Will Callan | Michigan Radio

Will Callan

Politics Podcast Intern

Will Callan, the intern for Michigan Radio's new politics podcast The 8th, hails from the Bay Area, where he lived in Oakland and San Francisco and reported for local newspapers and magazines. He enjoys a long swim in chilly water (preferably followed by a sauna) and getting to know new cities. That's one reason he's excited to be in Ann Arbor, which he can already tell has just the right combo of urban grit and natural beauty to make him feel at home.


Michigan is currently reporting more than 2,300 COVID-19 cases in nursing homes. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the number of deaths is 748. That’s nearly 15% of the state’s COVID deaths.


But information about how well Michigan’s nursing homes have controlled the spread of COVID-19 has been limited. 



Without proper controls, infection will spread quickly through a nursing home. It’s one reason states have been grappling with the question of where to put elderly patients who’ve mostly recovered from COVID-19, but are still testing positive.

Connecticut has designated facilities that will care for COVID patients exclusively, while New York, rewinding a previous strategy, is requiring that nursing-home residents test negative before being discharged to a facility.

In Michigan, the state has selected about 20 facilities to take on these patients. As of today, all of them exist as separate units within nursing homes, many of whose residents have not tested positive for COVID.


Michigan’s first field hospital is no longer accepting COVID-19 patients, less than a month after opening its doors to the public. COVID-19 hospitalizations are leveling off, and health systems no longer need TCF’s beds as an option for overflow. 

The TCF Regional Care Center, in downtown Detroit, opened on Friday, April 10, and admitted its first patient that Sunday. On May 1, MDHHS confirmed that the field hospital would accept no more transfers, and the final patient was discharged on Wednesday. All told, the hospital cared for 39 people.


The TCF Regional Care Center in downtown Detroit is down to its final seven patients. 


According to Michelle Grinnell, a spokesperson for the facility, the field hospital stopped admitting new patients last week after health officials and hospital leadership noted “health data improvements” and a “reduction in hospital surge capacity overload” across Michigan. 



More than 2,800 of Michigan’s nursing-home residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to data released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

Two weeks ago the state issued new rules for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities intended to curb the spread of the virus through these vulnerable communities. As of Wednesday, the median age of those who had died from the disease was 76. 



Nearly 2,200 nursing home residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to data released by the state for the first time today

In a press conference Friday, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical officer, said there are 2,198 confirmed cases in nursing homes, the vast majority (75%) of which are in southeast Michigan. Out of the state’s 458 facilities, only two-thirds have submitted data. 

Markus Spiske on Unsplash

As lawmakers debate how we can safely start returning to normal life, here’s what you need to know about this “plateau” in Michigan cases, and how the experts say we can avoid a second surge.


In a Thursday press conference, Henry Ford Hospital System’s chief clinical officer expressed measured confidence over the question of unstable drug supplies for COVID-19 patients. 


Dr. Betty Chu said the hospital system was “comfortable” with its current stock of sedatives, but acknowledged that maintaining it would be “an ongoing problem — especially if we see a second surge of patients.” 



On Thursday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that the TCF Center would begin accepting its first 25 COVID-19 patients.

The announcement also stated that Henry Ford Health System, Beaumont Health, McLaren Health and Detroit Medical Center would be stepping in to provide administrative support, and that a FEMA strike team would provide initial staffing.

Ascension Borgess Hospital
Imzadi1979 / Wikimedia Commons

The health care system Ascension Michigan has issued an updated staff re-assignment policy to its medical workers.

Ascension sent the policy to the Michigan Nurses Association and MNA shared it with Michigan Radio.


A major healthcare network, Ascension Michigan, will be working with health department officials to run Michigan’s second field hospital for COVID-19 patients, according to a Tuesday press release from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office. 

Ali Hammoud, University of Michigan Medical School

When hospital rotations were placed on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of Michigan’s third- and fourth-year medical students wondered how they could stay useful. 

Within a few days, a handful of student-led volunteer groups popped up around the state, assisting medical workers and community members with tasks like mask-collection, childcare and food delivery.

joneigh khaldun at a press conference

Southeast Michigan hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases have begun sending some of those patients to hospitals with spare beds. These transfers to relief hospitals are part of the state health department’s so-called load-balancing plan.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive of MDHHS, explained the plan in a live address on Thursday morning.