County encourages people to go outside, but refrain from congregating

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Ottawa County encourages people to use parks and beaches amid the stay-at-home order, but in a responsible manner, and not as an area of congregation. (WWMT/File)

In a live update on Wednesday, Shannon Felgner, communications manager for Ottawa County, said although the governor’s stay-at-home order does allow for people to leave their homes for outdoor activities, people must keep a six-foot distance from one another.

Felgner said the county encourages people to use parks and beaches, but in a responsible manner, and not as an area of congregation.

“If it becomes evident that people continue to disregard this effective social distancing while visiting Ottawa County Parks and open spaces, we will have no other choice but to close them to protect the health of the community,” said Felgner. “We’re pleading that you please not congregate in parks, and respect the social distancing.”

Kristina Wieghmink, public information officer for the Ottawa County Department of Public Health, announced that the county had 16 positive coronavirus disease 2019 cases as of Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

Wieghmink said the number of confirmed positive cases was increasing steadily throughout the state.

“You can assume wherever you go in public, the coronavirus is going to be around, so make sure we’re practicing the six foot rule if you have to go out for essential services,” said Wieghmink.

She said social distancing is the best, and the only current defense to help stop and slow the spread of COVID-19.

The county’s environmental health team reminded everyone to only flush toilet paper and human waste, because sewer and septic systems were not designed to have paper towels, napkins, tissues, baby wipes or so-called flushable wipes flushed through the toilet.

Flushing the wrong products could clog pipes, tanks, pumps and treatment systems, leading to backups, and even system failure. If clogs were severe enough, the sewer water could back up, and flood your yard with human waste.

Any questions regarding environmental health could be sent to

Ottawa County Police Captain Mark Bennett said the sheriff’s office had received several calls regarding people violating Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. Bennett said not every complaint could be followed up on, but said serious complaints would be.

Complaints could be emailed to


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