Calhoun County's Joint Operations Center (JOC) will release Joint Information Center (JIC) briefings via email every Monday and Friday, as well as hold a live presentation mid-day Wednesdays.
As the State of Michigan – and Calhoun County – begin the gradual process of reopening some businesses, and restarting some activities, local leaders stress the importance of staying vigilant and following the guidance that will continue to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.
Public health remains the top priority during this crisis. As of 4 p..m. on May 8, Calhoun County has 254 laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 63 total hospitalizations (cumulative), and 17 total deaths.
“We are optimistic in seeing a potential leveling of our curve of positive COVID-19 cases here in Calhoun County,” said Public Health Department Health Officer Eric Pessell. “However, it is critically important that Calhoun County neighbors continue to stay home as much as possible. For those local businesses starting up again, we urge compliance with the governor’s orders and guidance on items like PPE and sanitation.”
Calhoun County is working to slow the spread of the virus and increase testing. To move ahead in this process, we must have (and are working on):
- A sustained reduction in the infection rate
- Testing available for all who experience COVID-19 symptoms
- Our healthcare facilities able to treat all new patients without resorting to crisis standards of care
- Workplace protocols in place for those businesses beginning to reopen
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week released her full MI Safe Start Plan that will, over six phases, start to re-engage the economy across the state. The plan requires social distancing techniques, sanitation and hygiene practices, and personal protective equipment as people go back to work in industries that reopen.
Whitmer has already allowed landscaping and lawn maintenance businesses to reopen, and residential and commercial construction companies will open and begin resumed operations starting May 7, as these are outdoor, and lower-risk industries. Manufacturing can begin slowly again on Monday, May 11.
“While we are encouraged that the governor has begun easing restrictions, which will help our local economy and residents, the health and well-being of our communities are the absolute top priority,” said Battle Creek City Manager Rebecca Fleury. “We do not want this gradual reopening to give false confidence – we remain in the midst of a global pandemic.”
As businesses begin to reopen, it is critical for everyone across Calhoun County to continue following the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as we remain in an active pandemic. Doing otherwise could create a second wave of positive COVID-19 cases.
- Stay at home unless you need essential items, like groceries or medications.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Wear a mask, or other cloth face covering, whenever you are in a public place.
- Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from people outside your household, when you are outside your home.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw that in the trash and wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects, like door knobs, light switches, and desk items.
Due to the recent Executive Order that extends the Governor's Stay Home, Stay Safe initiative, government buildings will continue to be closed to the public through May 28. Slow, phased reopening will likely begin Friday, May 29, and more information will be released about access to services. Although buildings are closed, government functions continue and there may be more essential workers required to report in person to ensure the appropriate levels of services for our residents are maintained.