Walk for Good Food changed to virtual format

#Walk4GoodFood

walk

You can still join the OKT walk Team!
Virtual Walk takes place May 3 through 13. Pick your day and time!
In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, you can Walk for Good Food in your own neighborhood. Access of West Michigan is asking walkers to walk individually or with their household while maintaining a six feet distance from anyone else. (Do follow any new social distancing guidelines and other directives made by public health officials and government leaders.)
OKT will post updates as we get them. For specific details, visit the Walk For Good Food Website.
How can you get involved?
For more information or to sign up to get involved, visit our Walk for Good Food Website. If you have any questions, contact Alaina at 616-747-0988 or alaina@accessofwestmichigan.org.

Expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits

8133E959-4131-4A80-9C81-DA770BA57421-770x470Governor Whitmer has signed an executive order temporarily expanding eligibility for unemployment benefits. Under the order, unemployment benefits would be extended to:

  • Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have childcare responsibilities due to school closures, or those who are forced to care for loved ones who become ill.
  • Workers who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off.
  • First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.

We must come together to protect those who have become unemployed from this health crisis. Sign our petition to support the expansion of unemployment benefits to hardworking Michiganders.

 

Worried about that virus? Boost your immune system and read this info from Kent County Health Department

Below, you will find information we received via the Grand Rapids Public Schools. In addition, we suggest doing all you can to boost your own very powerful immune system!

  • Eat healthy! Greens, fresh fruit, lean meats, and healthy snacks like cut veggies, nuts, and seeds.
  • Drink water, half your weight in ounces of water every day, e.g. if you weight 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces. Avoid pop and energy drinks.
  • Avoid sugar! It’s a stressor to your immune system. Read the labels on things like tomato soup and yogurt so you are not eating hidden sugars.
  • Avoid chemical additives and preservatives which also tax your body.
  • Get enough sleep! Eight hours a night for adults, more for kids.
  • Exercise! Especially if you are stressed out. Take a walk. Dance in your kitchen.
  • Enjoy fresh air and sunshine whenever possible.
  • Try mindfulness, guided meditation or prayer to further relax, de-stress, and create good intentions for your health.

The Grand Rapids Public Schools received the following communication from the Kent County Health Department at 1:33 PM on March 11, 2020.


KENT COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT

700 Fuller NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
PHONE: 616-632-7228
FAX: 616-632-7085

Adam London, PhD, R.S., D.A.A.S.
Administrative Health Officer

Nirali Bora, M.D.
Medical Director

HEALTH UPDATE March 10, 2020
Update for Kent County Schools on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) 
March 11, 2020

Partner in Health:

As partners in protecting the health and safety of our children and families, below you will find a brief situational update as well as current recommendations for school administrators and decision-makers based on guidance from the Kent County Health Department (KCHD). Please understand that this is a rapidly evolving situation and KCHD will continue to communicate with you as information changes.

