Health Dept encourages using COVID alert app
December 17, 2020 – It has been a month since the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) launched the new MI COVID Alert app and they announced today that there have already been nearly 500,000 downloads. The success of this app depends on all Michiganders utilizing it, and District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) is encouraging everyone in our ten-county jurisdiction to download and utilize the app to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
MI COVID Alert is a free, easy to use, anonymous mobile app that provides fast alerts to let you know whether you may have been exposed to COVID-19. It works like this:
No personally identifiable information is collected and shared with other users.
MI COVID Alert CAN:
“We are excited to have this technology at our fingertips to assist with potential exposure notification,” stated Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for DHD#10. “While it does not replace contact tracing or following all necessary prevention strategies, it is an additional tool to notify individuals quickly if they have been exposed to COVID-19.”
The more people who use the app, the more effective it will be in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It is still important to remember:
If you receive an alert that you may have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, get tested and consider quarantining. There are easy testing options, including no-cost testing.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that typically appears in early childhood and can impact a person's social skills, communication skills, relationships and self regulation. It is a spectrum condition and affects people differently and to varying degrees. Research shows that early intervention can lead to positive outcomes later in life.
Did you know?
* Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability.
* The prevalence of autism in the U.S. is 1-54 births. (CDC 2020)
*It has increased by 119% from 2010 to 2011.
*Boys are 4.5 times more likely to have autism.
Newaygo County statistics
*14.6% of special education students in Newaygo County have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).The state average is 10.7%
*Newaygo County Community Mental Health serves 73 persons ages 0-adult.
What services and supports are available in Newaygo County?
*Newaygo County public schools and NCRESA (Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency) provide educational supports.
*Newaygo County CMH provides diagnostic testing and Applied Behavioral Analysis services for children up to the age of 21. They also provide case management, therapy, psychiatric services, Community Living Supports, Respite and other mental health services to both children and adults with autism.
* The Newaygo County Autism Community is a nonprofit organization made up of family members and professionals who promote awareness and raise funds with a yearly walk, provide educational workshops, sponsor autism friendly events such as a monthly family swim time at Tamarac and offer grant opportunities for individuals and families living with autism. Donations are always appreciated and may be sent to: P.O. Box 26 Fremont, MI 49421
Newaygo County Autism Community Facebook page
Autism Speaks: autismspeaks.org
Autism Society of America: autism-society.org
The Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Newaygo County have selected Samantha Perysian to lead the affiliate organization.
“Samantha comes to us with a wealth of experience and knowledge in working with nonprofits. She has a long history of commitment to our Newaygo County community. We look forward to her leadership, vision, and community focus. We are very excited to introduce Samantha to Newaygo County and Habitat for Humanity of Newaygo County”, says Stephanie Gustman, President of the Board.
Perysian brings nonprofit leadership experience from both sides of the nonprofit sector – the doing and the giving. As a director of afterschool and mentoring programs, Samantha developed high-quality programming along with writing and receiving grants to sustain the programs. Diving deeper into the world of philanthropy, Perysian reviewed community nonprofit grants and made recommendations for funding. Rounding out her ability to lead HFH of Newaygo County into a brighter chapter, she brings human resources and organizational development expertise.
“The opportunity to work for Habitat is a little bit of a pinch-me feeling. During my AmeriCorps*NCCC service project, my first assignment was with Habitat for Humanity of New Orleans. I fell in love with service, nonprofits who do good work, and seeing what true impact looks like with that experience.” Perysian says, “Housing in our area isn’t affordably available. Stable housing can have a tremendous effect on one’s employment, health, and ability to contribute to our community. HFH will work diligently to create homes for those that need one in Newaygo County.”
Ms. Perysian will start her role of Executive Director on January 4, 2021.
DHD#10 asking for help from those undergoing testing
From our friends at DHD#10
December 4, 2020 - In the span of seven days from Thanksgiving through Wednesday December 2, District Health Department #10 reported a total of 1,019 COVID-19 cases in our ten- county jurisdiction. As we continue to witness a rapid increase in the number of new daily cases, there continues to be a strain on the resources to respond timely. The capacity of the public health system to keep up with case investigation and contact tracing shifted last month to address the highest priority populations for case investigation. Priority is being given to school aged children, residents and employees of long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools, large group settings, other higher-risk situations, and the elderly.
“We recognize that we also must meet the needs of those that fall outside the priority populations,” states Kevin Hughes, Health Officer. In order to both gather and share important health information as quickly as possible, DHD#10 has adopted a new online survey to conduct case investigations with individuals that receive positive COVID-19 test results and fall outside the current priority populations. “This is another tool to support our public health response in order to initiate isolation and quarantine as soon as possible because any delay to this process can result in unnecessary spread” explains Hughes.
Starting today, DHD#10 will be uploading new COVID-19 cases into our electronic survey system which will then send a text message to the individual. The survey only asks for information that is allowable under the Public Health Code and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Privacy Act, such as demographics, symptoms, occupation, attendance at public events or gatherings, and people with whom they may have been in close contact. The survey does not gather any private information like social security numbers, personal passwords, or banking details.
