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COVID-19 in Grand Rapids: Monday, April 6 updates

Gov. Whitmer encourages Michiganders to wear face coverings, City Commission meeting to be broadcasted live for public, Meijer takes additional steps to ensure customer and employee safety, and more statements from local organizations issued April 3-6, 2020.
Kent County has 177 confirmed coronavirus cases, with five confirmed deaths, as of April 6, 2020.

Kent County has 177 confirmed coronavirus cases, with five confirmed deaths, as of April 6, 2020. /John Holkeboer

A new week brings with it a rising number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths.

As of today, April 6, 177 cases are now confirmed in Kent County, with five confirmed deaths. Statewide, 17,221 cases are confirmed, with 727 confirmed deaths. Organizations and governmental agencies at local and state levels are continuing to operate accordingly.

Shared in this Monday, April 6, update are statements relevant to local life from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the City of Grand Rapids, the Kent County Health Department, the Grand Rapids Police Department, and Meijer.


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

In a televised coronavirus briefing today, April 6, Gov. Whitmer recommended Michiganders begin wearing face coverings when leaving home to help slow the virus’ spread.

I encourage everyone to wear some sort of a face covering for those few trips that you need to leave the house,” Whitmer said. “During this time, it’s crucial that you only leave your home when absolutely necessary – like going to the grocery store or picking up a prescription.”

Whitmer’s recommendation echoes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) own on Friday, March 3 – geared to the U.S. as a whole. The face coverings are meant to prevent transmission of the virus from individuals with coronavirus who lack symptoms or will eventually develop symptoms.

Such face coverings can be homemade masks, scarves, bandanas, or handkerchiefs. For now, “supplies of N95 masks and surgical masks should generally be reserved to health-care professionals, first responders (e.g., police officers, fire fighters, paramedics), and other critical workers,” Whitmer’s Office recommended in a recent statement.

Despite the added precaution wearing face coverings gives the situation, Whitmer stressed that they do not take away from the vital importance of adhering to all other physical distancing and increased hygiene measures at this time.

Wearing a mask not does mean that you are immune and that you don’t need to observe all of the other CDC guidelines,” she continued in her morning briefing. “You still need to stay six feet away form people when you’re out in public, washing you hands, and coughing into or sneezing into the crook of your arm. It’s crucial that just wearing a mask doesn’t give you a false sense of security and you think that you can resume normal life. It’s just an added protection. Michiganders must still stay home and stay safe in order for us to slow the spread.”

Whitmer’s coronavirus briefing can be watched on her Facebook page.


City of Grand Rapids

The City of Grand Rapids announced today, April 6, that the City Commission will get an online meeting update on the City’s coronavirus response efforts during a special meeting tomorrow, April 7.

The online meeting will take place at 1pm and will be publicly broadcasted on Comcast Channel 26, Facebook, and YouTube. It also will be streamed live on the City of Grand Rapids’ Spanish-language YouTube channel.

Under Gov. Whitmer’s March 23 “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, public bodies are allowed to meet electronically to keep community members, officials, and staff safe while slowing the spread of coronavirus.

While this is an historic pandemic event that our country has not experienced in modern times, City staff have been working bravely and diligently along with our local, state, and federal partners to minimize the impact on public health, public safety, and economic wellbeing of our city,” City Manager Mark Washington said – providing a preview of the April 7 meeting.

More information about the online meeting update is available on the City’s website.


Kent County Health Department

The Kent County Health Department began accepting referred patients on Friday, April 3, at their new isolation center for individuals experiencing homelessness who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting test results.

The recently-prepared isolation center is housed in Guiding Light’s facility at 255 S. Division Ave. The facility has 24 private rooms, a bunk area, six bathrooms, and a full-service kitchen that can accommodate up to 60 individuals when fully staffed.

Our staff has done a tremendous job transitioning this facility into an isolation center,” said Dr. Adam London, Kent County Health Department Director. “They have worked tirelessly to assess the medical and operational needs to ensure individuals using this facility are well cared for during their recovery.”

The facility is accepting patients who are referred from community hospitals after testing positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting test results. Guiding Light is maintaining its rescue, recovery, and re-engagement programs at its Iron House facility.

More information about the isolation center is available on the Kent County Health Department’s website.


Grand Rapids Police Department

The Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) is urging residents to be mindful of a potential increase in crime during this time and sharing tips to stay safe.

Although criminals will not have the same opportunities with community members being at home, they will adapt to take advantage of the situation,” the GRPD shared on their Facebook page today, April 6.

The GRPD encouraged residents to lock vehicles, doors, windows, shut garages, and make sure personal belongings are brought inside after use. Keeping possessions from plain view, watching for expected packages to be delivered, and ensuring they are taken inside as soon as possible were also shared as tips.

Beyond theft, the department also gave attention to fraud.

We have and continue to see scams conforming to the latest news surrounding Coronavirus. Currently, there is NO vaccine for this virus. There is NO company that is promising a vaccine. If anyone emails, texts, or calls asking for personal information, immediately end the conversation,” the GRPD continued.

More tips from the GRPD are available on their Facebook post.



Meijer announced on Saturday, April 4, additional steps the grocery store chain is taking to ensure customers and employees are safe while in their stores.

Among these new steps are asking customers to limit the number of shoppers per trip, managing the number of customers shopping to support proper social distancing practices, and conducting daily health screenings and temperature checks of employees as they arrive at the store.

“We continue to look for additional ways to ensure the safety of our customers and team members in the face of this difficult challenge,” Meijer President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Keyes said. “By working together, we can reduce the spread of this virus and help keep our communities safe.”

More information about Meijer’s new steps is available on their website.


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