COVID-19 | Michigan Radio


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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Today, on Stateside, revisiting our conversation with author Miles Harvey and his book “The King of Confidence.” Plus, an epidemiologist’s opinion of how the state is handling the COVID-19 surge. 

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A healthcare worker process a COVID-19 test at Beaumont.
Beaumont Health

The federal government won't be sending additional vaccines to Michigan. That's despite Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s efforts to secure more shots as cases and hospitalizations continue to increase.

Michigan even surpassed its winter peak of COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday.  

“I think if we tried to vaccinate our way out of what is happening in Michigan, we would be disappointed that it took so long for the vaccine to work to actually have the impact,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a briefing on the pandemic on Monday. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer elbow bumps a guest during a tour of the COVID-19 vaccine site at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center in Ypsilanti.
Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Monday a ban on most in-person office work will be extended, although largely as a measure to preserve the state’s options amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The order from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be extended by six months, she said, to give the state time to develop a more-comprehensive back-to-work plan.

man in a mask gets a vaccine from health care worker in a mask
Adobe Stock

People living in some Detroit and Hamtramck neighborhoods will get a chance to get a COVID-19 vaccine close to home this week and next. Mobile vaccination clinics at more than a dozen sites are set to start on Wednesday April 14, and run through the following Wednesday.

State and city health officials are targeting areas at higher risk for COVID based on factors like race, housing, and transportation. Detroit's vaccination rate has consistently lagged the state average.

Many area Muslims are preparing for their second Ramadan of the pandemic, with hope that the month of dawn-to-dusk fasting will be filled with the communal prayers and family gatherings they went without last year, as COVID-19 began to sweep the state.

Workers weary, patients angry, as COVID fills Michigan hospitals — again

Apr 9, 2021
Ryan Garza / Bridge Michigan

With an eye on his father’s bloodied face, Barry Jensen began punching numbers into his cell phone from the hospital emergency room.

close up of Gretchen Whitmer
Photo courtesy of

Today, on Stateside, why Governor Whitmer is holding off on new restrictions, even as COVID-19 cases surge. Plus, how the Latinx community in Washtenaw County came together to make vaccines more accessible to their neighbors.

man gets covid test
Adobe Stock

Northern Michigan public health officials said Thursday that the growing prevalence of the U.K. COVID-19 variant, which is more contagious than the original strain of the virus, is making outbreaks increasingly difficult to control.

Clusters of the virus are increasingly concentrated in younger members of the population, now that nearly 70% of people older than 75 are vaccinated in some counties, said Dr. Josh Meyerson, the medical director for three local health departments in the northern Lower Peninsula.

Michigan State University launches a student-only vaccine clinic

Apr 9, 2021
Michigan State Spartans
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University is launching a student only vaccine clinic beginning Friday. 3,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are being made available to students by appointment only.

Mary Stout is a senior at MSU and the director of Health, Safety and Wellness for the undergraduate student government at the university. She says she’s encouraged by the university’s focus on accessibility.

Gretchen Whitmer wearing black mask in pink coat receives shot from doctor in white coat.
State of Michigan

Michigan is facing some of the nation’s worst COVID-19 numbers. Governor Gretchen Whitmer acknowledges it’s becoming harder to get a restriction-weary public to follow health orders.

So, instead, she’s trying to persuade vaccine skeptics to get their shots.

Several Michigan hospitals postpone surgical procedures because of COVID-19 surge

Apr 8, 2021
Katherine Raymond / Michigan Radio

As a third, intense coronavirus wave bears down on Michigan, several hospital leaders from around the state said Thursday they have no choice but to postpone some surgical procedures to ensure they have the capacity to care for the crush of sick COVID-19 patients coming through their doors.


Michigan continues to lead the country in dismal COVID-19 indicators, according to a Wednesday update by the state's Department of Health and Human Services. The state update used data as of April 3. 


Over the past week, Michigan has had the highest number of cases and the highest case rate in the country.

testing swab
Shutterstock image

High school basketball finals are happening this week in Michigan.

That’s despite the fact that the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has recommended that Michigan, among other states, restrict indoor youth sports.

