GVSU under Stay at home order amid COVID-19 outbreak

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ALLENDALE TWP, MICH. (WOOD)– The Ottawa County Department of Public Health is telling all Grand Valley State University to stay in place for two weeks, in an effort to slow down the outbreak of Covid-19.

Starting Thursday, students must stay in their homes — on or off-campus — through Oct. 1, though they may still go to class, get food, exercise, go to medical appointments, and fulfill religious obligations. They may go to work if deemed essential and if their employer OKs their return.

Students should not go to any parties or other group activities. Unless there’s an emergency, they should not go back to their parents’ homes so as not to spread the virus there.

The state’s MI Start Map also shows Ottawa County has seen a spike in cases per million people per day since late August, around the time students returned.

Ottawa County says it has seen more than 600 cases among the student population in Allendale Township since Aug. 23, though GVSU’s online dashboard says there are 370 “active” cases as of noon Wednesday. Most of those are among students who live off-campus, though some are on campus.

The health department said most of the cases are linked to congregate living or larger gatherings.

State data shows GVSU has the largest outbreak of any college in Michigan.

“Control of the COVID-19 pandemic is necessary to protect the health of Ottawa County communities,” Lisa Stefanovsky, Ottawa County Department of Public Health officer, said in a statement. “Based on epidemiological data and the expertise of public health officials, the increased numbers of GVSU cases may adversely impact other communities, services, and businesses in the county. This could include the Ottawa County Court system and K-12 education based on the state’s mandated thresholds for in-person interactions. GVSU has worked collaboratively with us in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and we truly appreciate their support as we work through this.”

Health officials also reminded students to follow other coronavirus mitigation practices including frequent hand washing, staying 6 feet from others, and wearing a mask when around others.

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