Individuals between the ages of 23 to 64 years will receive an electronic message asking them to fill out a confidential survey. Individuals aged 22 and under and those 65 years and older will continue to receive a phone call from the health department to complete case investigation. DHD#10 urges residents to participate in the notification survey. Once the survey is complete, a link is provided where the participant can go to review COVID-19 education resources on isolation and quarantine as found at: http://www.dhd10.org/covid-19-now-what/
DHD#10 is working very hard to reach out to individuals as quickly as possible, but we do not want you to wait to be contacted prior to taking action. DHD#10 is asking the public for patience and to follow these guidelines:
If you were notified that you tested positive for COVID-19:
If you were notified that you were a close contact to a positive case:
“Cases of COVID-19 are higher than they have been at any point in this pandemic and continue to increase at alarming rates. We urge everyone to be empowered and choose to do the right thing by following isolation orders if positive, follow them if you’re seeking testing due to symptoms, and quarantine if you’re identified as a close contact,” stated Dr. Jennifer Morse, Medical Director for DHD#10. “Now is the time for all of us to take personal responsibility for ourselves, our families, our friends, and our communities to slow the spread of this virus.”
For more information on COVID-19, go to www.dhd10.org/coronavirus . You can also send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We received the following announcement from our friends at the iconic Croton eatery that has been limited to take out since the onset of the pandemic in March.
While in a bit of mourning at the interruption of what has become an N3 World Headquarters Saturday night ritual of digging into one of their exquisite pies... kudos to them for taking the necessary steps to ensure safety.
From our perspective, this is what responsible business leadership looks like.
It is with a heavy heart that I write to you this morning. We have been informed that one of our Saturday Pizza staff has been tested positive for COVID-19. This person is asymptomatic and thankfully is not feeling ill in the slightest currently. We have been informed by health authorities that we must quarantine as of the date of testing and until we are in the clear and the recommended number of days have passed. Our customers’ and community safety are of the utmost concern to us as without the support of both, we would not be here today.
In the interest of reopening as quickly and safely as possible, we are stopping all operations at the Café for the next several days. At this time, the immediate staff have tested negative, however we feel the responsibility to follow and observe the recommended MDHHS guidelines and will not put our community at risk. Hopefully, we will be reopened sooner rather than later and feel confident that we have gotten a jump start on containing the situation. Would like to wish you all a happy and safe holiday.
Health experts urge all who can to get their flu shot
November 17, 2020 – This year’s flu season coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing the public’s risk for developing a respiratory illness with potentially serious complications. Fortunately, a safe, effective vaccine already exists for the seasonal flu and is updated each year in anticipation of the most prevalent flu strains.
Health experts warn that it’s even more important than ever to get a flu shot this year. The flu shot has proven benefits for people of all ages and is the best defense against the influenza virus. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated, including pregnant women. Each year, the flu vaccine prevents millions of adults and children from getting sick with this serious and potentially life-threatening virus.
District Health Department #10 is offering a free drive-thru flu clinic for anyone aged 6 months and up. The event will take place:
Monday, November 23; 9:00 am-3:00 pm
Oceana County Road Commission
3501 W. Polk Rd, Hart, MI 49420
No appointments necessary. Face coverings are required.
The vaccine is free for those without insurance. There will be no out-of-pocket costs for participants.
Insurance will be billed for those who have insurance.
The collaboration between the Shelby Adolescent Health Center, the Oceana County Road Commission, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and District Health Department #10 is making this event possible so individuals can get vaccinated without even getting out of their car.
Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for District Health Department #10 explained, “We are grateful for the efforts and collaboration across multiple organizations to deliver this important public health service," stated Kevin Hughes, Health Officer for District Health Department #10. "Not one single entity had the capacity to do this alone. By pooling our resources, we can now reach more community members than we would have individually. This is public health at its best.”
While the best time to get your flu shot is before the season hits, it’s never too late. For those who want a flu shot and cannot make an event, additional clinics are available through local health departments or by calling your primary care provider.
The Great American Smoke Out (GASO) is an annual intervention event on the third Thursday of November by the American Cancer Society. Thousands of people who smoke across the country use this day as their first step toward a healthier life without smoking. Newaygo County’s “BreatheWell” Coalition supports the GASO through promoting information and local resources to help people quit.
The US Surgeon General has said, “Smoking cessation [stopping smoking] represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives.” Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the country, according to the American Cancer Society. The Great American Smoke Out challenges people to quit on that day, or to use the day to make a plan to quit.
“Newaygo County is fortunate to have a strong coalition of educators and tobacco treatment specialists to help our community members learn about the devastating health effects of smoking and vaping. We are also here to help support their efforts to quit,” states Caitlin Mitchell-Schucker, Tobacco Treatment Specialist at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial and BreatheWell Coalition Chair.
“Even during this time of limited in-person gatherings due to Covid-19, our Tobacco Treatment Specialists are helping people quit by phone or through virtual classes,” said Caitlin.
