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COVID-19 in Grand Rapids: Friday, May 15 updates

Kent County coalition launches back-to-work resource website, Michigan's COVID-19 Hotline now offering free emotional support counseling, and more statements issued May 14-15.
Division Ave. N in Grand Rapids, MI.

Division Ave. N in Grand Rapids, MI. /Richard Deming

Kent County enters the weekend with its coronavirus numbers at 2,705 cases, 53 deaths, and 1,141 recoveries. Statewide numbers are at 50,079 cases and 4,825 deaths. These numbers are reported as of May 15, with the state’s recovery number still at 22,686 as of May 8.

Shared in this May 15 update are continued coronavirus developments impacting West Michaganders from Kent County Back to Work, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Grand Rapids Downtown Market, and Meijer.


Kent County coalition launches Kent County Back to Work resource website

With the gradual reopening of many Kent County businesses expected over the coming weeks and months, the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) and partnering business, community, and governmental organizations have launched a website to help employers prepare for when their times come., the join effort’s result, offers safety guidelines, best practices, and a health screening program for reopening businesses in the county. Among its detailed guidelines and best practices are employee and customer protection, cleaning and disinfecting, personal protective equipment, and making face coverings.

We want to give you information and ideas that you can use in your place of business to make it as safe as possible,” KCHD's Director, Dr. Adam London, said of the website. “You know the flow of operations, you know your architecture, you know your employees, so we’re going to give you ideas on things that you can use to make that place of work as safe as possible.”

The organizations that collaborated with the KCHD on the website are the MSU College of Human Medicine, Spectrum Health, City of Grand Rapids, and Meijer.

Residents with questions about the guidelines and best practices shared on the website may call the KCHD at 616-326-0606 or email [email protected].


Michigan COVID-19 Hotline offering free emotional support counseling

Michigan’s COVID-19 Hotline is now offering free, confidential emotional support counseling, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced May 15.

Residents calling the hotline can press “8” during the hotline’s leading prompt to speak with a Michigan Stay Well counselor. The counselors, though not licensed professionals, have received specialized training from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s Disaster Technical Assistance Center on how to provide emotional support to residents of federally declared disaster areas.

Said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon: “Because of COVID-19, many of us are grappling with strong emotions, including anxiety, depression, and fear. We want Michiganders to know it is okay to have these feelings – and okay to ask for help. You don’t have to carry this burden alone.”

Michigan Stay Well counselors are available 24/7 by calling the COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136. The hours for general questions are 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday. Language translation is also available for non-English speakers.

A list of free mental and emotional health support offered by the state and its partners is available at


Grand Rapids Downtown Market launches Feed the Family | Feed the Frontline donation program

The Grand Rapids Downtown Market (GRDM) launched its Feed the Family | Feed the Frontline donation program May 15, which aims to provide meals for in-need local families and frontline workers, while supporting the small businesses located in the market.

Separate donation tiers are listed on the GRDM’s website for the local families and frontline workers the donations will go to. For local families in need, $60 feeds one family of four, $90, one family of six, and $180, three families of four. For frontline workers, $15 feeds one worker, $75, five workers, and $150, 10 frontline workers.

Your donation supports our local economy by keeping market merchants going and workers employed,” the GRDM said on its website.


Meijer extending its shopping hours

Meijer is extending its shopping hours to 6am and midnight, effective May 15. Dedicated hours for senior citizens, customers with chronic health conditions, frontline workers, and its employees have also been extended.

The extended hours follows the chain’s reduction of hours on March 20 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Operating 24 hours prior to the pandemic, Meijer reduced its hours then to 7am and 10pm most days.

These extended hours will best serve all our customers and provide more flexibility to shop Meijer stores,” said Rick Keyes, Meijer President and Chief Executive Officer. “As communities begin to re-open, it’s more important than ever that we find new ways to adjust and reshape how our customers shop for products they need while keeping their families safe.”

Meijer’s dedicated shopping times for senior citizens and customers with chronic health conditions are now Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8am local time. Dedicated shopping times for frontline workers and Meijer employees are now Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-8am. Pharmacies will continue opening at 7am for the days with dedicated shopping times.

More details about Meijer’s extended hours are available in a statement on its website.


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