Kent County Health Department

Kent County

Tomorrow is World Aids Day and the Kent County Health department is still offering free walk-in testing for HIV.  More than a million people in the U.S. are living with HIV according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The testing takes place at the Main Clinic on Fuller and is confidential.

Premiums will rise an average of 27 percent for the hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents who buy their own health insurance. Consumers eligible for income-based tax credits will be protected from the increasing premiums. The state Department of Insurance and Financial Services published the rates Wednesday. Enrollment for 2018 begins in a week. 

Michigan and Kent County Health officials held a town hall Tuesday evening to address public concerns after contaminants were discovered in Plainfield Township drinking water. Joining the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, officials from the Kent County Health Department as well as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services answered questions from the public, many of  whom demanded answers from officials about what they may know. 

The West Nile Virus has made its way to West Michigan. According to a press release by the Kent County Health Department, the discovery of the West Nile Virus in Grand Rapids is not a human case, but rather, came from a massive mosquito surveillance project conducted by the environmental health division. The positive sample was found in a pool of tested mosquitos collected from Grand Rapids’ 49507 zip code. 

The Kent County Health Department is offering clients who use their WIC (wick) program $25 worth of free fresh fruits and vegetables from area farmers markets as part of “Project Fresh.”

“Project Fresh is our farmers market program for WIC participants," Abby Bishop, the WIC program supervior for the Kent County Health Department said. "They are eligible for a $25 coupon booklet that they can use at the local farmers markets to purchase fresh Michigan grown produce." 

Mosquito bite
CDC Public Health Image Library (PHIL) via Wikimedia | Public Domain /

Two Kent County residents have tested positive for West Nile virus. 

The Kent County Health Department says the two adults are unrelated, and it’s not clear where they contracted the disease.

Steve Kelso with the KCHD says West Nile is spread primarily through infected mosquitoes and is not contagious in human-to-human contact.

Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 /

Health officials are looking into recent illness linked to a local high school program. 

The Kent County Health Department says it’s investigating a likely outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis in people connected to Rockford High School varsity football.

Officials confirmed a second case on Friday and say about 30 people have reported similar symptoms.

Cryptosporidiosis is a contagious, parasitic infection that can be spread in a variety of ways but most commonly through water.

Good news today for Network 180.  It’s received one million dollars ($1 M) in funding from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.  Network 180 serves Kent County addressing the needs of residents with a developmental disability, substance use disorder, or mental illness.  Officials say this grant is very significant for the agency. 

“One the national level, everyone is trying to do healthcare better.  And this is a model that is working.”

fresh food, fruits and vegetables
USDA via Wikimedia | Public domain image /

Project Fresh, a program at Kent County’s Health Department, is working to provide Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables to some of its clients.

"Eating healthy can be expensive, and it’s hard sometimes to get fresh fruits and vegetables."

Abbey Bishop is the department’s WIC supervisor.

She says they’re providing clients of the special supplemental nutrition program (SNAP) the opportunity to get fresh fruits and vegetables from area farmers markets.

She says programs like this are very important.

Kent County

The Kent County Health Department is once again setting traps for area mosquitoes in an effort to find out about the West Nile Virus.  Health officials report on their latest effort to protect residents from what can be a deadly disease. 

“Last year for the first time in Kent County since we’ve been doing the surveillance, we found no human case… so maybe some of these efforts are starting to pay off.”