Berrien County

Captured via Facebook Live

Berrien County health officials say they’re working to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine equitably throughout the county.

At the county's COVID-19 update on Thursday, County Health Officer Nicki Britten said both the health department and Spectrum Health Lakeland are working to form partnerships that will help get the vaccine to underserved populations.

 

Berrien County Health Department logo

The Berrien County Health Department will postpone all vaccine appointments scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 23. Those appointments have been rescheduled for Monday, March 1.

(Read the full release from the health department below.)

Screenshot captured via Facebook

Berrien County health officials are urging residents to be diligent about following COVID-19 safety protocols after the more contagious UK strain of the virus was identified in neighboring Van Buren County earlier this week.

County Health Officer Nicki Britten said while the county’s new daily case count and hospitalizations continue to decline, the variant could drive those numbers back up if residents aren’t careful about masking and social distancing.

 

Captured via Facebook Live

At their weekly COVID-19 update, Berrien County health officials once again asked for patience as they work to vaccinate the nearly 40,000 county residents who are currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. 

County Health Officer Nicki Britten said the county’s vaccine allotment is based 75 percent on its population of adults age 65 and older, and 25 percent on its population of essential workers. 

 

Captured via Facebook Live

Berrien County health officials say Phase 1A of the county’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign – which includes healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents and staff – is well underway.

Spectrum Health Lakeland President Dr. Loren Hamel said over the last two weeks, about 20 percent of the Lakeland staff has received a first dose of the vaccine.

 

Captured via Facebook Live

It will be months before the general public has access to the COVID-19 vaccine, but some people are already wondering what the shots may cost.

Berrien County Health Officer Nicki Britten said nobody is allowed to be charged or billed for the vaccine itself.

 

“Cost will not be a barrier for anybody," she said. "That is something that is being provided to the American public.”

 

Captured via Facebook Live

During the weekly Berrien County COVID-19 update on Dec. 17, Spectrum Health Lakeland President Dr. Loren Hamel said the county received just under 1,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The first of those doses, he said, were administered Wednesday night.

"I was there with a line down the hall waiting to get vaccinated, folks with excitement and a few tears," Hamel said.

Hamel said the vaccine's arrival felt like a turning point, where healthcare workers can move from a "defensive" COVID strategy to an "offensive" one that's focused on prevention.

Captured via Facebook Live

Berrien County health officials offered their weekly update on the COVID-19 pandemic on Dec. 11.

County Health Officer Nicki Britten says the county is seeing an average of 120 new cases per day, or 10 times more daily cases than at the end of September. But, she said new cases and hospitalizations are beginning to slow, a trend she called “encouraging.”

Screenshot captured via YouTube

Last month, the election for one Berrien County Commission seat ended in a dead tie, and after the County Board of Canvassers failed to find any errors, the winner was decided by a tiebreaker. However, a new winner has been declared after a recount on Dec. 8.

https://www.michigan.gov/leo/0,5863,7-336-94422_11407---,00.html

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Admin. (MIOSHA) says it inspected and issued COVID-19 citations to nine Michigan businesses, including one in Berrien County. MIOSHA says the businesses were cited for serious violations for failing to protect workers and take safety precautions. 

In Berrien County the following business was cited: 

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

In the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, many Michiana schools have returned to full-time virtual learning. That’s not the case with one school district in Berrien County that’s bucking the trend.

With the exception of Bridgman High School, which moved to virtual learning on Nov. 18 per Michigan’s most recent Epidemic Order, Bridgman Public Schools have been holding in-person classes for the entire fall semester.

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

On Wednesday, Nov. 18, Michigan began a three-week “pause” on several fronts in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state. 

Under the new restrictions from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, indoor dining facilities, movie theaters and ice skating rinks are all closed. Those are just a few of the new restrictions.

https://www.statesenatorkimlasata.com/

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — At least two more Michigan legislators have tested positive as the coronavirus continues surging to record heights, including one who attended Senate session and committee hearings on Thursday. That was same day the House canceled votes due to infections among members. Those with COVID-19 include Sen. Kim LaSata and Rep. Ann Bollin, both Republicans.

LaSata represents Michigan's 21st Senate District which includes all of Berrien, Cass, and St. Joseph counties. 

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

Over the last month, the 7-day average of COVID-19 cases in Berrien County has jumped nearly fivefold, from about 16 per week to almost 77. That increase has led the health department to ask certain groups to conduct their own contact tracing. 

 

(FILE)

In Michigan,  the Berrien County community of Buchanan may be well known for Redbud and motocross, but the city recently attracted the attention of journalists at the BBC. People in Buchanan were interviewed about the presidential election.

The feature produced in Buchanan can be heard here. It's about eight minutes into this program. 

Berrien County Vote Results

Nov 4, 2020
(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Berrien County's updated accurate vote totals are not showing up in data being reported so far by some of the major networks and media organizations (including AP and NPR.)  With 97.58% of the vote in, President Trump has won 43, 148 votes to Joe Biden's 36,451.

To view the updated resuts, here is a link.

