Skip to main content

Community Update 4-21

Stay Home, Stay Safe, Save Lives remains the most important message for residents throughout Northwest Michigan. It is important that people continue to stay home as much as possible, avoid all non-essential travel and practice social distancing when they must go out. The Grand Traverse County Health Department has developed a helpful one-page info-graphic about when it is safe to leave your home if you have COVID-19 or live with someone who does. 

The Grand Traverse County Health Department reports 19 positive cases of COVID-19 in Grand Traverse County residents. Since yesterday, a man in his 70s died from the virus, bringing the total to 5 deaths of Grand Traverse County residents. To date, 428 individuals have been tested for COVID-19 in Grand Traverse County. Michigan has reported 32,000 positive cases and 2,468 deaths of COVID-19. Numbers are updated daily. 

New testing criteria were released late yesterday from the State of Michigan. Changes include:

  • Priority Level 3 now includes asymptomatic healthcare workers or first responders
  • Priority Level 4 now includes asymptomatic critical infrastructure workers

People in these categories may only be tested if specimen collection and testing capacity remains after serving all other Priority Level 1 and 2 groups. People who fit the criteria and want to seek testing still need to contact their healthcare provider, the Munson Healthcare COVID-19 hotline number 231-935-0951 (press 5 to access the option 7 days a week from 7 am – 7 pm), or the Michigan COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136, seven days a week from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Grand Traverse County’s three testing sites are Munson Healthcare Foster Family Community Health CenterMunson Healthcare Traverse City, and Northwest Michigan Health Services.

Additional data, as well as interactive maps, regarding the impacts of COVID-19 around the world (including Michigan and Grand Traverse County), can be found at the John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.  

Each agency is required to request PPE through their respective county’s Emergency Management Coordinator. If you represent an agency outside of Grand Traverse County, please see the Region 7 Healthcare Coalition page for all northern Michigan emergency manager contact info.

It is expected that later this 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.