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Community Update 2/26

Updates From The Health Department

SCHEDULING

To place the Grand Traverse County Health Department in the best position to adapt to future changes in state guidelines and achieve their vaccination goals throughout the rest of the pandemic, we are working to implement many changes over the following weeks which will include an improved registration and scheduling process.

Currently, the new screening will allow eligible groups to schedule a vaccine appointment while filtering out those who are not eligible. We are working toward a process that will eventually allow residents to fill out the screening once and then automatically be placed into a queue to receive the vaccine based on their eligibility group.

The scheduling link will go live on Monday, March 1, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. by following https://gtcountycovid19.com/vaccine. Once the button is live, those attempting to schedule an appointment will be asked to answer a series of screening questions to determine eligibility before being granted access to the scheduling link.

All vaccine clinics are currently held at Northwestern Michigan College’s Hagerty Conference Center and are based on vaccine availability. Vaccine clinics are by appointment only. There are no walk-ins or add-ons at the clinics.

GTCHD continues to partner with United Way, Area Agency on Aging and the Commission on Aging to assure that vulnerable seniors and those without internet access are able to get vaccinated. Call 231-715-5557 if you need technical assistance.

Vaccine Eligibility

Grant Traverse County is currently vaccinating individuals who are:

PHASE 1A:

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

PHASE 1B Group A and B only:

  • 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

PHASE 1C Group A ONLY: Individuals age 65 to 74 years.

LOOKING AHEAD

On February 17, 2021, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that dependent on vaccine supply and current progress within each individual local health department jurisdiction, essential workers in critical infrastructure that work in the food and agricultural business will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning on March 1, 2021.

In response to the announcement, the Grand Traverse County Health Department would like to remind the community that while we are excited that the state has allowed for more to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, due to vaccine supply and progress within current phases, we continue to vaccinate Phase 1A, Phase 1B (Group A and B only) and Phase 1C (Group A
only) which are defined below. However, we continue to plan for beyond the current phases and will alert the public when we are ready to do so.

To see the prioritization guidelines from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that the GTCHD is following, visit this link.

VACCINATION NUMBERS

Officials are reporting the following vaccination coverage rates for GT County residents based off the MDHHS COVID 19 Vaccination Coverage Dashboard:

  • 60% of the 65-74 year olds have received a first dose of vaccine with 29% receiving 2 doses to date
  • 75% of the 75+ year olds have received a first dose of vaccine with 50% receiving 2 doses to date

Grand Traverse County Health Department Vaccinations:

  • This week GTCHD administered 1163 first doses and 1672 2nd doses
  • The cumulative number of vaccine doses administered during GTCHD vaccine clinics through Feb 26th are:
    • 9714 1st doses
    • 7054 2nd doses
    • 16,768 Total Doses

To find the latest statistics regarding COVID-19 vaccinations across the state, you can visit the MDHHS vaccine dashboard.

OFF-SITE TESTING FROM GTCHD

The Grand Traverse County Health Department is partnering with Honu Labs to assist with the operation of the free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing site that was established last December. The pop-up site located at the Cherryland Mall (1700 South Garfield Rd. Traverse City, MI 49686) provides COVID-19 testing by appointment only on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Testing is available to anyone regardless of symptoms. A doctor’s order is not needed and there is no charge to be tested. Testing is done by appointment only by following this link.

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 Michigan.gov/StayWell.

Homelessness

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: volunteers@gtsafeharbor.org 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 gtcountycovid19.com 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, 2020. Members include key community partners from health, government, first responders, education, social service, and business sectors.