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Community Updates: Friday, July 15

Kent County Health Department confirms presence of monkeypox and West Nile viruses in West Michigan; interactive water quality monitoring station established on Sixth Street Bridge; and more
The flags of the USA, State of Michigan, and City of Grand Rapids flying in front of the Bridgewater Place building

The flags of the USA, State of Michigan, and City of Grand Rapids flying in front of the Bridgewater Place building /David Guthrie

Kent County Health Department Confirms Presence of Monkeypox and West Nile Viruses in West Michigan

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) announced on Monday that a potential case of monkeypox (MPV) was reported in Kent County by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). It is the first case in the county, as well as the first case in West Michigan. According to the press release, the individual is in quarantine and "does not pose a risk to the public." 

As of Thursday, July 14, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) had counted ten cases of monkeypox within the state of Michigan -- the first of which was discovered in Oakland County in late June of this year. In an MDHHS statement from June 29, Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian encouraged Michiganders to know how MPV spreads, but to also keep in mind that, at this time, the danger is minimal:

"MDHHS works closely with local health departments and providers across the state to protect the health of Michigan residents through rapid detection and response. Monkeypox is a viral illness that spreads primarily through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, bodily fluids or prolonged face-to-face contact. It is important to remember that the risk to the general public is low. However, Michiganders with concerns about monkeypox should see their provider to be evaluated for testing."

In addition to this, the KCHD has also confirmed the presence of West Nile virus (WNV) in a collection of mosquitoes caught by its Mosquito Surveillance Team in Kent County -- the "first known finding of WNV in Michigan this year." So far in 2022, Kent County has not reported any cases of West Nile virus in humans, but public health officials are encouraging residents to take preventative measures. Public Health Epidemiologist Paul Bellamy (KCHD) had this to say in Tuesday's press release:

"This discovery is important because it lets us know that this season's mosquitoes are now carrying the virus and it could spread to humans. It is important for people to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites as much as possible."


Interactive Water Quality Monitoring Station Established on Sixth Street Bridge

The City of Grand Rapids has established an interactive water quality monitoring station along the Sixth Street Bridge. This project was completed in association with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), who will be using the site to measure various aspects of the Grand River -- including things like turbidity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen content. The City of Grand Rapids hopes that this station will benefit the community by increasing awareness for the river and the vibrancy it brings to the city. Individuals walking along the bridge can also scan a QR code and get access to this water quality information in real-time. 

For more information about the station, visit the City of Grand Rapids' website here.


Also in the News:

  • Kent County Prosecutor Christopher Becker announced on Tuesday that the preliminary exam in the People v. Christopher Schurr case is being postponed until August 30, 2022. 


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