The Rapidian Home

Community updates: Thursday, Aug. 20

Kent County’s COVID-19 case growth continues downward trend; City of Grand Rapids shares more details about month-long "The Bridge GR" event happening this fall; and The Rapid transitions to fall service schedule on August 31.
Underwriting support from:
Dr. Adam London, Kent County Health Department's Director, provides a Wednesday update on COVID-19 in Kent County.

Dr. Adam London, Kent County Health Department's Director, provides a Wednesday update on COVID-19 in Kent County. /Kent County Health Department

Kent County’s COVID-19 case growth continues downward trend

About 32 new COVID-19 cases per day are now being reported in Kent County, a weekly average that continues the county's downward case trend over the last two weeks.

In the Kent County Heath Department's (KCHD) weekly video update, KCHD Director Dr. Adam London shared a few positive signs in the county's fight against the virus, which included the new daily average.

Another positive sign shared was a new test positivity rate – the percentage of tests coming back positive – of 1.7 percent. Last week, the KCHD reported a rate of 2.2 percent in the county.

The other positive sign was that only three COVID-related deaths have been reported so far in August in Kent County.

"The pace of our deaths has slowed down dramatically here in August," said London. "That's the best news of all."

Most of the county's COVID-related deaths happened in June and in July. In total, there's been 154 such deaths in Kent County.

"That's largely because our health care providers are learning very powerful lessons from other areas, we're getting new tools, and we're seeing that our health care systems are not overrun," London said. "That's one of the most important factors in keeping our death numbers as low as possible."

Despite warranted optimism, London cautions residents againt letting their guards down against the virus through relaxed physical distancing measures. He references the southeast side of Michigan, where test positivity rates continue to stay much higher, ranging between 4 and 7 percent. Last week, the director mentioned this has the potential to influence the rest of the state's situation with COVID-19.

"We know that there are more variables – there are more cases to come," London continued. "Certainly as school restarts, as the weather cools down again. These are factors that are likely to make it a higher risk and easier for this virus to spread once again."

"We need to be careful. We need to continue being smart and making it difficult for this virus to spread."

The KCHD offers free COVID-19 testing at various locations throughout Grand Rapids, with information about registering for a test available on its website.


City of Grand Rapids shares more details about month-long "The Bridge GR" event happening this fall

The Bridge GR, a month-long celebration of art, music, culture, and inclusive community in Grand Rapids, will kick off on August 28, the City of Grand Rapids announced this week.

Organized as an alternative to the now-canceled ArtPrize 2020, the event will last through October 3.

More than 30 events will take place downtown and throughout the city as part of Bridge GR, "hosted by a diverse range of community groups, businesses, neighborhood associations, and other organizations," the City said in a Thursday statement.

Events will focus on art, community, culture, and music, and showcase local artists while providing them a platform to sell their work. Performers and vendors include painters, sculptors, musicians, dancers, chefs, and cultural groups. Participants are also encouraged to take part in community conversations around social justice and equity.

This exciting community celebration serves to bridge the gap between our current reality and our brighter future,” said City Manager Mark Washington. “Many in our community are suffering because of the pandemic, and our national conversation has been weighted with important issues of racial and economic justice."

"By giving our community this platform, we hope not only to celebrate who we are, but to build conversations that promote resiliency, healing, shared understanding, and progress in Grand Rapids.”

All Bridge GR events will adhere to Michigan's current health and safety guidelines, which include events being limited to 100 attendees, six-feet distancing between people not of the same household, and encouragement of face covering use, even though all events are outdoors.

Developing the event are the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Experience Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Chamber, and others. $50,000 has been allocated by the City for the event, with the funds originally planned for ArtPrize 2020.

More details about the fall event are available on Experience Grand Rapids' website.


The Rapid transitions to fall service schedule on August 31

The Rapid transit service is transitioning to its fall service schedule on August 31, it announced Monday.

Among changes are several routes returning to a 30-minute frequency, after having run every 15 minutes through the summer. The affected routes are: 1, 3, 12-14, 18, and 24.

Route 50 will be be replaced by the Laker Line a week earlier on August 24. The Laker Line is a new 60-foot-long high-frequency bus connecting Grand Valley State University in Allendale to the Michigan St. Medical Mile in Grand Rapids.

A full list of The Rapids' service schedule changes are available on its website.


Sharing your stories

The Rapidian encourages local residents to share their own stories related to civic, economic, and public health developments in the Grand Rapids area on The Rapidian’s platform. To get started as a community reporter, visit

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.