The Rapidian Home

COVID-19 in Grand Rapids: Monday, May 11 updates

Kent County Health Department urges awareness of coronavirus resurgence risk amid gradual reopenings, Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing to fly aircraft over Grand Rapids as part of May 12 flyover saluting Michigan frontline workers, and more statements issued May 9-11.
Spectrum Health hospital shares a thank you message to healthcare workers along its skywalk in Grand Rapids, MI.

Spectrum Health hospital shares a thank you message to healthcare workers along its skywalk in Grand Rapids, MI. /B. L. Townsend

Kent County begins the week with 2,332 confirmed coronavirus cases and a related 43 deaths and 887 recoveries. Statewide, there are 47,552 cases, 4,484 deaths, and 22,686 recoveries confirmed. These numbers are as of May 11, except the state’s recovery number, which is of May 8.

Shared in this May 11 update are continued area developments related to coronavirus from the Kent County Health Department, the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.


Kent County Health Department urges awareness of coronavirus resurgence risk amid gradual reopenings

As the Kent County area slowly begins to reopen economic and social life amid continued coronavirus case growth flattening, the Kent County Health Department’s (KCHD) Director, Dr. Adam London, encouraged residents to be mindful of a resurgence in cases and help reduce the risk as much as possible.

We know that as the stay-at-home order expires, as people re-enter the workplace, as society comes out of the home and starts to re-engage in a closer way, that puts us at some risk of a resurgence in cases and our numbers may not stay flat,” London said in the KCHD’s May 11 video update.

Our goal is to keep our numbers as flat as possible, while also reopening the economy and getting people back into the community. So it's very important that, as we do that, we're smart about it and we're doing things to reduce our risk as much as possible.”

To help county residents reduce the risk of a resurgence in cases, London announced the KCHD will be unveiling a new website May 12, “Kent County Back to Work Safely,” which will offer resources for employers to reopen their businesses in as low-risk a way as possible. Among the resources will be how to conduct employee health screenings and how to find no-touch thermometers for the screenings.

The resource website London spoke of will be available on and is a collaboration between the KCHD, Kent County leadership, and community partners such as Michigan State University.


Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing to fly aircraft over Grand Rapids as part of "Michigan Strong Flyover" saluting frontline workers

The 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard will be conducting flyovers over Grand Rapids and seven other Michigan cities on May 12 in support of Michigan’s frontline workers.

Dubbed the “Michigan Strong Flyover,” A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from the 127th Wing will fly over Grand Rapids around 3:08pm, coming from the north. A map posted on the 127th Wing’s Facebook page detailed the flyover schedule.

“The men and women of the Michigan National Guard salute and thank all the healthcare workers, first responders, military members, and essential personnel on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 with a multi-city flyover throughout the state of Michigan,” the 127th Wing shared in a Facebook photo.

The A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft will takeoff from the Grayling Army Airfield in Grayling, MI at 2:40pm and land at the Selfridge National Guard Air Base in Harrison Township, MI around 3:47pm. The times are dependent on weather and operational requirements, and the number of aircraft participating is undisclosed.

The 127th Wing’s KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft will also be conducting a flyover May 12, which will takeoff and land at the Grayling base, without flying over the West Michigan area. This flyover will head northwest toward Houghton, MI in the Upper Peninsula and back. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will also be conducting a Michigan flyover May 12, over Detroit only, as part of the “America Strong” flyovers.

The 127th Wing is encouraging Michiganders to share photos of the flyovers and submit them through its Facebook page’s private messenger for a chance to win squadron patches and a signed photograph. After all submissions are turned in, it will choose a winner and create an album sharing residents' photos.


Friends of Grand Rapids Parks organizes neighborhood cleaning event with physical distancing in mind

With several of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks’ (FGRP) health and safety volunteer events postponed over the last several weeks because of coronavirus mitigation, FGRP has organized a new event on May 16, aiming to get residents outdoors and helping clean up the neighborhood.

“Today we challenge our friends to spend at least 15 minutes outside, picking up litter and debris,” FGRP said in the Facebook Event page for the event. “Walk through your local park or maybe just your neighborhood! Every bit helps to beautify our city.”

FGRP is encouraging residents to follow physical distancing guidelines while participating, look at what they can do alone or as a family, and post participation photos with the hashtag #CleanUpGR to be able to win FGRP swag awards.


Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity spotlights Michigan jobs with immediate hire need on COVID-19 Jobs Portal

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (MDLEO) has updated its COVID-19 Jobs Portal, it announced May 11.

The portal, listing over 6,000 jobs Michigan employers are seeking hire for during the pandemic, now spotlights thousands of jobs that are in immediate need. The portal is available at

The MDLEO’s Michigan Talent website as a whole lists over 49,000 available jobs in Michigan right now. Over 5,000 of these jobs are healthcare-related.


Sharing your stories

The Rapidian will continue to report on all major local developments related to the spread of COVID-19 and the community's prevention and response methods. Local residents are encouraged at this time to share their own stories and perspectives related to the COVID-19 situation on The Rapidian's platform.

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.