(Berrien County, Michigan) – The Berrien County Health Department has identified the first two positive cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Berrien County.

The positive persons are both adult women under the age of sixty years old; they have both been self-isolating at home for several days and they are in good condition. Both of these individuals had close personal contact with singer Sandi Patty, when she performed a concert at Andrews University in Berrien Springs on March 8th, 2020. Since the concert, Ms. Patty announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 17th, 2020.

The Berrien County Health Department and Andrews University are communicating directly with the people who had been in close contact with the individuals who have tested positive. All close contacts of the COVID-19 positive individuals will be asked to self-quarantine and will be assessed for symptoms and monitored appropriately.  The Berrien County Health Department is also advising anyone who attended the March 8th Sandi Patty concert and had close personal contact with Ms. Patty to self-quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath through March 22nd, 2020. Any individuals who experienced or are still experiencing symptoms are asked to call the Berrien County Health Department hotline at 1-800-815-5485.

Nicki Britten, Berrien County Health Department health officer

“Our team has been preparing for weeks to ensure that we have the structures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Berrien County, including a partial activation of the County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). We are not yet seeing widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in Berrien County, although we anticipate this to change. Everyone has a role to play in helping us prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as other viruses that can cause respiratory illness. It is very important that our residents remain committed to individual prevention efforts, staying updated on the situation with information from credible sources, and prepare for an ongoing response to this virus in the community.”

Loren B. Hamel, MD, president, Spectrum Health Lakeland

“This is sobering news and these are sobering times. The first cases of COVID-19 in Berrien County don’t come as a surprise. We have been preparing for weeks and working closely with local and state partners to ensure we are ready to care for our friends and neighbors. The most important thing you can do is be diligent about keeping social distance, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and call ahead before you come to the hospital or doctor’s office if you are sick.”


COVID-19 symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Dr. Rick Johansen, medical director at the Berrien County Health Department

“To prevent the spread of COVID-19, people should wash their hands, stay home when sick, avoid close contact with sick people, and disinfect commonly touched surfaces. Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.”

There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment for COVID-19.


The Berrien County Health Department and Spectrum Health Lakeland continue to work closely to slow the spread of illness and provide reliable and accurate information to the public. Stay up-to-date with COVID-19 in Berrien County by visiting www.bchdmi.org or www.spectrumhealthlakeland.org.