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COVID-19 positivity rates have officials watching


This week, the state moved the Grand Rapids region from a COVID-19 Medium-High risk to Medium risk after the past two weeks indicated new cases remained flat. It’s the positivity rate that health officials are watching closely.

The Kent County Health Department is recording an average increase of five deaths per week and about 40 new COVID-19 cases per day. There have been some ups and downs over the past two weeks, but overall, cases are flat. And during that same period some encouraging news; the positivity rate has declined.

“That’s the percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive.”

Dr. Adam London is Director of the Kent County Health Department.

“A couple of weeks ago we were looking at a positivity rate in the mid four percent range," said London. "Four percent is about the line at which we get concerned that a resurgence might be starting to happen and so we were very concerned a couple of weeks ago. We’ve seen that come back down. We’re now at about two-point-nine percent. So, that’s a positive development for us in Kent County.”

What’s disturbing to Dr. London is the increasing positivity rate on the eastside of the state where Macomb County reported 5.9%, Wayne County 5.4% and Saginaw County reaching 6.5%.

“It’s impossible to keep this buttoned up in one spot," says London. "So, that’s why it’s very important for all of us in West Michigan, if we’re going to see that positivity rate remain low here, we need to do the things that we can do to make it difficult for this virus to spread. You know what those things are; mask use, social distancing, hygiene. Keep doing those things and we can keep winning this battle.”

Dr. London says it’s imperative keeping the number of in-patient COVID-19 hospitalizations low.