Photo Of The Week - Through the Trees

Oct 1, 2020
John L. Trapp

We are starting to see hints of fall and autumn colors in our latest Photo of the Week. Thanks to John L. Trapp of Buchanan, Michigan, for this shot that he captured on a rainy day late in September at the Galien River County Park in New Buffalo Township in Berrien County. John says conditions that day gave the image an impressionistic quality. 

 

Email Photo of the Week submissions to us at wvpe@wvpe.org. 

Swimming Advisories Extended For Parts Of Lake Michigan

Aug 17, 2020

PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — The National Weather Service has extended swimming advisories for parts of Lake Michigan as forecasters predict high waves and strong currents. The beach hazard statements were issued Sunday and now run into Tuesday evening and that officials are urging people to stay out of the water. Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties in Indiana are under advisories. So are Cook and Lake counties in Illinois and Michigan's Berrien County.

LAKESIDE, Mich. (AP) — The body of a 13-year-old Otsego girl has been found near a beach along Lake Michigan in southwestern Michigan following an apparent drowning. The Berrien County sheriff's office says the body was reported about 12:30 p.m. Friday in Lakeside. The girl was reported missing about 9 p.m. Thursday at Warren Dunes State Park in Lake Township. A search for her was suspended Thursday night due to darkness. It was resumed Friday morning.

 

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio

Since the start of July, Berrien County has seen an increase in new COVID-19 cases and the percent of COVID-19 tests coming back positive has increased as well. The trend has local health officials concerned.

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio

Since the start of July, Berrien County has seen an increase in new COVID-19 cases and the percent of COVID-19 tests coming back positive has increased as well. The trend has local health officials concerned.

https://www.facebook.com/205580118100/photos/a.443560258100/10151245230553101/?type=1&theater

COLOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 47-year-old man has been shot to death by a homeowner during an alleged break-in in southwestern Michigan. The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph reports that police responded about 2:30 a.m. Thursday to a report of a home invasion in progress in Coloma Township. Coloma Township Police Chief Wes Smigielski says the homeowner came outside with his hands up when officers arrived. Officers found the body of Kevin Cox inside the home. He had been shot once. Smigielski says the homeowner did not know Cox. The shooting remains under investigation.

Berrien County Sheriff

ROYALTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A body has been recovered from a river in southwestern Michigan two days after a 45-year-old man was reported missing while rescuing a juvenile who was struggling in the water. The Berrien County sheriff's office says members of its marine unit found the apparent drowning victim shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday in the Saint Joseph River. The body was found about a half-mile from the area in Royalton Township where two adults and three juveniles were swimming Friday evening from a pontoon boat.

Lakeland Beginning to Reschedule Postponed Appointments

Apr 22, 2020
Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ Alissa Eckert, MS

 

Spectrum Health Lakeland is starting to put select appointments and procedures back on the calendar as the impact of social distancing measures begin to show in local COVID-19 numbers.

 

Elective procedures are not part of the change, and any emergency or urgent care will still be prioritized. But some procedures that could be safely postponed for a few weeks, but not longer, will start to be scheduled at Lakeland facilities.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

 

The Berrien County health department is focusing on contact tracing and monitoring vulnerable populations in the fight against the coronavirus.

Berrien County Health officer Nicki Britten says the department is working on speaking to anyone who had close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. She says that work is important but people should be aware of scams. 

Berrien County Reports Three Additional COVID-19 Cases

Mar 23, 2020
Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ Alissa Eckert, MS

  Berrien County Michigan is reporting an additional three cases of COVID-19, bringing the county’s total to five. 

Only one of the three newly reported cases is related to the March 8th concert at Andrews University. That case is a man over 60 who did not go to the concert, his wife did. She is one of the original two cases reported Saturday. The couple is recovering at home.

The other two cases are also men over age 60. One is self-isolating at home, the other is being treated at Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joe.

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.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

 

The state of Michigan has confirmed two cases of COVID-19 in Metro Detroit. Michiana organizations are continuing to prepare for the possibility of a local outbreak.

No major closures have happened in Southwest Michigan yet. But health officials are saying local businesses are restricting non-essential international and domestic travel. The health department says individuals should do the same.

Photo Of The Week - Frozen Fruit

Mar 5, 2020
Dave Coulston

WVPE's Photo of the Week is of frozen fruit in Berrien County. This image was actually submitted to us late in 2019 by Dave Coulston of Niles. The snow and the fruit captured in this image seem representative of how the seasons can clash. A timely reminder as we look ahead to the offiical start of spring on March 20th. 

We'd love to see your images too. 

Email photos to wvpe@wvpe.org. 

Make sure to include your name, where you live, names of people in the photo, date the photo was taken and the location where the photo was taken. 

Berrien County Debates Becoming A Gun Sanctuary

Feb 13, 2020
Annacaroline Caruso / WVPE News

Berrien County will not be following in the footsteps of other Michigan counties that have declared themselves gun sanctuaries. But the board of commissioners did emphasize their duty to uphold the constitution at a heated meeting Thursday.

Pages