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Coronavirus

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The state of Michigan is being sued over COVID-19 testing regulations by a group advocating for high school athletes.

Michigan has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, which state officials have linked, in part, to youth sports.

The group, Let Them Play, filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

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A new report shows more than a third of Michigan households were struggling even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United Way’s 2021 ALICE report documents the challenges facing Michigan’s working poor families.   ‘ALICE’ stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. 

These so-called 'ALICE' families typically work for minimal hourly working wages that do not cover the basic costs of living. 

Starting Tuesday, Michigan’s largest COVID-19 vaccination clinic begins delivering shots into arms.

In the past week, 110,000 people have signed up to get their coronavirus vaccine at Ford Field in Detroit.  

More than 14,000 appointments are scheduled for this week, with another 20,000 appointment invitations going out Monday.

Ford Motor Company

The Ford Motor Company is making plans to begin transitioning thousands of employees from working remotely to back in the office.

But the automaker is leaving the door open to those who want to continue to work remotely.

Ford has more than 30,000 employees working remotely.

Elementary and Middle schools in Kent County have been allowed to reduce their distancing requirements from six feet down to three feet.

The Kent County Health Department changed the recommendation in February as a six-week pilot.

The change also affects which students are asked to quarantine after being exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. Under the recommendation in the pilot, only students who were within three feet of the infected person for 15 minutes or more will have to quarantine.

Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel says she will not investigate how Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 policies affected nursing home patients.

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As Flint public schools resume in-person classes for Kindergarten through third graders this week, mask wearing, sneeze guards and social distancing are on the curriculum along with Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

It starts when students walk through the school door.

Every student and visitor to Flint schools will have to check in at a video kiosk or with hand held device to have their temperature checked.     

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After a delay, Flint Community Schools will return to in-person learning next week.

The district’s planned return to the classroom was postponed three weeks ago because there were not enough sneeze guards for all the student desks. District officials insist they have enough now.

School Board President Carol MacIntosh insists they want students to learn and go home healthy.

“I would like to be able to look any parent or community member in the face and say ‘Look we went the extra mile because we are serious about our students’ safety,” says MacIntosh.

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Michigan’s largest public school district will be re-opening to in-person instruction next week.

Officials with Detroit Public Schools Community District say face-to-face instruction will resume next Monday, March 8. The district suspended in-person classes in November, as COVID-19 case rates in the city climbed in November.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says with infection rates in the city down and teachers having access to coronavirus vaccines, the district can again provide an in-person learning option. 

Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

 

 

Whether the kids in your community are back in the classroom or not, the pandemic has had some serious mental health consequences. There is stress and uncertainty at home, limited contact with friends, and the loss of a school routine. It all takes a toll. That's especially true for the kids who are already in more vulnerable situations. 

Republican state lawmakers are raising questions about the Democratic governor’s policies concerning COVID-19 and Michigan’s long-term care and nursing homes.

Since the outbreak began a year ago, about a third of Michigan's 15,453 coronavirus-related deaths were people in long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

Michigan Radio Newsroom

 

More than a dozen people gathered outside U.S. Sen. Gary Peters' (D-Mich.) Detroit office on Monday to support a provision in the latest coronavirus relief package to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. 

 

Mayor Mike Duggan says the city is expanding options for Detroiters over age 65 to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Duggan says the city will be providing low-cost or no cost rides to a vaccination clinic at the TCF center.  And for the next four Saturdays, the mayor says the city will be providing special vaccination clinics just for seniors. 

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In 2020, Michigan had to respond to a deadly pandemic and a massive 500-year flood.

Both emergencies revealed deficiencies in the state’s response.

Sen. Jim Ananich (D-Flint) wants the state to be better prepared for future emergencies.

Ananich has submitted legislation that would establish a board would be charged with planning for future disasters and to maintain supplies that will be needed to respond. 

man receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot in his right arm
Spectrum Health

State health department officials say they want more COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Michigan with longer hours. 

Officials with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services laid out their strategy for getting 70% of Michigan residents vaccinated in the coming months.  The exact timetable is dependent on the supply of vaccines.

basketball sitting on a wooden basketball court
Gene Gallin / Unsplash

A lawsuit filed Tuesday is seeking to lift a state ban on high school sports immediately.

