Kent County, partners launch program to get back to work safely

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A collaboration of leaders from Kent County, Meijer, Michigan State University and the city of Grand Rapids developed a plan to stage and capture employee health check screening information at hundreds of sites across the county.

The program, dubbed Kent County: Back to Work Safely, uses a health screening and data capturing processes developed by Meijer, which has completed more than 1.5 million employee health screenings at more than 250 of its retail, manufacturing and corporate locations.

“The screening includes an online questionnaire and temperature test that must be completed on-site as every employee arrives at work, every day, every shift,” Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes said.

During the screenings, no individual employee information is captured to maintain personal confidentiality. As of launch time, more than 150 Kent County employers have signed up for the program.

“In addition to pulling the consistent employer process together, we needed help sourcing thousands of thermometers at a time when there was almost no supply,” Kent County Administrator Wayman Britt said.  “Meijer stepped in and helped us source several thousand that are now available for employer purchase on our Kent County Health Department microsite dedicated to Kent County: Back to Work Safely.”

The data will be gathered through an online Qualtrics survey by Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and shared with the Kent County Health Department to identify and monitor possible hot spots by ZIP code and by sector of the economy to stay ahead of COVID-19.

MSU and the Kent County Health Department collaborated on all of the backroom management needs of the program and worked with Meijer to field-test all aspects of the data collection. The business leaders then asked area chambers of commerce, talent and economic development leaders and hospital leaders to invite early adaptor companies to enroll and begin screening.

“What makes West Michigan so great is the willingness of corporate, government and academic leaders to come together to solve an issue like this that is so vital for reigniting our economy,” said Norman Beauchamp, executive vice president for health sciences at MSU.

Kent County: Back to Work also provides a how-to guide for employers, plus background information, CDC guidelines for workplace staging and best practices being used throughout multiple industries. The site will be updated routinely with any CDC or state changes.

Employers of any size may register their site for free at kentcountybacktowork.com. The site provides all the health screening information and the option for employers to purchase a thermometer.

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