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Stateside Podcast: Kent County is a COVID hotspot

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Michigan is on pace to top the national record for COVID hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic. And Kent County is among those with the highest case rates.

Michigan is on pace to top the national record for COVID hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic. And West Michigan is among the areas with the highest case rates.

"We're averaging close to four deaths per day here in Kent County," said Dr. Adam London, health officer for the Kent County Health Department.

The county may not have as many cases as, say, Oakland or Wayne County. But per capita, it is not far behind, with a 22% test positivity rate. And London said those who are unvaccinated are still most at risk. In this case, that means children.

"We have these younger people now who are largely unvaccinated, and that's where the virus finds a pool of susceptible people," he said, stressing that the adults around them should limit their exposure to the virus. But, like in many places across the country, some Kent County residents still push back against COVID safety measures, especially when it comes to the vaccine.

"I think there are still quite a lot of people who believe incorrectly that public health officials have some political agenda in all of this," London said of people who hear he and his colleagues urging them to get vaccinated.

"We don't have an agenda that's political. What we have is an agenda to see our community healthy and successful. We have an agenda to see our neighbors, family, and friends happy. And thriving. And not sick and hospitalized."

Click the audio player above to hear our full conversation with Dr. Adam London.

Looking for more conversations from StatesideRight this way.

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Stateside’s theme music is by 14KT.

Additional music byBlue Dot Sessions.

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Erin Allen comes to Michigan Radio as a new producer for the station’s Stateside show. She is an experienced communicator driven by her curiosity about stories of people.