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Community Update 4-18

Grand Traverse County COVID-19 Community Update – April 18, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our region has seen incredible generosity by residents, grant-making organizations and businesses as they contribute funds and resources to help support our residents during the pandemic. The Urgent Needs Grant Fund, housed at the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, has received $362,333 in donations, which are being used to fund local nonprofit, governmental, and educational organizations to provide vital services such as access to food and basic hygiene, caring for senior citizens, supporting utility and rental assistance, and overall basic needs. The resources are spread across Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau Counties; $186,250 in awards have been awarded to date.

As of this morning, the Grand Traverse County Health Department has reported 18 positive cases and four deaths from COVID-19 among Grand Traverse County residents. Since yesterday, there has been one new case of a woman in her 70s. To date, 402 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Grand Traverse County. Michigan has reported 30,023 cases of COVID-19, with 2,227 deaths. 

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.