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Health and Wellness

Flu-like illnesses increased

The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency is reporting a significant uptick in reports of flu-like illnesses over those reported in November. Steve Todd, health officer for the tri-county health department, said while the actual number of reported flu cases since the end of November has only grown from zero to 13 cases, the number of flu-like illnesses has more than …

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Insurance sign-up assistance available

The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency, through its program called “Ins and Outs,” is scheduling appointments to assist area residents with signing up through the Healthcare Marketplace or for Medicaid. Open enrollment for the Healthcare Marketplace will end Feb. 15. According to Steve Todd, health officer for the tri-county health department, the agency has available eight certified, in-person assisters who …

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Flu cases are increasing

Nearly 20 people in Michigan have now died from complications associated with the flu. Health officials say five people have died in Oakland and Washtenaw Counties. There have been nine recent deaths in Kent County and at least four people have died in Kalamazoo County of influenza-associated illnesses. None of the deaths were children. The Michigan Department of Community Health says influenza A …

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Precautions due to flu

Three Rivers Health is the latest hospital to implement precautions in light of a spike in reports of the flu. The temporary measure is now in place and calls for a number of safeguards, including a requirement that visitors must be 12 years of age or older. In addition, emergency-room visitors are limited to two per patient and OB patients …

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New rules for Sturgis Hospital visitors

Sturgis Hospital officials have announced new rules for visiting the hospital during the flu season. Influenza season guidelines are: Hospital visitors must be 18 years or older; visitors to the obstetric unit must be immediate family. Siblings under age 18 visiting a newborn may be screened for fever; one visitor per patient is allowed in the emergency department; and patients …

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January is Radon Action Month

The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Health Agency has issued a media release regarding January as Radon Action Month. Radon is an odorless, tasteless, radioactive gas that naturally occurs in soil and rock. The agency wishes to remind residents that January is a good month to test for Radon. Radon typically travels into the atmosphere and causes no damage. Sometimes, however, it gets …

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Influenza cases are increasing

Cases of influenza are growing rapidly across Michigan, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declares a national flu epidemic, with widespread outbreaks in 22 states, so far. The C-D-C reports 15 children have died already this season of complications from the flu, which is peaking much earlier than normal in December instead of February or March. National officials say about …

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Two area parks offer New Year’s Day hikes

Two area state parks will be a part of a free, New Year’s Day event sponsored by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The agency will sponsor free, guided hikes in Michigan state parks on New Year’s Day – plus additional hikes throughout the week – as part of America’s state parks “First Day Hikes” initiative. According to the Michigan …

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New director at Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital

The state has hired a new director for the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital. Jill Krause will take over managing the facility next month. The appointment comes following allegations of misconduct at the hospital that caused the former Director, James Coleman, to resign earlier this year. Twenty-eight other workers were suspended in a separate investigation but nearly half of them have since returned …

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Get your flu shot!

The flu season is well underway in Michigan, and State Department of Community Health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated, before the end of the year. Jennifer Smith, of the Michigan Department of Community Health, says influenza activity normally peaks between January and April in Michigan, which is why those six-months-of age and older need to be vaccinated now since …

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