Kent County Health Department

Flu vaccine syringe
CDC Public Health Image Library /

In light of the Centers for Disease Controls recent declaration of a flu epidemic, local hospitals in Kent County have issued a joint news advisory. This, through the Kent County Health Department.  Until further notice, local hospitals are limiting visitation to their hospitals. 

“The goal is to limit the impact that flu has on our collective patients as a community.  So it really is to help protect the patients in all our hospitals as a collective healthcare community.”

Flu vaccine syringe
CDC Public Health Image Library /

A big reminder today from area health officials that it’s not too late to get your flu shot.  News comes from the Kent County Health Department among others as the Centers for Disease Control reports flu is now widespread throughout Michigan.

“Even though the flu shot does not always prevent the flu, it really can lessen the severity and the duration. And there’s still time to get your flu shot, if you haven’t done so.”

Kent County Seal
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.

Doctor's coat
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.”