LAKE COUNTY -- Lake County Emergency Management and Homeland Security officials are working to keep the public informed regarding safety protocols and assistance available during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Lake County Emergency Management and Homeland Security director Patrick Maddox, they have focused their planning and response efforts during the crisis on three things -- education and public awareness, District No. 10 Health Department information, and assessing the needs of vulnerable populations.

The department is distributing flyers throughout the community with information regarding how to keep safe and where to get assistance , if needed. The information is also available on the county website at lakecounty-michigan.com.

Education and Awareness

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has launched several statewide platforms to answer questions about the coronavirus disease and to keep residents up to date as information continues to change. For the latest news and information visit michigan.gov/coronavirus, call the COVID-19 hotline at (888) 535-6136.

DHHS continues to emphasis the following recommendations to protect yourself and others:

• Wash your hands, often, with soap and water, for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

• Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing

• Avoid contact with people who are sick

• If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others

• Replace handshakes with a friendly wave from six feet away

• Continue to practice social distancing by keeping six feet away from others when in a public setting

According to the health department, there is a drive through COVID-19 testing site at Northwest Michigan Health services, 10767 Traverse Highway, Traverse City. For a referral, call (231) 642-5292.

Anyone who wishes to go in person to a medical care facility to be checked for the coronavirus, contact your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, call Spectrum's Virtual Screening at 616-391-2380.

Baldwin Family Health Care is doing COVID-19 screenings from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. They are currently the only on-site facility offering screening/testing. Call (231) 745-4624 for more information.

Local hospitals will still take walk-ins, but hospital personnel ask that anyone coming to the facility employ basic health precautions of social distancing and wearing masks and gloves, if possible.

Confirmed cases as of April 29, according to District No. 10 Health Department, are -- Lake County, 2; Mason County and Osceola Counties, 8 each; Ocean County, 9; Wexford County, 10; Manistee County, 11; Mecosta County, 14 and Newago County, 22.

Updates from the District No.10 Health Department are available at dhd10.org.

Assisting the needs of the vulnerable

As of April 29, Baldwin public schools has served more than 23,000 meals to students through their food program. 325 students are receiving breakfast, lunch and dinner for seven days, each week.

During March and April, Feeding America delivered 65,000 lbs. of food to Lake County families. Feeding America mobile pantry will be at the Luther Lion's Club beginning at 4:30 p.m., May 11, and at St. Ann Catholic Church May 21.

The Bread of Life Food Pantry, located between St. Ann Catholic Church and St. Ann's Senior Center, in Baldwin, is serving approximately 450 people per week. They are opened 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., every Wednesday and offer food and financial counseling. For inofrmation call (231) 745-7997.

St. Ann's Senior services is providing more than 1,000 meals each week. Daily delivery is offered in the Baldwin area, Idlewild area, and Oakwood Manor area homes. They continue to offer meals on wheels throughout parts of Lake County. For more information, call (231) 745-7201.

Houseman's grocery store is offering curb-side grocery pick-up for seniors and at risk populations. Call (231) 745-2661 to provide a shopping list and secure payment prior to pick up.

Yates Dial-A-Ride is offering free delivery of groceries and medicines to seniors and vulnerable populations. Call (231) 745-7311 for more information.

Other available services

CodeRED, Lake County's emergency alert system is available. To sign up for emergency alerts, call (231) 745-2711.

DHHS has launched a statewide mental health hotline that will operate form 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week. Call 888-733-7753 for assistance.

The Michigan State Treasury Department has halted collections and has stopped all wage garnishments and offsets to pay on outstanding FFELP student loans serviced by the Michigan Guaranty Agency until September 30. For assistance call 800-642-5626.

Officials are urging residents to beware of scams involving the government stimulus payments. 211 is available to assist anyone who feels they have been the victim of a scam. Dial 2-1-1, or call (231) 745-2711 for assistance.

Lake County Emergency Management has coordinated with the Michigan State University Extension Service to donate homemade face masks.

The county is still in need of N95 and surgical masks. Donations are being accepted. They can be dropped off at the Lake County Emergency Management Building, 1100 Michigan Ave., Baldwin, or call (231) 745-6205.