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On Thanksgiving eve, Kent County health leaders urge against losing ground in coronavirus battle – mlive.com

Posted: November 26, 2020 at 1:55 am

KENT COUNTY, MI -- Kent County Health leaders are again asking the public to avoid large holiday gatherings in hopes of building on recent small improvements in coronavirus numbers.

I am very concerned the little bit of progress we have made could easily be undone if people have large gatherings, said Kent County Health Director Adam London.

The latest coronavirus numbers show that Kent County had a recent high on Nov. 19 of 689 cases per day (based on a seven-day average). As of Tuesday, Nov. 24, the weekly average had dropped to 602 cases per day.

London, like many health leaders, say the next 30 to 40 days could be key in the fight against COVID-19. The battle may well depend on how well the public heeds the warnings about wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings.

Related: Michigan reports 4,273 new coronavirus cases, 73 new deaths

The three holidays are really going to be the greatest test, he said.

Kent Countys coronavirus numbers have climbed dramatically since Oct. 1, when the seven-day average was 80 cases per day.

The rate of positive cases, relative to all tests administered, is now 14.7 percent (as a seven-day average) for Kent County. In September, it was below 3 percent.

Many more people are in the hospital with COVID-19 than earlier this year.

At Spectrum Health facilities, there are 345 inpatients with COVID-19. At Metro Health, there are 62 patients and at Mercy Health St. Marys Hospital, there are 77 inpatients.

Mercy Health St. Marys was listed by state officials as one of six hospitals in Michigan that had reached 100 percent of inpatient capacity.

Leaders at Mercy Health St. Marys, later on Wednesday, said the states numbers were not entirely accurate and the hospital does still have capacity

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Matt Biersack issued the following statement:

We understand the concerns raised by the capacity numbers listed on the state of Michigan and MDHHS websites. Unfortunately, it appears that there were inconsistencies in definitions for how patients and beds were counted in this number. We have inpatient beds available, despite seeing an increasing number of hospitalized COVID patients. Although we have postponed select surgeries in order to ensure adequate staff and bed availability in the coming weeks, we remain able to provide for most care needs not related to COVID at this time.

London believes Michigans fall, as it relates to coronavirus, could have looked different.

Had we been doing the (preventative) things from the beginning, I really think we could have avoided some of the surge and and the shut down, he said.

Because of the large numbers, London thinks more people than ever will have some connection to COVID-19 by the end of the year. He hopes it helps people understand the virus threat.

He thinks some people have taken the threat in a cavalier manner.

If it hasnt hit them personally, its kind of an invisible problem somewhere else, he said.

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On Thanksgiving eve, Kent County health leaders urge against losing ground in coronavirus battle - mlive.com

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