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North Kent News

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Detailed info about COVID-19 patients to be released only when deemed necessary

Local Government

By Angela Watson | Mar 26, 2020

There were 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kent County as of March 25. | Pipeline

The first three people in Kent County confirmed with COVID-19 are recovering at home, according to health officials. 

The department has released some information about the two women and one man -- they’re all in their 60s -- but where they may have contracted the virus will only be released if the information helps the community.

“It has no public health value and by releasing it," said Steve Kelso, spokesman for the Kent County Health Department. “It may be tantamount to identifying these people.” Kelso said that if the department believed the information would benefit the public by helping them avoid exposure, officials would release it, according to MLive.

The three people all have histories of traveling internationally. 

Kent County health officials are also trying to diminish panic and combat stigma surrounding COVID-19.

“There’s already enough fear out there," said Adam London, administrative health officer for the Kent County Health Department. "We don’t want to exacerbate it with information that has little public health value," he told MLive.

The state of Michigan is letting individual health departments make the call about which information to release.  The Oakland County Health Department, for example, is among those that releases specific locations and times of where people were prior to being diagnosed.

As of March 26, there are 41 positive COVID-19 cases in Kent County, according to Access Kent.

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Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Kent County

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