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Community Update 4-17

As of this morning, the Grand Traverse County Health Department continues to report 17 positive cases of COVID-19 in Grand Traverse County residents. Since yesterday, a woman in her 80s died from the virus. This brings the total number of deaths of Grand Traverse County residents to 4. To date, 372 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Grand Traverse County. Michigan has reported 29,263 cases of COVID-19, with 2,093 deaths. 433 individuals have recovered from COVID-19. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Grand Traverse County has seen incredible cooperation by organizations and businesses to limit the spread of the disease and support our residents. One example is from the Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) which recently redesigned some of its buses to serve as medical discharge transportation units (pictured below). BATA worked with health experts at the Grand Traverse County Health Department to specially equip the buses to safely transport patients who have recovered and no longer need to be hospitalized, but may not have family to take them home. Additionally, BATA has gone to great lengths to ensure it is safely transporting those dependent upon public transportation for their essential needs throughout this pandemic. It is currently providing approximately 200 rides per day.   

Beginning next week, MDHHS will begin reporting on the number of probable cases for each county, along with current reporting of laboratory confirmed cases and deaths. Depending on available data, counties may list cumulative probable cases, as well as their cumulative laboratory-confirmed positive cases, and cumulative deaths. Probable cases of COVID-19 disease are individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, but have not been tested and are epidemiologically linked to a positive case. While the number of reported cases throughout the state will likely be higher, the real impact on our community will remain the same, but will also demonstrate a more complete story that the number of confirmed cases was only telling part of the story. Michigan’s number of confirmed cases is understood to be an undercount, something the new data will help to improve. Grand Traverse County Health Department has been tracking these probable cases from the beginning of the pandemic and following up with individuals throughout their illness.

Residents are reminded having contact with people outside of your household increases your risk of either getting or spreading the virus. Health experts continue to stress the importance of staying home and leaving home ONLY for urgent or essential needs. Aligning with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, the general public is also advised to wear homemade face masks or face coverings in public settings. 


Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. Please direct your neighbors to these information resources for the most current, factual information:


Grand Traverse County’s Joint Operations Center has been meeting daily 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.    


The best prevention for viruses like COVID-19, influenza, and the common cold is to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
  • Stay at least six feet away from others when in a public setting.
  • Replace handshakes with a friendly wave from 6 feet away.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has assembled a FAQ on protecting yourself from COVID-19. If you suspect that you may have contracted the virus, call your healthcare provider or the Michigan COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136, seven days a week from 8 am – 5 pm.