Health leaders: COVID-19 peak weeks away in West Michigan

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — While the end of Michigan’s stay-at-home order is exactly two weeks away, health leaders in Kent County on Thursday said the peak of COVID-19 in West Michigan could likely come a couple weeks after that.

The curve in Kent County, they said, is still rising.

“The curve is likely to increase over the course of the next few weeks,” Kent County Epidemiology Supervisor Brian Hartl said. “Just the modeling has shown to this point that the expected peak for us here in West Michigan is the first or middle part of May.”

In Kent County, the number of cases has reached 385, a jump of 152 in the last week. The week before that, the number of cases in the county climbed by 108. The county reports 17 COVID-19 deaths.

The numbers also continue to rise in other West Michigan counties.

But the Kent County Health Department said the number of actual cases is likely higher because so many people with symptoms are still not being tested.

“We know there are people out there who likely are infected with COVID-19 but based upon testing criteria, we’re not picking up all those cases,” Hartl said. “So, we don’t know the whole picture. What would be ideal, what we’d prefer, is open testing just if you have symptoms.”

While the state now will test anybody with symptoms, local hospitals aren’t going that far, Hartl said.

Hartl said the health department doesn’t know how many tests have been performed in Kent County. Kent County hospitals, he said, have had the capacity to perform 500 to 600 tests a day. He expects that to increase to about 1,500 a day.

Most tests in Kent County, so far, have been done on health care workers, those in places like nursing homes and on patients in hospitals, he said.

He said local hospitals now are looking at adding another group for testing: Anybody over 65 who has symptoms.

To help track the spread, the Kent County Health Department has set up a secure online survey to track potential hot spots. It asks for your age, your symptoms and your zip code.


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