Published in Economic Development
Kent County initiative to compile health screening data from employers COURTESY PHOTO

Kent County initiative to compile health screening data from employers

BY Wednesday, May 13, 2020 05:32pm

GRAND RAPIDS — A public-private partnership launched this week aims to compile health screening data from hundreds of Kent County companies in an effort to monitor and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Kent County: Back To Work Safely” includes participating employers that screen employees for symptoms of COVID-19 as they come to work. Upon entering the workplace at designated sites, workers are asked a couple of online questions related to COVID-19 symptoms. If they pass, they are given a temperature scan. 

A database collects the information and breaks down findings based on ZIP code and by employment sectors. 

“This is not a perfect tool, but it’s a good tool,” Kent County Health Department Director Dr. Adam London said during a virtual press conference today. “It’s a tool that has been shown in other areas (to be) effective in preventing small clusters of illness from becoming outbreaks.”

The process takes less than 30 seconds, said Paul Jaeckle, vice president of asset protection at Walker-based supercenter retailer Meijer Inc. The company has been using the process at its retail stores, offices, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities, collecting more than 1.5 million health screenings at more than 250 sites. Companies can register here.

The effort is a partnership between the Kent County Health Department, the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Spectrum Health, Meijer and the city of Grand Rapids.

After launching Tuesday, the program now has more than 150 participants.

Mike Jandernoa, founder of 42 North Partners LLC, said the “program is designed to scale up immediately,” and that Kent County’s model has attracted interest from officials in nearby Muskegon and Ottawa counties.

As of Wednesday, Kent County had 2,446 confirmed cases of COVID-19, up by 30 cases from Tuesday, and 47 deaths, an increase of two from the prior day.

Statewide, Michigan has recorded 48,391 confirmed cases since the pandemic began and 4,714 deaths. That’s an increase of 370 cases and 40 deaths from Tuesday.

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