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More West Michigan counties reporting coronavirus cases; Kent County total reaches 21

There are confirmed coronavirus cases in six West Michigan counties.
Credit: AP
A nurse holds swabs and a test tube kit to test people for COVID-19, the disease that is caused by the new coronavirus, at a drive through station set up in the parking lot of the Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Saturday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported a total of 787 COVID-19 cases across 27 counties. In West Michigan, there are now positive cases in six counties.

On Sunday, that number rose to 788 after Calhoun County 

Allegan, Barry, Berrien and Calhoun counties reported their first cases on Friday and Saturday. There are also confirmed coronavirus cases in Ottawa and Kent counties. 

ALLEGAN COUNTY: 1 case

Saturday afternoon, Allegan County health officials reporting their first case of COVID-19. The resident is an 85-year-old who has been hospitalized. 

The patient was tested on Friday, and health officials are investigating any close contacts to put them into home quarantine. 

“With this positive, we know that COVID-19 is in our community,” states Angelique Joynes, MPH, RN, Allegan County Health Officer. “The community has done a great job of applying social distancing and personal hygiene habits. Please continue to be diligent so we can slow the spread of COVID-19.”

This case is not included in the state's Saturday tally. 

BARRY COUNTY: 1 case

Barry County reported its first case Friday. Health officials said the patient is a 45-year-old man with no travel history. They are monitoring anyone who had close contact with him. 

"Barry-Eaton District Health Department is not naming public low-risk exposure locations. Residents should behave as though the virus may be present when they are in public places in the community," a news release said. 

Colette Scrimger, a Barry-Eaton District Health Officer urged the public to continue to make efforts to reduce the spread of the illness.

RELATED: Live updates: 787 total coronavirus cases; 5th death reported

CALHOUN COUNTY: 2 cases

Calhoun County reported its first two cases within two days of each other. Saturday, March 21 the county said their first case was confirmed by the state lab. On Sunday, March 22 the county announced its second case. 

The first case is an adult Calhoun County resident who only had a recent travel history within southwest Michigan, according to the Calhoun County Public Health Department. The patient is in self-isolation in their home and is in stable condition, according to public health officials. 

“At this time, I advise the public to continue seeking their information from reputable and trusted sources,” said Calhoun County Health Officer Eric Pessell, referring people to the county website, the CDC or Michigan.gov

"I urge our community to remember that knowledge can help us remain prepared and level-headed as we continue to navigate this ongoing and ever-changing situation," said Pessell.

The patient who was confirmed with the virus on Sunday is at Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo. 

Have more questions about COVID-19? Check out the state's website.

BERRIEN COUNTY: 2 cases

Saturday, Berrien County reported its first two cases of the coronavirus. Both patients are women under 60 years old. They have been self-isolating for several days and are in good condition, according to the Berrien County Health Department and Spectrum Health Lakeland.  

Health officials say the two women had close contact with a Christian singer, Sandi Patty, at her concert on March 8. Patty has tested positive for the virus. Berrien County Health officials are asking anyone who came in close contact with Patty to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms.  

 Nicki Britten, Berrien County Health Department health officer, said they have been preparing for the spread of COVID-19 for weeks. 

"We are not yet seeing widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in Berrien County, although we anticipate this to change," said Britten. "Everyone has a role to play in helping us prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as other viruses that can cause respiratory illness. It is very important that our residents remain committed to individual prevention efforts, staying updated on the situation with information from credible sources, and prepare for an ongoing response to this virus in the community." 

RELATED: Officials looking to increase Michigan's supply of 1,000 ventilators as COVID-19 spreads

KENT COUNTY: 21 cases

Kent County continues to report the most cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, with nine new cases on Saturday. The total has reached 21; health officials have not yet released additional information about the new cases. 

The county also reported its first death Saturday night. A 71-year-old man who had tested positive for COVID-19 died at a Spectrum Health hospital. 

Dr. Adam London with the Kent County Health Department said in his Friday update that testing supplies are scarce. 

"Right now our hospitals are really overwhelmed with people wanting tests, and it just is not possible for everyone who wants a test to get tested," he said. "At this point, most of our hospitals are testing people who are sick enough to be admitted." 

OTTAWA COUNTY: 2 cases

Friday, Ottawa County health officials said a second person has tested positive for coronavirus. They said the area resident is an adult woman, and they provided no further details. 

"Based upon the increase in COVID-19 cases statewide, people should act as though the virus may be present when they are in public places and should, therefore, be taking all recommended prevention measures," said Dr. Paul Heidel, OCDPH medical director.  

The first case in Ottawa County was reported last weekend. Health officials said the patient and no previous travel history, which indicates she was exposed through community spread. The health department has since identified more than 50 contacts of the patient, who have all been asked to quarantine. 

STATE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COVID-19

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:   

  • Fever   
  • Cough   
  • Shortness of breath   

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:   

  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.     
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.     
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.     
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.     
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.    
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.  

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