TRAVERSE CITY REGION RETURNS TO PHASE 4
Yesterday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services revised and extended its epidemic order to contain the spread of COVID-19, as Michigan continues to see a surge in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Under the newly extended orders, MDHHS reduced the maximum gathering size from 500 persons to 50 persons for indoor gatherings such as weddings, parties, and banquets in nonresidential settings without fixed seating. Bars, restaurants, and social events not in private homes are now restricted to indoor party sizes of six people at a single table. The Traverse City region previously had fewer restrictions due to lower COVID-19 rates, but with the new orders has been moved into Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan due to the increased COVID-19 activity in our region.
Additionally, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) re-released an updated Epidemic Order on gatherings, worker protections and face coverings across the state. To learn more about the revised order, you can access the following infographic and a fact sheet.
As we head into the holidays, and alongside the re-release of the Epidemic Order, MDHHS published strong recommendations for indoor social gatherings. Because no one measure confers complete protection in a gathering, the guidance recommends that individuals take multiple steps together:
- Get together outside whenever possible. You have up to 20 times higher risk of getting sick inside.
- If you do get together inside, include no more than two households and 10 people.
- Limit time inside together—greater duration is greater risk.
- Wear a mask – take it off when you eat or drink, then put it back on.
- Keep six feet apart as much as you can.
- When possible, keep voices down; high volume can increase COVID transmission by 30 times
- Wash hands regularly and try to not to share utensils.
Additionally, the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) issued a new emergency rule on October, 14, 2020 for employers to control, prevent, and mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among employees. To see the rules in full, visit: MIOSHA COVID-19 Emergency Rules 10-14-20. A fact sheet regarding the rules can be found here: MIOSHA EMERGENCY RULES.
The Grand Traverse County Health Department (GTCHD) has reported 134 new positive cases since Friday, October 23, bringing the total to 780 total cases, 452 recoveries, and 13 deaths, leaving 315 active cases in Grand Traverse County. Case investigations and contact tracing are in progress, and information will be shared when it is available.
Grand Traverse County is at risk level E, while the Traverse City Region is at a risk level D on the MI Safe Start Map. The current 7 day average of 6% positivity reflects a 3 week increase and Grand Traverse County incidence is currently at 140.1 cases per million which is a 5 week increase. Additional statistics are available on the Health Department’s dashboard and Facebook page, which updates new case information daily at 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
From October 28 – 29, the Grand Traverse County Health Department completed 47 case investigations for confirmed COVID-19 cases. The following is information known at this time:
- All 47 cases are primary residents.
- 0-19 1
- 20-29 12
- 30-39 16
- 40-49 6
- 50-59 5
- 60-69 5
- 70-79 1
- 90-99 1
- Symptomatic: 39 Asymptomatic: 8
- 9 are linked to travel either into or out of the area as reported during the case investigation
- 10 are linked to large group gatherings or social events
- 31 cases were known close contacts to other positive cases
- Approximately 146 close contacts were identified, notified, and instructed to quarantine.
Case Investigations were also completed on 1 probable case (individuals who were close contacts of a positive COVID case who became symptomatic during their quarantine).
While conducting case investigations, the listed location, during the specified dates and times were discovered to be a place of potential public exposure. Exposure sites not open to the public are contacted directly.
GT Social Club Volleyball Games
Monday, October 19 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
If you were present at the above location during the listed time periods, you should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days since the possible exposure, particularly if you were not wearing a mask or maintaining 6 foot distance from others.
Symptoms include: fever, cough, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, repeated shaking with chills, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.
Anyone that is self-monitoring as a result should have a heightened sense of awareness that you could become infectious at any point during the 14-day self-monitoring period. Please keep this in mind when interacting with family, friends and the public.
Please note that regardless of any listed locations, community exposure is happening across Grand Traverse County. Be sure to practice safety measures while out in public, including wearing a mask in public, washing your hands often, maintaining six feet of social distance.
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 174,388 positive cases and 7,309 deaths of COVID-19 and 114,939 have recovered in Michigan as of 10/23/20.
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 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.
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.
Safe Harbor’s overnight shelter will open on Saturday, October 31. Central United Methodist is planning to offer hot breakfast five days a week from 8 – 10 a.m. at Safe Harbor beginning in November.
The day shelter at Safe Harbor that is operated by Goodwill is open from 8:15 – noon, Monday through Friday.
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.