The Rapidian

COVID-19 in Grand Rapids: Wednesday, May 13 updates

City of Grand Rapids shares update on pandemic response and recovery efforts, Michigan health departments begin contact tracing phone calls to exposed residents, and Opera Grand Rapids launches Education in Place web series amid continued public closures.
Freight train traveling west across the Grand River in Grand Rapids, MI.

Freight train traveling west across the Grand River in Grand Rapids, MI. /John Rothwell

As of May 13, Kent County’s coronavirus numbers stand at 2,446 cases, 47 deaths, and 1,208 recoveries. Statewide, the numbers are 48,391 cases and 4,714 deaths. 22,686 statewide recoveries were last reported May 8.

Shared in this May 13 update are continued coronavirus responses relevant to local life from the City of Grand Rapids, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Opera Grand Rapids.

 

City of Grand Rapids shares update on pandemic response and recovery efforts

City Manager Mark Washington shared an update on the City of Grand Rapids’ coronavirus response and recovery efforts May 13. Included were the extension of City building closures, two service reopenings, and the formation of an Outdoor Space Activation Working Group to support local hospitality business recovery.

The closure of City buildings to walk-in traffic has been extended through May 28 to align with Gov. Whitmer’s extension of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through the same date. City buildings include City Hall, the City Clerk’s office, and the Grand Rapids Police Department headquarters. Building staff are still available electronically.

The reopenings Washington detailed are building inspection services and the use of carts at Indian Trails Golf Course.

Washington’s announced working group, the Outdoor Space Activation Work Group (OSAWG), has been formed to help local hospitality, food, and beverage businesses dramatically increase their available outdoor space. The support comes in preparation of these businesses’ eventual reopening of dine-in services and the physical distancing measures that will be needed. More information about the OSAWG will be announced on May 14.

More details about the City’s coronavirus response and recovery update is available in a statement on its website.

 

Michigan health departments begin contact tracing phone calls to exposed residents

If Michiganders get a call from “MI COVID HELP” or their local health department, they should answer it, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) said. The MDHHS and local health departments are now calling those who’ve been exposed to coronavirus.

“To break the chain of infection and continue to slow the spread, we’re calling anyone who has been exposed to coronavirus,” the MDHHS said on its website. “The process is called contact tracing and it has been used to control diseases for decades. But you have to answer the phone for it to work. If you get a call from MI COVID HELP or your local health department, please answer.”

In contact tracing, public health staff help patients with a suspected or confirmed infection recall everyone they’ve had close contact with during the timeframe they may have been infectious. Public health staff then warn exposed contacts of their potential exposure as quickly as possible. To protect patient privacy, exposed contacts are not told the identity of the patient who may have exposed them.

The MDHHS shared an infographic on its Facebook page May 13, breaking down its contact tracing process.

More information about Michigan’s contract tracing efforts is available at Michigan.gov/ContainCOVID.

 

Opera Grand Rapids launches Education in Place web series amid continued public closures

Opera Grand Rapids (OGR) will launch a three-episode online music education series on May 14, OGR announced. The series, Education in Place, will broadcast from its Facebook page in light of continued public closures due to the pandemic.

“Each episode will be curated for a specific age group: preschool, middle school, and high school and above,” OGR said. They will be led by Grand Rapids singer and voice teacher, Rachel Mills.

Episodes will be released on Thursdays for the next three weeks: May 14, 21, and 28. While no release times were announced for the episodes, they may follow the release times of OGR’s previous online series, Singing-in-Place, all at 10am.

OGR’s six-episode Singing-in-Place series launched on April 2 and ended May 7. It featured weekly short recitals from the homes of emerging artists.

More information about OGR’s Education in Place series is available on its website.

 

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