UPDATES FROM THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT
On Monday, January 11, 2021, Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services gave the green light for all authorized providers tasked with administering the COVID-19 vaccine throughout the state to move forward into Phase 1B of the tiered vaccination plan.
In preparation to expand into Phase 1B, the Grand Traverse County Health Department is partnering with Northwestern Michigan College to launch a vaccination clinic for COVID-19 beginning Monday, January 18 at NMC’s Hagerty Center through at least April. Vaccines will be given by appointment only and are currently available for individuals in Phase 1A and Phase 1B of the priority groups.
PHASE 1A includes:
- EMS, medical first responders, healthcare workers and residents in long-term care facilities.
PHASE 1B includes:
- Persons age 65 and older
- 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.
There were over 23,000 people who registered interest in an appointment and approximately 1,500 first dose appointments of vaccine available for the week of Jan. 18-22. Appointments were fully booked shortly after releasing the link to the public.
Additional appointments will be added weekly as the county receives more vaccine. If you qualify for the current open phases, we encourage you to visit the page frequently to check if additional appointments are available. To schedule an appointment, please visit https://gtcountycovid19.com/vaccine/.
Once scheduled, you will receive a confirmation email from @acuityscheduling.com. Please fill out the .pdf form that is sent to you and bring to your appointment.
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.
On Wednesday, January 13, 2020, The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated its epidemic order today to allow re-opening of additional activities where Michiganders can remain masked and socially distanced, as this has been scientifically shown to slow the virus. This includes indoor group exercise and non-contact sports. The new order is effective Saturday, Jan. 16 and will last until Sunday, Jan. 31.
The Grand Traverse County Health Department is reporting 32 new cases of COVID-19 for Friday, January 15, 2021, and 239 cases and two deaths since the last report on January 8, 2021, bringing the cumulative total to 3,476 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 11.3% positivity rate which reflects an increase since last week’s report. The Grand Traverse County incidence is currently at 274 cases per million, which is an increase from last week. 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 579,574 positive cases and 14,550 deaths of COVID-19 as of Friday, January 15, 2021. As of January 8, 2021, 415,079 have recovered in Michigan.
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.
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
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.
The day shelter at Safe Harbor that is operated by Goodwill is open from 8:15 – noon, Monday through Friday.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the application online.
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. Members include key community partners from health, government, first responders, education, social service, and business sectors.