COVID-19 | Michigan Radio
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COVID-19

As confirmed cases of COVID-19 surge in Michigan, Michigan Radio will be tracking stories about the people impacted, how our healthcare system is faring, what it means for our economy, and more. You can find all of our latest coverage below, or click here to see the latest update of COVID-19 cases and deaths. The feed below also includes national coverage of COVID-19 from NPR.

This is ongoing coverage. 

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DONFIORE / ADOBE STOCK

Michigan’s COVID-19 cases continue to plateau, hospitalizations continue to decline, and the seven-day average percentage of tests coming back positive fell to 7.6% over the week ending January 16.

Those are three takeaways from an epidemiology update hosted Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

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.

Master Sgt. David Eichaker / Air National Guard

COVID-19 vaccinations are moving slowly for the thousands of corrections officers and other staff in state prisons.

Health care workers in prisons have first priority, but in some counties, those vaccinations have just started. The rest of prison staff, including corrections officers, are next in line for scarce vaccines.

governor gretchen whitmer standing at a podium
michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is urging the state’s Republican-led Legislature to pass her $5.6 billion COVID-19 relief plan. The bills include tax breaks for businesses and money for food and rent assistance.

Whitmer says she plans to dedicate $575 million in federal money for the state’s pandemic response and vaccination rollout.

a woman in scrubs puts on gloves in front of a car
Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says that there are over 12,000 appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations scheduled at the TCF Center in Detroit in the coming weeks. The city wants to do even more, but doesn't know if it can count on a consistent number of doses.

"Everybody is having a tough week. In Detroit, we expected to get 9 to 10 thousand this week. We got 6000. We can work with 6000, but it is not what we had hoped to try to keep expanding eligibility," Duggan said in a press conference Tuesday.

ADOBE STOCK

From southwest Michigan to the Upper Peninsula, rural health departments are warning residents of a “severely limited” vaccine supply, “a high volume of calls,” and “full capacity for our clinics.”

What that's meant for Steve Hall, health officer at the Central Michigan District Health Department, is having to continually “shift on the fly.”

ADOBE STOCK

COVID-19 vaccinations will begin at a handful of Meijer pharmacies in Wayne County this week.

Prioritizing patients who are 65 or older, Meijer expects to give shots to 1,950 people — two shipments' worth of Pfizer doses — within a few days of receiving the doses.

Meijer’s director of corporate communications Frank Guglielmi says those shipments should arrive early this week.

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

A new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been identified in Michigan, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced on Saturday.

The new variant, B.1.1.7, was identified in an adult woman from Washtenaw County. She had recently traveled to the United Kingdom, where the variant was first identified. MDHHS says the woman’s close contacts have been notified and are in quarantine. Two of those contacts have tested positive for COVID-19, though it’s unclear if they have the B.1.1.7 variant.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Michigan — so far — has not seen a large spike in COVID-19 cases since the winter holidays.

 

“While I am concerned about the slight uptick in cases after the holidays, we are not seeing the surge of hospitalization that we saw in the beginning of November,” Michigan’s chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said at a press conference Jan. 13.

silhouette of mom holding hands of two kids in front of sunset sky
Serjik Ahkhundov / Adobe Stock

Kent County shelters are seeing more families experiencing homelessness as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Family Promise in Grand Rapids usually houses 30 to 40 families a night during the winter. This year, they're providing shelter to twice that amount. The families are staying in hotels, with many people working and going to school remotely.

Updated 5:06 p.m. ET

On Friday afternoon, President-Elect Joe Biden shared a detailed plan to tackle the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, promising to fight the pandemic with "the full strength of the federal government."

In a speech in Delaware, Biden laid out his five-part plan for how to speed up the vaccination campaign: Open up vaccine eligibility to more people; create more vaccination sites; increase vaccine supply; hire a vaccination workforce; and launch a large-scale public education campaign.

a woman in scrubs puts on gloves in front of a car
Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

Detroit launched its first major COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Wednesday at a drive-thru clinic set up in the garage of the TCF Center. City health officials made 400 appointments for Detroit seniors, teachers, and childcare providers.

“I'm an active person,” said Francena Dudely, an 87-year-old lifelong Detroiter, who was among those vaccinated. “I want to be able to get out a little bit and even if I still have to wear a mask, I will feel more comfortable.”

vaccinator giving someone a covid vaccine through the window their car
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

It'll be May, the state estimates, before Michigan can open up COVID-19 vaccines to the next wave of people. But if Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail could somehow get her hands on 83,000 doses of the vaccine – one for each of the county's currently eligible frontline workers, as well people older than 65 – she’s pretty sure she could get all those shots in arms in, say, three weeks.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Michigan Economic Development Corporation

More than $58 million in state money will soon be available to small businesses and entertainment venues that have suffered economically because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Small businesses can apply for the one-time grants from the Michigan Small Business Relief Program.

