It’s Spring, the sun is shining, the grass is growing, we want to get together
with family and friends and shake off the long cold winter. But this year we are advised that we
are “Safer at Home”, so this isn’t like any normal Spring. The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph
Community Health Agency asks that all residents in Branch, Hillsdale, and St. Joseph counties
continue to Stay Home, Stay Safe through May 28th.
From May 4th to May 8th, there was an increase of 63% in positive COVID-19 cases in St.
Joseph county. The total is now 65 positive cases.
“The increase in positive cases is related to the expanded testing criteria which is leading to
more people being able to get tested”, states Rebecca Burns, Health Officer for the tri-county
health department. Expanded testing provides the local health department with information to
limit disease spread in the community. Every individual that tests positive is contacted by the
local health department and advised of their requirement to isolate and asked about their close
contacts. Close contacts are then also notified and advised to quarantine for 14 days and
monitor themselves for symptoms.
Of the cases investigated recently by BHSJCHA, there continue to be some individuals with
symptoms who go to work and/or are out in the community exposing others. BHSJCHA is
asking that everyone continue to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 which can
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Muscle pain
• Sore throat
• New loss of taste or smell
“We are finding that some people test positive for COVID-19 but have no symptoms”, says Dr.
Vogel, DO Medical Director. “These individuals are considered asymptomatic. When they go
out into the community, they can expose others when they don’t wear a mask and don’t
practice good hand hygiene by washing their hands frequently.” Everyone who lives in
Branch, Hillsdale, and St. Joseph counties has a role in stopping further spread of COVID-19,
whether symptomatic or not. BHSJCHA asks that everyone take the following steps:
• If you have COVID-19 symptoms or live with someone who does, stay home and seek
testing. You can find a testing location at Michigan’s Find a Test Tool.
• Only go to the store when necessary and limit the trip to just one person
• Always wear a mask when you go out to the store or other public place
• When you do go out for recreation, maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and others
and wear a mask
• Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer when a handwashing sink is not available.