WHAT IS KNOWN

  • The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified and causes a respiratory illness ranging from a mild cold-like illness to severe pneumonia.
  • More than 80% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in China had mild disease.
  • Similar to influenza, the people who are most likely to have severe disease and complications from COVID-19 are older individuals (>60 years old) and those with other medical conditions like heart and lung disease or diabetes.
  • There is no vaccine or treatment currently available for COVID-19.
  • Currently, there are 2 presumptive positive COVID-19 cases in Michigan.  At this time cases are in Wayne and Oakland Counties.
  • Currently, there is NO confirmed community spread of COVID-19 in Kent County, but experts predict there will eventually be community spread.
HOW THE VIRUS SPREADS
  • COVID-19 is believed to spread primarily the same way the common cold or flu spreads—through respiratory droplets that are produced when someone coughs or sneezes.
  • People who are most at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 are those who have been in close contact (within about 6 feet) with someone who has the disease.
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread of the virus might be possible before a person has symptoms, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
WHAT CAN SCHOOLS DO NOW, PRIOR TO LOCAL COMMUNITY SPREAD
  •  Implement your annual seasonal influenza plan.
    • Students and staff who are ill, especially with fever and/or acute respiratory symptoms (not allergies or chronic conditions), should stay home.
    • Review sick policies for staff; ensure staff can stay home when ill.
  • Ensure prescribed cleaning is happening at school facilities (routine disinfectants are appropriate).
    •  Enhance cleaning of high touch surfaces like door knobs, toilet handles, and sink handles.
    •  Ensure that hand sanitizer, soap/paper towels and tissues are widely available in school facilities.
    •  Remind students to cover their coughs/sneezes with a tissue or their elbow.
  • Plan for when community spread occurs (non-pharmaceutical interventions or NPIs).
    • Ensure parents/guardians have a plan to designate a caregiver who is under the age of 60 for a sick child(ren) if parents/guardians can’t stay home.
    • Look for opportunities to address food insecurity for families who rely on schools for breakfast and/or lunch.
    • Identify at-home learning opportunities during student absences or school closures.
    • Identify how the school will communicate updates to parents/guardians.
    • For more information about use of NPIs to respond to pandemics, visit https://www.cdc.gov/nonpharmaceutical-interventions/.
WHAT SHOULD SCHOOLS DO WHEN COMMUNITY SPREAD OCCURS
  • Continue to ensure that soap/paper towels, hand sanitizer, and tissues are widely available in school facilities. Regular hand hygiene should be built into the daily routine.
  • Consider limiting the number of people that have contact with students in the school building including parents or volunteers during the school day and gatherings that occur in the school building during non-school hours.
  • Consider having students eat meals in the classroom or in smaller cohorts in the lunchroom
  • Avoid assemblies and multiple class activities to limit non-essential contact between students in large gatherings.
  • Consider canceling or postponing events that bring groups of families and students into more frequent contact with each other.
  • Have a separate room for sick children to be in while waiting for a caregiver to pick them up if they become ill during the school day.
KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR ADMINISTRATORS BEFORE CLOSING SCHOOLS FOR COVID-19
  • The Kent County Health Department would recommend the closure of schools only if there is an imminent public health threat created by the schools being open.
  • Careful consideration for school closure recommendations will take into account the severity of disease, benefits to public health, impact on student learning, families, childcare, school staff and the economy.
  • Closing schools could potentially accelerate the transmission of COVID-19 to the most vulnerable people (e.g. older adults and those with chronic health conditions) if individuals from these categories, such as grandparents, are used as caregivers during a school closure or if children will congregate in other settings.
  • Schools in Kent County considering closure due to COVID-19 (or other infectious diseases) should work with KCHD before closing. Please contact KCHD if you are considering closing a school.
KCHD staff are working day and night to monitor this evolving situation and will continue to provide new information to the community as things change. If you have questions or are seeing increases in illness and would like to consult with our team, please call us (616) 632-7228 or the numbers below.

For up-to-date information, please visit our website at https://www.accesskent.com/Health/coronavirus.htm

Sincerely,

Joann Hoganson, MSN, RN
Director of Community Wellness,  Kent County Health Department
Liaison to schools

616-632-7067 (office)

OKT represented at Neighborhood Summit

3OKT’s executive director, Lisa Oliver-King, took part as a panelist and presenter in two City of Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit workshops on March 7, one on environmental justice and another on urban agriculture. The 2020 summit theme was “Growing Justice and Community.” For the event, OKT created an updated version of the guide developed with the City in 2019, “Growing Community, Justice, & Food.”

This guide covers how to grow food gardens, with tips on selecting plants and seeds, choosing a garden spot, planning a planting schedule, watering, dealing with Growing Community, Justice and Food 3-4-20pests, and saving seeds for next year and neighbors. Updates addressed how to compost healthy soil, air quality and foods that reduce asthma and allergies, and the importance of trees. In addition, the new version highlighted Grand Rapids Public Schools sustainability initiatives.

You can view and download “Growing Community, Justice and Food” here.

Dr. Kristi Artz and Mary Brown inspired new ways of looking at the Future of Food

WOC2Kristi Artz, MD, CCMS, with the Spectrum Health Culinary Medicine, and Mary Brown, Lead, Learning & Development Consultant Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) at Spectrum Health, led an interesting discussion at OKT’s Feb. 24 Women of Color Convening, which was sponsored by OKT and the Singularity University (SU) Grand Rapids.

WOC1Brown, a futurist, shared the role that artificial intelligence such as drones could play on farms of the future, how scientists are working to create food equivalents in the lab, and how we might be looking to alternative sources for protein in the future, for examples insects.

Dr. Artz shared the role that whole plant-based foods play in building good health. She began by citing the shortfalls of the Standard American Diet (SAD), which ignores nutritiousWOC4 fruits and vegetables in favor of high calorie, low fiber foods that promote chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and obesity. These foods can also impact mental health and make us more vulnerable to common  maladies like the flu and colds.

Eating a whole food diet that is based on lots of fruits and vegetables can prevent and sometimes reverse both chronic and acute health problems and address inflammation that underlies many of these issues.

Dr. Artz shared electronic copies of her presentation as well as many reccipes. If you’d like an electronic copy of these, email media@OKTjustice.org.