Van Buren/Cass District Health Department urges families to stay safe this holiday season

Published 9:06 am Tuesday, November 23, 2021

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — As the holiday season nears, Van Buren/Cass District Health Department is the community happy time as they gather with family, loved ones and friends. To help that happen, they are encouraging residents to take precautions for the health of themselves and their loved ones.

Cass and Van Buren counties are seeing a surge in COVID-19 infections and an uptick in Influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. Many factors may be contributing to this increase in disease activity.

Health officials said people may be experiencing COVID-19 fatigue or denial and maybe less diligent in mask-wearing and social distancing. Testing for COVID-19 has decreased across Van Buren and Cass counties even though cases are on the rise. With the knowledge that asymptomatic COVID-19 infections can still transmit the virus, precautions are recommended to have a safe holiday season, they said.

Last week, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a mask advisory. MDHHS issued the Public Health Advisory effective immediately that recommends everyone over the age of 2 wear a face mask at indoor gatherings regardless of their vaccination status. In addition, establishments should implement a policy to ensure that all persons entering or seeking services, including employees, wear a mask. This face mask advisory will remain in effect until further notice. For more details on this advisory, visit michigan.gov/coronavirus.

Health officials said residents can do their part to protect themselves and their loved ones by:

  • Staying home and isolating if sick
  • Wearing a mask, especially around the vulnerable population
  • Practicing social distancing and avoiding large crowds
  • Improving indoor ventilation/airflow in indoor spaces
  • Washing hands frequently
  • Keeping vaccination status up to date

A personal protection plan is encouraged when it comes to COVID. That can include:

  • If not vaccinated, discuss the pros and cons of vaccines with a healthcare professional.
  • Know where to get tested if exposed to the virus or develop symptoms of the virus. Be prepared if testing is needed on weekends or during the holidays. Visit

michigan.gov/coronavirus to find a test site or call the COVID-19 Hotline at (888) 535-6136, press 2 for help finding a test site.

  • Prepare for personal care for dependent children or elderly family members in the event of illness.
  • Become familiar with treatment options, including if monoclonal antibodies are a good choice for an individual or family member.

For more information and resources, visit vbcassdhd.org/covid-19/or michigan.gov/coronavirus or call the COVID-19 HOTLINE at (888) 535-6136.