The Kent County Health Department has issued a notice on social media clarifying their Covid-19 close contact protocols following a viral posting by a West Michigan lawmaker.

The lawmaker insinuated that a local health department will "take that child away" if they were a close contact and parents don't comply with health department orders.

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Recently a post from State Rep. Steve Johnson of Wayland went viral with an Allegan County Health Department notice that included the phrase “taken into protective custody" for those unwilling to comply with the health order.

The county then explained that this is the standard letter they've been using to notify close contacts since students returned to school in the fall of 2020:

This is a letter that we have used for all individuals identified as close contacts since the beginning of the pandemic. This letter is the standard procedure for warning individuals if they are a potential carrier for any infectious disease.

So, this letter, it goes beyond just COVID and for all infectious diseases...This letter is to inform individuals that this is a requirement, not a recommendation. -Lindsay Maunz of the Allegan County Health Department to Fox 17.

📷 Facebook/Steve Johnson

Due to the viral nature of that letter, the Kent County Health Department issued a notice on social media explaining their process when a 'close contact' of a positive Covid-19 case is notified:

When the KCHD is notified of a positive case of COVID-19, a member of our staff contacts the patient to identify individuals with whom the patient has been in contact during their contagious period. Those individuals who are identified as a contact will be notified by the KCHD or the State of Michigan staff through phone or letter. This process, known as contact tracing, is used by public health departments to help curb the spread of an infectious disease within a community and has been used in the past to help contain outbreaks of SARS, Ebola, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections, etc.

Our approach with any compliance issue is to seek cooperation and to provide guidance and support. With COVID-19 contact tracing, our goals are to inform an individual they may have been exposed to COVID-19, assess their medical condition and other risk factors, and gather information for continued monitoring and support.

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