We're No. 33! Or are we? How Michigan tracks COVID-19 vaccines could cost us

Jan 14, 2021
syringes in a blue basket
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The federal government gave states even more incentive this week to make sure they're getting COVID-19 shots injected into arms as quickly as possible.

States that don't efficiently immunize their people — and report the data accurately — won't get as many doses of COVID-19 vaccines as states that do. The change in the way vaccines are being distributed comes as the virus continues to spread across the nation, filling hospital beds and killing people at a record pace.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Indoor gyms will be allowed to re-open and non-contact sports can resume under a new Department of Health and Human Services order – as long as mask and distancing protocols are followed. That will take effect Saturday.

But indoor dining at restaurants is still not allowed.

students and teachers in masks in classroom
Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, Governor Whitmer said last week she is hoping schools will be able to reopen in-person classes by March. She also announced that K- 12 school teachers are among the groups who can get the COVID-19 vaccinations. We talk about how that process will begin. And, we continue our look at Betsy Devos' legacy after her resignation from her position as Secreatary of Education. Plus, we’ll discuss yesterday’s news that former Governor Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water crisis.

COURTESY OF SPECTRUM HEALTH

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that it will release millions of doses of the COVID vaccine to states.

The move comes after a letter was sent to the department last week, in which Governor Gretchen Whitmer and eight other governors requested that the federal government distribute vaccines being held back by the Trump Administration. 

Today on Stateside, a new cohort of Michiganders are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. We break down the logistical issues surrounding getting the shots. Plus, state lawmakers have banned the open carrying of weapons in Michigan’s Capitol building following the insurrection in Washington D.C.

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.

C/O Spectrum Health

“Extreme call volumes.” Crashing servers. Cancellations. And one county says it’s been completely wiped out of vaccine supply by Monday afternoon. 

The airplane is being built as we fly it here, folks.

That’s the message from hospitals and local health officials around the state Monday, as they started (or in some cases, tried to start) vaccinating people 65 and older, as well as some essential workers.

Henry Ford Health System ends hydroxychloroquine study

Jan 11, 2021
Adobe Stock

Promoted in April as the first large-scale drug study on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine to protect against COVID-19, the Detroit-based clinical trial has quietly been iced.

Henry Ford Health System officials told Bridge Michigan they could not find enough participants to continue studying whether the drug could help beat back the deadly pandemic.

students and teachers in masks in classroom
Adobe Stock

The state of Michigan wants students to have a chance to come back to their classrooms in less than two months. The state's largest teachers union supports the plan, but wants some assurances.

a group of women on yoga mats in an exercise class
Unsplash

Being more physically fit may protect you from having severe COVID-19, according to a new study from Henry Ford Health System.

Researchers looked at patients who had taken an exercise stress test over the past four years, and were also diagnosed with COVID-19. That was about 250 people.

ADOBE STOCK

Vaccinations are underway at Michigan’s long-term care facilities. Data from CVS show the pharmacy had distributed over 20,000 doses as of Friday.

Walgreens doesn’t provide the same state-level data, but says it expects to administer all first doses for those residents and staff who want them by January 25.

DONFIORE / ADOBE STOCK

Health officials believe that if it hasn't already, a new and apparently more contagious variant of the coronavirus will soon land in Michigan. 

Two labs are on the lookout.

The state lab in Lansing and a research lab at the University of Michigan are actively sequencing genetic material from positive COVID-19 test samples to see if the variant — which was first identified in the U.K., and appears to spread more quickly — is present.

Hands gripping jail cell bars
maxpixel

Michigan's guidelines for prioritization of the COVID-19 vaccine includes staff in correctional facilities and homeless shelters in its early phases, but not inmates and people living in homeless shelters.

That's a concern for the ACLU of Michigan, who released a memo this week asking the state to reconsider these groups to include residents of homeless shelters and inmates in Michigan's prisons and jails.

Kandace Day

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is now regularly releasing data about cases of an inflammatory condition that has affected some children who were, according to the state website, “infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19.”

There have been 58 confirmed cases in Michigan since April, according to a January 7 update. That is 15 more cases reported since the mid-December update. Their ages range from zero to 20.

governor gretchen whitmer standing at a podium
michigan.gov

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is strongly encouraging all K-12 schools in Michigan to reopen for some in-person instruction by March 1. The move comes as the state is set to offer the coronavirus vaccine to teachers starting next week.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

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.

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