Covid-19 impacts the health of people who smoke in other ways as well. According to the World Health Organization, smoking is associated with increased rates of severe COVID-19 infections and death.
“Quitting the addiction of tobacco, whether it is from smoking, vaping or chew, is not easy. But the first steps are to learn what can work for you and get the help and support that you need. The Great American Smoke Out is a great time to take these first steps,” added Shelly Klochack, RN, also a Tobacco Treatment Specialist at Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial.
To learn more about GASO and how to take your Day 1 First Step, visit:
Great American SmokeOut (https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/great-american-smokeout.html).
For information on local quit classes, phone and virtual counseling, contact Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Tobacco Treatment Specialists: Shelly Klochack, RN, 231-924-3275; or Caitlin Mitchell-Schucker, 231-924-7589.
We’ve not had a lot of action in this section of late.
Of course most choose to marry in the summer with kindly weather offering better photo ops and such, but autumn often delivers some gorgeous days (and of course the occasional snowstorm) and personally I favor fall weddings.
You see, all of my marriages have been in the fall and though they number just one, it was a splendid affair that I would repeat in a heartbeat.
Perhaps some choose to wed during snow season because they love winter.
Or maybe all the desired venues were booked through the next decade for June through November.
Or they were just simply ready to get married and the time of year mattered as little as the size of the wedding and the shine on the ring.
If Cancun, Jamaica, Costa Rica or Barbados were in the honeymoon plans?
I’d opt for getting hitched in February.
These couples recently made their way to the Newaygo County Clerk's office in White Cloud:
Kevin Peets, Fremont and Ashley Scott, Fremont
Christina Marie Vincent, White Cloud and Jimmie Coleman, White Cloud
Brian Veenstra White Cloud and Jeannie Dulyea, White Cloud
Ryan Strikfaden, Bitely and Kayleigh Brock, Bitely
Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.-George Carlin
Julie Tatko takes the reins at FHC
Family Health Care is excited to announce that Julie Tatko has accepted the President & CEO position at Family Health Care (FHC). Julie has been acting as Interim CEO for the organization since September 2020.
"We are thrilled to have Julie lead the organization into the future," said Bob Fisher, Family Health Care's Board Chair. "With her extensive experience in health care, specifically in community health, we believe she is the right person to continue the care we provide throughout our communities."
Julie was most recently the Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Cherry Health in Grand Rapids. Her duties included the administrative and operational oversight of the organization with an emphasis on medical and behavioral health programming. Julie has many years of experience with the operations of Community Health Centers. Before joining Cherry Health, she was director of operations and enabling services at the Michigan Primary Care Association.
"I'm excited for the opportunity to lead one of the longest standing community health centers in Michigan," said Julie Tatko, President & CEO of Family Health Care. "I have spent my career serving in community health, including working with health centers in the states of Michigan and North Carolina. I remain passionate about those experiences and look forward to continuing our mission to provide quality, integrated, comprehensive, and accessible health care!"
Family Health Care was founded in 1967 in Baldwin, Michigan, as a single health care center. Since then, the organization has expanded to include five additional health centers and three school-based locations serving Newaygo, Lake, Mecosta, Wexford, and Missaukee counties. The organization provides primary medical, dental, behavioral health, vision, and pharmacy services. It also provides specialty services, including medical and dental pediatrics, radiology, laboratory, and substance use disorder treatment.
"Julie has already made an impact on the organization during her brief time as Interim CEO, and our board of directors is excited to see what the future holds," said Fisher.
In her new role, Julie will be responsible for establishing community support for FHC's mission, coordinating the organization's strategic plan, maintaining and establishing relationships with other health care organizations, and ensuring FHC continues to provide quality and cost-efficient care.
"Family Health Care has a strong reputation, and that's a testament to how the employees care for patients and each other. I look forward to the opportunity to serve Family Health Care's communities during the challenging times that we are facing," stated Tatko.
Family Health Care Urges the Community to Vaccinate against the Flu
While we continue to deal with COVID-19 as Michigan approaches the winter months, it’s vital to remember influenza (flu) is right around the corner. While the flu virus can strike year-round, flu activity usually peaks from December to February.
“With the rising number of COVID-19 related hospitalizations, we want to do everything possible to lessen the strain on hospitals,” said Jocelyn Pouliot, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Family Health Care. “One simple step an individual can take is getting a flu shot, which can help protect against the flu and reduce the possibility of hospitalization during this critical time.”
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, and fatigue.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone over six months old be vaccinated for the flu. Those considered high risk for flu complications include individuals with chronic illness, pregnant women, children under age two, and certain racial or ethnic minorities.
“Family Health Care is doing everything we can to make the flu vaccine accessible to everyone,” continued Dr. Pouliot. “We are holding flu clinics in November and December, along with taking walk-in patients at our pharmacies.”
The flu vaccine is available at all Family Health Care (FHC) locations and walk-ins are welcome at all FHC pharmacies. Medical patients of Family Health Care are encouraged to schedule a flu shot with their provider by calling or through the patient portal.
For more information, visit familyhealthcare.org/flufighter.