Berrien County Reports More Cases Of COVID-19 After Initial Disease Discovery This Weekend

Mar 21, 2020

Berrien county officials announce the county's first cases of COVID-19 on March 21, 2020.
Credit Jennifer Weingart/WVPE

UPDATE: 

The Michign Dept. of Health and Human Services is now reporting 3 COVID-19 cases in Berrien County. In the state as a whole, 1,035 cases have been reported. So far Michigan has seen 8 deaths from the coronavirus. 

NEW:

Two people in Berrien County have tested positive for COVID-19.

Both cases are tied to a March 8th concert.

Christian singer Sandi Patty held a concert at Andrews University, a small Seventh Day Adventist College in Berrien Springs, on March 8th. On March 17th, the singer reported she had tested positive for COVID-19. Two people at the concert who had close contact with Patty have tested positive for the disease.

Dr. Loren Hamel is the president of Spectrum Health Lakeland in St. Joseph. He says even without a test, people should be careful.

“In the meantime, if folks get sick with mild symptoms, assume you may have COVID-19, and shelter in place and stay away from others. You can do that whether or not you have a test and that’s something everybody must do out of an abundance of caution,” Hamel said.

COVID-19 symptoms are cough, fever and shortness of breath.

There is a shortage of testing materials throughout the country. Hamel says Spectrum Health just gained the ability to do testing at its Grand Rapids lab, though testing supplies are limited.

Berrien County Health Department Medical Director Dr. Rick Johansen says that even though COVID-19 does not impact young people as seriously as older people, younger people should be careful.

“And my message to younger adults would be if you smoke or you vape this is the exact right time to stop doing it because that is a risk factor also,” Johansen said.

People with chronic conditions, particularly those that impact the lungs, are at greater risk of getting serious symptoms or dying from COVID-19.

 

Health officials also addressed a reporter question about a rumor that has been going around that an illness that went through schools in December and January was an early round of COVID-19.

Johansen says that’s not true.

“So we have no reason to believe that would even be plausible at that time frame.”

Children who catch COVID-19 are less likely to show symptoms of the disease. And much less likely to die from it.

 

 

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The Berrien Co. Health Dept. has announced that two women in the county have tested positive for COVID-19. Both had contact with singer Sandi Patty at a recent concert at Andrews University. 

You can read more from the Berrien County Health Department below. 

(Berrien County, Michigan) – The Berrien County Health Department has identified the first two positive cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Berrien County.

The positive persons are both adult women under the age of sixty years old; they have both been self-isolating at home for several days and they are in good condition. Both of these individuals had close personal contact with singer Sandi Patty, when she performed a concert at Andrews University in Berrien Springs on March 8th, 2020. Since the concert, Ms. Patty announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 17th, 2020.


The Berrien County Health Department and Andrews University are communicating directly with the people who had been in close contact with the individuals who have tested positive. All close contacts of the COVID19 positive individuals will be asked to self-quarantine and will be assessed for symptoms and monitored appropriately.  The Berrien County Health Department is also advising anyone who attended the March 8th Sandi Patty concert and had close personal contact with Ms. Patty to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath through March 22nd, 2020. Any individuals who experienced or are still experiencing symptoms are asked to call the Berrien County Health Department hotline at 1-800-815-5485.

The latest numbers released by the Michigan Dept. of Health Saturday indicate that there are now 787 cases of COVID-19 in the state and there have been 5 deaths. 

To see the latest state statistics on the coronavirus, by county, click here.