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Community updates: Wednesday, July 22

Kent County Health Department reports slight decline in Kent County’s COVID-19 case growth; City of Grand Rapids details more police reform efforts; and Girls Rock! Grand Rapids goes virtual for August summer camp.
Roosevelt Park's splash pad, on Grand Rapids' southwest side.

Roosevelt Park's splash pad, on Grand Rapids' southwest side. /City of Grand Rapids

Kent County Health Department reports slight decline in Kent County’s COVID-19 case growth

Kent County’s rate of new COVID-19 cases has decreased slightly over the last week, the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) reported on Wednesday. The decrease comes after weeks of the county’s case growth experiencing a resurgence.

In the KCHD’s weekly video update, KCHD Director Dr. Adam London said that Kent County’s now seeing an average of 42 new cases per day. Last week, the county averaged 60 new cases per day, which was twice as much as mid-June.

We’re also seeing the positivity rate – that’s the percentage of these tests that come back positive – has come back down a little bit,” said London. “Last week we were at about 4%. This week we’re seeing about 3%.”

The director noted that the decreases are encouraging signs for Kent County. Most encouraging to him, however, is that the county’s case mortality rate continues to stay very low. The case mortality rate in Kent County is currently 2.5%, while most of Michigan is currently at 8%.

Great work to all of you, and to our health care providers, who are doing so much to keep the rate of mortality very low here in Kent County,” London said.

There are presently 145 COVID-related deaths confirmed in Kent County, with 5,911 positive cases.

The KCHD offers free COVID-19 testing at various locations throughout Grand Rapids, with information about registering for a test available on its website.


City of Grand Rapids details more police reform efforts

The City of Grand RapidsOffice of Oversight and Public Accountability (OPA) gave an update on its police reform efforts on Tuesday, which included progress in developing its strategic plan, an upcoming Processing Trauma event, and an upcoming website focused on reimagining policing in Grand Rapids.

During a Tuesday City Commission meeting, OPA Director Brandon Davis outlined the office’s draft strategic plan, which community members will be able to provide feedback on. The priorities within the OPA’s plan, dubbed “C.A.R.E.+,” are:

  • Change: The OPA will help improve public safety policies and operations through innovation and collaboration.
  • Accountability: The OPA will help improve individual, supervisory, and organizational accountability for public safety activities through civilian oversight of all public safety operations.
  • Restorative justice: The OPA will help reduce barriers to trust that have been created by systemic inequities in the criminal justice system, or that cause disparate outcomes.
  • Engagement and empowerment: The OPA will help enhance communication and education with the public regarding public safety matters.

The community will be able to provide feedback on the OPA’s strategic priorities starting July 29, on the OPA’s website.

To help community members process and heal from trauma related to racism and use of force, the OPA's hosting an online Processing Trauma event on August 12 on its Facebook page. Four local mental health professionals will join OPA Director Davis and the Office of Equity and Engagement’s Director, Stacy Stout, to discuss related topics and answer community questions.

The OPA’s new website focused on reimagining Grand Rapids policing will launch next month and “increase transparency by providing easy access to information regarding the City’s police reform efforts,” according to a City of Grand Rapids statement. Visitors to the site will be able to review budgets, memos, presentations, and other information, as well as provide feedback.

More details about the OPA’s police reform efforts are available in its full update available on the City of Grand Rapids’ website.


Girls Rock! Grand Rapids goes virtual for August summer camp

Girls Rock! Grand Rapids (GR!GR), a week-long summer camp empowering girls, women, and non-binary residents through music, is going virtual this year in light of the pandemic.

A program of Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities (GAAH), the camp has taken place at Cook Arts Center every August since 2013. This year, it will be held via Zoom,, and “unplugged workshop kits” from August 10 to 14.

“Nothing can stop us! We are going remote!” GAAH said in an online application form for this year’s camp.

Each year, GR!GR campers get to participate in instrument lessons, workshops, band forming, songwriting, and logo and album art creation. They also get to enjoy performances by other women musicians from around the Grand Rapids area.

Eligible ages for participating in GR!GR are 8 to 18 years old. Two online applications are available – one for elementary and middle school girls, non-binary, and trans youth who are at least 8 years old, and one for high school girls, non-binary, and trans youth who will be in 9th to 12th grade in fall 2020.

First priority for 2020’s camper spots will be going to youth living in the Roosevelt Park and Black Hills neighborhoods.

More details about GR!GR are available on its website.


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