The state Health department issued the order last month putting basketball, wrestling, and other winter contact sports on hold until February 21 as part of the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order is the latest in a series by state health officials that have disrupted the high school sports calendar.

Levin congressional office

Working during the pandemic has been hard.

It’s also been difficult for unions trying to organize.

Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI 9) is sponsoring new legislation that would direct the National Labor Relations Board to allow unions to conduct elections remotely.

Levin says under the Trump administration, the NLRB pushed to have in-person voting to create a union even during the pandemic, including at a hospital.

Gene Gallin / unsplash

“What’s the point of even going to school anymore if I can’t play my sport that I love?” 17 year old  Nataliegh Badgero asked state lawmakers Thursday. She loves basketball. But she can't play for her school right now. 

Michigan legislators held a pair of committee hearings to give high school student athletes and their parents a chance to make their plea to let students play winter and spring sports despite the covid pandemic.

All University of Michigan students in the Ann Arbor area are being advised to stay in place as the Washtenaw County health department tries to contain a COVID-19 outbreak.

The outbreak involves a mutation of the COVID-19 virus which can spread more easily. 

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Five bowling alley owners are suing the state of Michigan over money lost from being closed by state orders concerning COVID-19.

Michigan bowling alleys were closed for most of the past year. Because of that, attorney David Kallman says his clients deserve to be compensated.

courtesy of Spectrum Health

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants Michigan to buy up to 100,000 of doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on its own.

The federal government already arranged to buy 200 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer, and it’s been coordinating distribution to the states.

But Governor Whitmer, along with governors from eight other states, says that process is taking too long.

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Michigan’s high school football playoffs resume this weekend.

The fall sports playoffs were shut down two months ago as COVID-19 surged in the state.

A spokesman for the Michigan High School Athletic Association is confident they will finish the playoffs this month.

“We haven’t spoken a word in our office about having this shut down again,” says Geoff Kimmerly.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

The state of Michigan is handing out face masks to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 3.5 million masks are being distributed through community organizations, including local Department of Health and Human Services offices, health departments, and Area Agency on Aging offices.

The latest pandemic milestone in Michigan: The state has now confirmed more than half a million cases of coronavirus.

On Monday the state added 4,992 new confirmed cases, a two-day total covering test results from both Saturday and Sunday.

That brings the total number since the start of the pandemic to 502,119.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan’s Big House is now a vaccination clinic. The football stadium that can hold more than 100,000 fans is, right now, center stage for vaccinating Michigan Medicine healthcare workers.

The healthcare system has been vaccinating frontline workers every day since December 21 at the main hospital in Ann Arbor, but it needed more space.

State health leaders say there's reason for “cautious optimism” that new cases of coronavirus appear to be declining.

The test positivity rate has plateaued. New cases have been dropping for two weeks. The number of deaths is still rising, but not as quickly as before.

Those are the reasons for optimism.

“The challenge here is making sure that people are wearing masks, maintaining their social distancing, so that we don’t see a second surge,” says Sarah Lyon-Callo, director of the state’s Bureau of Epidemiology.

Adobe Stock


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With Michigan experiencing another wave of COVID-19 cases, there’s a new campaign to get more African-Americans to mask up.

Tonya Adair is the Chief Impact officer for the United Way of Southeastern Michigan.  She says the United Way is partnering with the Harlem Children’s Zone on the campaign.


She says the campaign will include public service advertising and distribution of personal protective equipment in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

 Jerry Bishop is senior pastor at LifeQuest Urban Outreach Center in Grand Rapids. His ministry serves people in the heart of Grand Rapids, and he has a particular focus helping young Black men.

The virus has taken an immense toll on the community Jerry Bishop serves. Bishop says he’s presided over funerals for 21 people who’ve died of COVID. Click the link above to listen to his story.

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Michigan’s National Guard will continue to play an important role in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic into next year.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says the Trump administration has extended authorization for Guard members to receive federal pay and benefits through the end of March.  The authorization was scheduled to expire December 31.

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