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Coronavirus

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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.

courtesy of Spectrum Health

Hope.

A word that’s been in short supply in Michigan hospitals recently.

But now, just maybe, there's a sign of it.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Michigan declined slightly on Thursday, dropping to 3,793 adults with confirmed cases of the disease. The number is still below the peak number last seen in Michigan in the spring. But it represents a brief, welcome respite after a steep rise in cases that started in October.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit western counties in the Upper Peninsula hard this fall. The population of Delta County is about 36,000. There have been more than 2,500 cases of COVID-19 and 60 deaths.

Chris Anderson is with the Anderson Funeral Home in Escanaba’s downtown. He says the pandemic caught them by surprise. They did not see the surge of cases in the first wave of the infection in the spring.

Wayne County Airport Authority/Vito Palmisano

Traditionally, the Sunday after Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year.
 
State health department officials are urging Michiganders who attended large Thanksgiving gatherings to follow a few steps to avoid potentially spreading COVID-19.


an empty row of tables at a restaurant
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A lawsuit challenging Michigan’s temporary ban on indoor dining is set for a hearing in federal court Monday morning.


Michigan’s restaurant industry filed the suit after state health department officials imposed a three week ban on indoor dining November 15. The ban was imposed in response to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Michigan.

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Many Michigan store owners may be facing their “Blackest Friday” as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season comes amid the pandemic.

After months of slumping sales and businesses toppling into bankruptcy, Black Friday is offering a small beacon of hope.

In normal times, Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year, drawing millions of shoppers eager to get started on their holiday spending. But these are not normal times and crowds are expected to be dramatically diminished as coronavirus cases spike and shoppers do more of their purchases online.

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Michigan groups that provide meals for people who need them for Thanksgiving are having to make some changes this year due to COVID-19.

In Midland, Open Door executive director Renee Pettinger says her agency will be serving special Thanksgiving meals to hundreds of people.
  
She says because Open Door is not serving meals indoors, her agency is having added expenses.

Attorneys for the state of Michigan say a restaurant industry lawsuit is attempting to substitute a judge’s opinion for that of public health officials on COVID-19.

Last week, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association filed suit against the state’s order banning indoor dining for three weeks. 

The Kent County Health Department has issued a new health warning as new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise.

In recent weeks, Kent County has frequently had the most new daily confirmed cases of the virus of any county in the state. Health officer Adam London says more than 15% of COVID-19 tests in the county now come back positive.

“Our local infection rates have reached dangerous levels,” London said, in a release.

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A federal judge has denied a request from Michigan’s restaurant industry for an order blocking new state restrictions on indoor dining.

Last Sunday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a ban on indoor dining and drinking in Michigan bars and restaurants. The new restrictions are in reaction to a surge in COVID-19 cases. The ban took effect Wednesday. 


Brian Vernellis/Holland Sentinel

Eric Kumor has been a nurse for 10 years, but the last few weeks he finds himself having to gear up emotionally just to walk in the door to work.

Restaurant workings sanitizing tables while wearing masks.
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Michigan’s new COVID-19 order shuttering indoor service in bars and restaurants for three weeks is now being challenged in federal court.

The new rules were announced Sunday. The order will allow take-out, delivery, and outdoor dining only starting Wednesday.

The rules are intended to blunt a spike in COVID-19 cases in Michigan. 

Michigan’s surging COVID-19 case numbers are straining many local efforts to track down people who may be infected.

State health officials added another 12,763 confirmed coronavirus cases Monday, which also includes tests from Sunday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Michigan has recorded 264,576 COVID-19 cases. A total of 8,049 Michiganders have died from the illness. 

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Michigan State University will conduct a study into how to communicate the need for antibody tests for COVID-19 in communities that are often mistrustful of government health campaigns, and with good reason.

Courtesy of SEIU Healthcare Michigan

Inside Mercy Health’s gleaming new hospital tower along US-31 in Muskegon, four full floors are now filled with COVID-19 patients. More people are in the emergency room, waiting for beds to open up. Nurses are working grueling 16-hour shifts, racing between rooms, trying to keep up with the growing onslaught of sick patients.

“It has been so stressful and chaotic and heartbreaking, to say the least,” says one worker who helps treat COVID patients at Mercy Health Muskegon.

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Rev. Robert Teszlewicz was doing everything right. In the spring, he was off work, and followed the stay-at-home orders.

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Michigan State University’s legendary men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo has tested positive for COVID-19.

Izzo says he tested positive for the disease Monday. The coach says he has minor symptoms, but remains in "good health."

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan has reached a milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, with the state recording more than 200,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.  

Among the latest to test positive is a top state lawmaker.

State Senator Jim Ananich announced his positive test on Twitter.

The state of Michigan recorded a record high daily number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases Wednesday.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 4,101 new confirmed COVID cases on Wednesday. That’s the highest single day total since the outbreak began in March. The previous single day high was 3,782 on October 31.

State health department officials are imposing new limits on indoor gatherings to curb surging rates of COVID-19.  

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is dropping the number of people permitted at indoor gatherings from 500 to 50. This would apply to events like weddings. 

Emergency room hospital
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Confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Michigan, with 2,367 new cases reported on Tuesday. Over the past week, the state has hit a new peak for the average number of new daily cases, though deaths remain far below where they were in the spring. 

Health officials across the state have been urging people to take precautions to stop the spread of the virus: to put off gatherings, keep a distance from others and wear a mask.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

At least two top aides to Vice President Mike Pence have tested positive for COVID-19. This comes just days after the Vice President spoke to a Michigan crowd in Waterford Township, touting the Trump administration’s work to end the pandemic.

“President Trump’s actions suspending all travel from China saved untold American lives and bought us invaluable time to stand up the largest national mobilization since World War II,” Pence said.

green sign saying "no mask, no service" hanging on door to store
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

A group of Michigan doctors is calling on Republican state lawmakers to support a mask mandate and other COVID-19 precautions.

Last week, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an advisory opinion that could restrict Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s authority to issue emergency orders.

The Committee to Protect Medicare is a liberal advocacy group. It has been advocating for mandating face coverings and other restrictions in the face of the pandemic.

It’s Count Day for Michigan’s schools.

But this being 2020, it’s a little different this year.

Twice during the academic year, Michigan schools count the number of students in class. The resulting number determines how much state aid schools receive.

But with many students spending class time at the kitchen table instead of in the classroom, Count Day is going to be different this year. 

MDHHS

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is imposing new mask requirements, gathering limitations and restaurant capacity rules tied to COVID-19.

Last Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion that could restrict Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s authority to issue executive orders in response to the pandemic.

On Monday, state health department director Robert Gordon stepped into the void with an order of his own. Gordon says he is using authority unconnected to the court’s ruling to keep much of the governor’s coronavirus restrictions in place.

“Orders have helped to stem the spread of COVID. They have reduced the number of cases. They have saved lives,” Gordon told reporters on a conference call on Monday. “We need shared action through orders as much today as we did in March and April.”

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The Michigan Supreme Court has issued an opinion on months of orders by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that were aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

The court says Whitmer illegally drew authority from a 1945 law that doesn't apply. The court determined that the law was an "unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch in violation of the Michigan Constitution."

White House

Former Vice President Joe Biden started a campaign event in Grand Rapids Friday by saying he’s praying for President Donald Trump and the first lady.

“My wife Jill and I pray that they will make a full and complete recovery,” Biden told reporters, referring to the president’s positive test for COVID-19.

President Donald Trump will spend the next few days undergoing treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center.

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