Health Director discusses recent local increase in COVID-19 cases

In a Thursday morning virtual press briefing Mid-Michigan District Health Department Health Officer Marcus Cheatham shared information about the primary causes of the recent steep upward growth of positive COVID-19 cases in Clinton, Gratiot and Montcalm Counties.

The causes of the increases are simply people coming together in an unsafe manner indoors with no masking or social distancing. Examples of these gatherings include:

– Family/Neighborhood Gatherings
– Weddings, funerals, church
– Within families

Schools, he emphasized, are not the main source.

– Only 5% of cases connected to schools
– Only a handful of cases of spread in school

Quarantines are important, he says. Only about 10% of people in quarantine become positive.

Should extended families plan to get together for the holidays? Cheatham says no. He has a grown son, he says; and he and his wife will be celebrating alone this year so that everyone can stay safe for now.

Annual Hospice Tree lighting celebrated
by Maralyn Fink

I attended the lighting of the Hospice Tree on the grounds of Sparrow Clinton Hospital on Tuesday evening. The tree is a tall well formed tree; and when lit it takes your breath away. It was also a beautiful evening weather-wise.

For many the change of seasons and advent of autumn provides a time of reflection and remembrance. This ceremony provides a special memorial event for the remembrance of loved ones.

SJPS extends remote learning until after Thanksgiving at least

St. Johns Public Schools continue to have students and staff who are either positive for coronavirus or are quarantined. This makes it very difficult to conduct in-person classes with any regularity. Because of this the schools are going to continue the suspension of in-person classes through the week of Thanksgiving.

Below is the schedule for the coming weeks:

– November 10 through November 25 – online synchronous learning for all students at SJPS
– November 20 will be an asynchronous learning day
– Monday, November 30 – Online asynchronous learning day
– Tuesday, December 1 – Online Synchronous day
– Wednesday, December 2 – Return to in-person learning for K-12 students
– Monday, December 7 – Return to in-person learning for Preschool students

The Board and administration understand the hardship this creates for families, especially those who have to plan for child care. They want students back in school, but they also need to keep the health and safety of students and staff in the forefront when making these decisions.

Should the trend continue, St. Johns Public Schools may need to extend the suspension of in-person classes through December 18. In order to help you plan, their goal is to communicate their intentions by early in the week of November 23.

Hanover retires from City Commission after 21 years

On Monday night the St. Johns City Commission held their regular meeting via Zoom.

During the meeting the Commission approved a Resolution of Appreciation for Commissioner Heather Hanover. She is retiring from the City Commission after 21 Years of public service.

She and her husband Karl continue to work on getting the Sugar Bowl designated a National Historic Place and plan to start remodeling soon.

In other business the staff recommended that the City Commission set a public hearing for Monday, November 23, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard to discuss the establishment of an obsolete property rehabilitation district.

COVID-19 testing continues
by Maralyn Fink

I stopped at Sparrow Clinton Hospital to take these pictures of the COVID-19 testing site. Every day there are lines no matter the time of day. They do not do testing on the weekend.

Clinton County Medical Center/Ouch Urgent Care continues to do a tremendous amount of COVID testing which created a traffic flow issue for the Southpoint Mall and its customers. Beginning on Tuesday there is a change in traffic flow that will hopefully allow for safe waiting within the Southpoint Mall parking lot, rather than on Sturgis Street or Business 127.

The line for COVID testing will begin in the alley between the main mall building and the Professional Building behind it. It will begin behind the St. Vincent dePaul Store and wrap to the south behind Jade Garden, the Secretary of State and the RESA Building.

St. Vincent donors will still be able to drop off and will stay to the left along their building. COVID testing will be in the long line to the right.

The Clinton County Medical Center/Ouch Urgent Care plan to have staff at the back entrances to direct traffic and keep the drives from being blocked. If you are one of the vehicles in line to be tested, please be courteous to other drivers in the lot. Don’t block business entrances or driving lanes.

SJPD continues to participate in No Shave November

Members of the St. Johns Police Department are again participating in No Shave November. Each officer who participates is paying $50 that will be donated to No Shave November.

No-Shave November’s mission is to raise funds for cancer research and treatment while educating the population about preventative measures. The No-Shave November campaign has successfully raised over $10 million to combat this disease, but the fight is not over yet.

No-Shave November is a web-based, non-profit organization devoted to growing cancer awareness and raising funds to support cancer prevention, research, and education.

Go here to donate.

Take the Recycling Bingo Challenge

Clinton County Department of Waste Management would like to invite you and your family to participate in the recycling bingo challenge which began in October. The bingo card will help you explore and learn the many ways that you can help protect public and environmental health in your community.

Complete and mail/email the bingo card by 4 p.m. on Friday, December 11, 2020, to be eligible to receive a free, reusable compact straw and be entered in a drawing to win a tumbling composting bin. This offer is available to Clinton County residents only.

1. Each time you complete a square cross it off.
2. Get bingo by marking five in a row: vertically, horizontally or diagonally.
3. Send us proof of your completed card in one of these ways:
4.Include your name, address, phone number and/or email. This information is needed to mail you a straw and contact you if you win the composting bin.

– Take a photo and email it to
– Mail your completed card to Clinton County Department of Waste Management, 100 E. State St. Suite 1500 St Johns, MI 48879
– Take a picture of your completed card and send them a message on the Clinton County Facebook page.

Download the bingo card here