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Community updates: Thursday, Nov. 12

Kent County’s COVID-19 case growth continues upward trend; Kent District Library returning to curbside, online services only; and Grand Rapids Public Library announces Kyd Kane as city’s new Poet Laureate.
Fall in Grand Rapids.

Fall in Grand Rapids. /Kurt Johnson

Kent County’s COVID-19 case growth continues upward trend

Around 532 new COVID-19 cases per day are now being reported in Kent County, with the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) urging vigilance in the face of a months-long surge.

Since mid-August, the county’s weekly average of new cases per day has been climbing from the week before. The county’s percentage of tests coming back positive is also rising – standing now at 13.4 percent.

This week’s numbers for the county are new records, KCHD Director Dr. Adam London said Thursday in his weekly video update.

The county – and, quite frankly, most of the rest of the country – are considered to be at a very high level of community-wide transmission at this time,” London said. “The [KCHD] continues to strongly urge everyone to wear a facial covering in public places, practice social distancing, and exercise good hygiene at all times.”

Many local hospitals are also seeing record numbers of people admitted to their facilities due to COVID-19, according to the director.

The total data coming in to the KCHD has prompted it to recommend against gatherings with families not of the same household this holiday season, as Thanksgiving nears.

Indoor residential gatherings of people from multiple households should be avoided,” said London. “I know that’s a difficult recommendation to make right now with holidays around the corner, but this does include holiday gatherings and private celebrations.”

We’re seeing too many of these types of events causing clusters of illness here in the community,” he continued.

If residents do gather with non-household family for the holidays, however, London encourages them to have the fewest number of households and people present as possible. He also encourages them to follow public health recommendations such as face covering use, physical distancing, and frequent hand-washing.

The CDC has issued related guidance as the holiday season ramps up, available on its website.

Turning to a more optimistic note, the director commented on news from Pfizer that an early analysis of its vaccine candidate showed it to be over 90 percent effective.

Please know that we’re working hard here at the health department, alongside others, to plan for its arrival and its distribution,” he said. “There are lots of reasons to be optimistic, but we’ve got to get through the next few difficult months together.”

Further guidance from the KCHD on how to mitigate the virus’ spread is available on its website.


Kent District Library returning to curbside, online services only

The Kent District Library (KDL) announced Thursday that its branches will return to curbside pickup and online services only, starting Nov. 16.

The halt to in-person visits at its branches comes as a public health precaution in light of Kent County’s rising COVID-19 case growth.

The closure of several branches over the past couple of weeks has made it clear that we must take further steps in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” KDL Executive Director Lance Werner said. “The safety of people who visit the library and our staff is our utmost priority.”

Curbside pickup of library materials at all branches will be available during their normal hours. The KDL’s online services will continue 24/7, available through its website.


Grand Rapids Public Library announces Kyd Kane as city’s new Poet Laureate

Grand Rapids’ next Poet Laureate will be Ericka "Kyd Kane" Thompson, the Grand Rapids Public Library (GRPL) announced Thursday.

The Poet Laureate acts as an ambassador of poetry for the city, creating programs that encourage the writing and reading of poetry among fellow residents. It’s a three-year role, with Kyd Kane being the seventh to take it on.

Kyd Kane’s term will begin Jan. 1, 2021. She succeeds Marcel "Fable the Poet" Price.

The selection process for the city’s Poet Laureate is run by the GRPL. Its funding comes through the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation.

Kyd Kane is a “self-taught, multi-disciplined visual artist, poet, and, most importantly, beacon of peace and love,” the GRPL states on its website.

The artist was born and raised on Grand Rapids’ southeast side. Her work includes being a teaching artist with performance and education group The Diatribe, co-hosting the Creston Vibes open mic series, and more.

More details about Kyd Kane’s background are available on her artist Facebook page, as well as the GRPL’s website.


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