgroup a and b) categories.

The GTCHD is proud to lean on its partnerships to vaccinate the community. To see how it has all come together, watch here.

The GTCHD continues to vaccinate those in the Phase 1A and 1B (group a and b only) category.

PHASE 1A includes:

  • EMS, medical first responders, healthcare workers and residents in long-term care facilities.

PHASE 1B (subgroup a and b) includes:

  • Persons age 65 and older (over 19,000 people in Grand Traverse County)
  • Some frontline essential workers including:
    • Police officers
    • First responders
    • Frontline state and federal workers
    • Jail and prison staff
    • Pre-K-12 teachers and childcare providers
    • Adult and child protective services, and
    • Homeless shelter staff

Vaccine clinics are by appointment only. There are no walk-in vaccination clinics.

Additional appointments will be added weekly as the county receives more vaccine. If you qualify for the current open phases (1A and 1B (group a and b)), we encourage you to visit the page frequently to check if additional appointments are available. To schedule an appointment, please visit here. This week the calendar will go live with appointments Monday at 1 p.m. Until that time, the schedule button will be unavailable. The button will reappear when there are appointments available.

“Understandably, the interest to schedule an appointment for a vaccine in our community is great. We have over 19-thousand community members that are 65 years and older and fall into the Phase 1B planning category, and that figure does not account for everyone else that may also fall into that category,” said County Administrator, Nate Alger. “In anticipation of securing appointments, thousands flooded the county’s scheduling link Friday and it needed to come down until we were ready to load appointments. That time is now scheduled for Monday, February 1, at 1 p.m. The demand for vaccine continues to far outweigh our weekly allotment and we ask for patience from our community as we navigate the hurdles that come along with it.”

Once scheduled, you will receive a confirmation email from Please fill out the .pdf form that is sent to you and bring to your appointment.

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.


Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) released its next epidemic order on Friday, January 22, which continues the department’s fact-based approach to reopening activities, and goes into effect on Monday, Feb. 1. The order will allow for 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 new order will last three weeks and expires on Sunday, Feb. 21.

Restaurants will also have an opportunity to become part of the COVID Safer Dining program and certify their establishment. The voluntary program-19 allows foodservice establishments to become certified by having their ventilation system inspected and submitting their inspection report to the state indicating they are optimizing airflow. Once certified, businesses will be featured on the website and receive a copy of their certification to post at their establishment.

Daily Numbers

The Grand Traverse County Health Department is reporting 18 new cases of COVID-19 for Friday, January 29, 2021, and 281 cases and three deaths since the last report on January 15, 2021 bringing the cumulative total to 3,756 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 5.6% positivity rate which reflects a two-week decrease. The Grand Traverse County incidence is currently at 107 cases per million, which reflects a two-week decrease. 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 608,627 positive cases and 15,410 deaths of COVID-19 as of Friday, January 29, 2021. As of January 22, 2021, 463,106 have recovered in Michigan.

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

Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Authority (Locally)
  • 24/7 Crisis Line 1-833-295-0616 – for anyone in the community in a mental health crisis, including if a person is experiencing out-of-control behaviors, expressing thoughts of suicide, experiencing severe stress, or just do not know what else to do. When in doubt, call!
  • NLCMHA Warm Help Line 1-800-492-5742 – for anyone in the community who is experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression due to the COVID-19 pandemic and would like to talk to someone. Available during business hours.
  • myStrength Health and Wellness App – free access using the code NLCMHCommunity for anyone in the community (including GT County employees) who would like self-care resources for a wide variety of health and wellness issues, including COVID-19 specifically.
MDHHS (Statewide)

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 – noon, seven days a week.

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.