Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Community Help Needed To Stop COVID-19 Spread
Personal action is required to minimize stress on healthcare system
As Calhoun County continues to see widespread community transmission of COVID-19, area healthcare organizations are urging the public to take action to slow the spread of the virus. Currently, local hospitals and health agencies are anticipating even more cases of COVID-19 due to an increase in household gatherings over the long holiday weekend. Healthcare leaders ask residents to take proper steps to quarantine or isolate if they suspect they were exposed to COVID-19, and/or if they test positive for the virus.

They are also counting on the community to practice safe behaviors so health systems do not become overwhelmed with patients. This includes limiting gatherings and travel to other households for the upcoming holidays. As of Wednesday, Dec. 2, 50 COVID-19 positive individuals are hospitalized in Calhoun County, and hospitals in neighboring counties report extremely high numbers as well.

“Our hospital, community, and county have seen a record number of new positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the past several weeks, and we do not anticipate this slowing down anytime soon," said Gregg Beeg, president and CEO of Oaklawn. "The current surge is stressing our county hospitals' resources. Concerns of bed capacity and staffing needs are high.”  

Kirk Richardson, Bronson Healthcare senior vice president of community care, says “We are treating more and more patients for COVID-19 at Bronson Battle Creek, and our staff wants the community to know it doesn’t have to be this way. We urge people to follow the safety guidelines to help stop this public health crisis from growing out of control, taking more lives, and exhausting the finite number of healthcare providers and resources available in our county.” 

Paula Autry, Henry Ford Allegiance Health president and CEO, also reminds community members that they play a vital role. “Doing a few simple things saves lives: stay home as much as possible, wear a mask completely covering the nose and mouth, maintain six feet of distance from those not in your household, and clean your hands frequently,” says Autry. “Protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and our community. We’re in this together.”

As soon as symptoms arise, it is important to be tested for COVID-19. Call your primary care provider, or find a test site directly by visiting and clicking "Find a Test Site" half-way down the page. Some sites require a doctor's order, but there are a few that do not.
Due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in Calhoun County, anyone who tests positive, or would be a close contact to a positive individual, should not rely on receiving a call from the Public Health Department. Since Nov. 12, 2020, the Calhoun County Public Health Department has had to prioritize which cases it can contact trace. Therefore, it is essential that when a person tests positive, they follow the recommendations in the graphic shown, and linked here.

People who receive a positive test should follow these steps:

  • Isolate for 10 days. This means stay in another room and/or keep at least six feet distance from other members of your household and stay home except if you need medical care.
  • Notify your employer that you have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Notify all your close contacts so they can quarantine for 14 days from the last date of their contact with you.
  • Contagious period starts 2 days before symptoms appear or 2 days before positive test if no symptoms.
  • Resume normal activities only when 10 days have passed since symptoms started (or test date if no symptoms), you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of medications, and your symptoms have improved. Continue to wear your face mask, practice social distancing measures, and wash your hands frequently.

In addition to preventing COVID-19, it is also critical that community members vaccinate against the flu to keep illnesses down and to not add to the number of people needing hospital care.

Remember, the health of our community depends on everyone practicing healthy habits and adhering to safety guidelines.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick within your home. Whenever possible, maintain six feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
  • Maintain six feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
  • Wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow; do not spit.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
Partners on this joint press release:
  • Bronson Healthcare
  • Calhoun County Joint Operations Center
  • Calhoun County Public Health Department
  • City of Battle Creek
  • Henry Ford Allegiance Health
  • Oaklawn Hospital

For information, contact the Public Information Officers
Lucy Blair, Calhoun County Communications Manager

Jessica Vanderkolk, City of Battle Creek Communications Manager

Victor Jovanovich, Public Health Department Communications Specialist

Media: please reply to this email for headshots of the individuals quoted in this release.