Whether you’re at home, in the workplace, or on the ground in the greater community, safety has remained the number one priority this year. While new updates continue to be made and more information becomes available, the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department is updating guidelines and organizing best practices to keep our community safe.
On Friday, December 11, leaders from the local health department joined the Southwest Michigan First Small Business Series to provide an overview of the recent changes and where to best access more information.
Health Officer James Rutherford explained that the health department works with different sectors of the community while they’re developing safety recommendations. “It’s important that we’re constantly looking at the data and working with our health systems, which we do on a daily basis to ensure that they’re in pretty good shape,” said James. “The reality is we can’t make more doctors; we can’t make more nurses and all of those technical positions that play into a successful health system. This is a workforce that’s beyond over-taxed. So, it’s not as easy as providing some make-shift health systems if we don’t have the ready, trained, and fresh staff to house that.”
While the Health Department’s priority is to ensure the health and safety of the greater community, their main objective when working with companies is not to issue fines but to help people understand safety measures.
“We want to make sure our businesses, including our restaurants, are aware of the emergency orders. We really inform them of the requirements and help them safely navigate the emergency orders so they can remain open in some fashion,” said Vern Johnson, environmental health director. “For the most part when we bump into a noncompliance issue, it’s a lack of understanding of the order, so we want to help companies understand.”
As new orders are put in place and advances in science make the vaccine a closer reality, information is updated on the Kalamazoo County Government website. Some of the helpful tools include a COVID-19 vaccine information page, a quarantine and isolation calculator, and an isolation release request form, among other valuable resources for businesses and community members alike.