Mercedes Mejia

Today on Stateside, COVID-19 and the threat to schools as many districts approach the remaining weeks of the school year. Then, a new PBS documentary about Ernest Hemingway highlights how summers in northern Michigan influenced his writing. And, while transcribing letters about Hemingway, students uncover the unfortunate story of Marjorie Bump.

Oakland University Campus
Oakland University

Any Oakland University student living in on-campus housing this fall will need to be get the COVID-19 vaccine before fall move-in in August. Students can get an exception for a religious or medical reason.

Bob Murphy is the chief policy officer at the Michigan Association of State Universities. He says although Oakland may be the first state university to have some sort of vaccine mandate, it won't be the last.

The Old Main building at Wayne State University
Wikimedia Commons

Wayne State University is putting classes and sports on hold, as COVID-19 rates surge in Detroit and across the state.

The 10-day pause will begin Wednesday. Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson said it’s necessary because average weekly COVID-19 positivity rates in Detroit have soared above 15%, the university’s trigger metric for in-person learning.

A nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine during a drive-thru clinic.
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, a small number of fully vaccinated people are still getting sick. That’s not necessarily cause for alarm. Plus, a conversation with poet Thomas Lynch about his new collection of poems and navigating the grief of his daughter’s death. And a citizen science project helps make data about Michigan’s lakes and aquatic wildlife more accessible.

a little girl roller skating on a road with sunlight streaming behind her
Vahe / Adobe Stock

In the introduction to his latest collection of writing, titled "Bone Rosary," poet Thomas Lynch writes:

“Never in my life did the sky seem to be falling from all four corners as it seems to now—pandemic, racial injustice, economic collapse, climate change—nor has the body politic, the culture at large, ever seemed so in cahoots as a co-morbidity.”

Emergency room hospital

Today on Stateside, state Senator Ed McBroom defends a controversial package of election bills making their way through the state legislature. Plus, Black farmers who are teaching their communities about growing their own food. And, an ER doctor about the potential new surge and its impact on hospitals.

Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

Two of Michigan’s biggest school districts are taking a post-spring break break from in-person learning.

It’s a precautionary measure that Dearborn Public Schools and the Detroit Public Schools Community District will hope stem the spread of COVID-19, as cases spike again in Michigan. Both districts will temporarily return to virtual learning this week.

beaumont hospital wayne exterior
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

More than 2,600 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 as of April 2, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. 


That's more than three times as many people who were hospitalized in Michigan just a month ago. 


Lukas Souza via

Please don't travel over Spring Break this year. And no matter what, get tested before you come back to class. That's the message from school administrators and health experts across Michigan this week, amidst a statewide surge in cases.

More than 60 new school-related COVID-19 outbreaks were reported on Monday. That's on top of an additional 181 K-12 school outbreaks already being monitored,  leaving many scrambling to get out in front of a potential break-related case spike.

With many Michigan schools either coming back from, or heading into, break this week, the state health department’s rolling out a series of pop-up COVID-19 testing clinics in hopes of catching outbreaks before they start.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

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.

New leadership of Bay Mills Indian Community
Bay Mills Indian Community

For the first time in the tribe’s history, the Bay Mills Indian Community will have a tribal council made up entirely of women. 

“For me, I really see that as the progress of our tribal nation moving forward in healing from prior colonization, that we have suffered from. A lot of our traditional structures that have matriarchal forms of government, matriarchal leadership, that were involved and kept a balance within our community,” said newly-elected chairwoman Whitney Gravelle

Linda Heard receives her COVID vaccine during a drive-thru clinic in Ypsilanti at New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church.
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Spring Quiñones was getting goosebumps, watching one person after another walk into the middle of this large classroom-turned-COVID-19 vaccine clinic, at St. Francis of Assisi church in Ann Arbor.

“Oh my god, it’s hitting me!” she laughed. Some 200 people had appointments at this March 16 pop-up clinic for Spanish-speakers. And getting it off the ground hadn’t been easy.

Over the course of two weeks in March, Washtenaw County health officials say they leaned heavily on community leaders and activists to organize a series of specialized vaccine clinics aimed at minorities.

And based on preliminary data from the county, it may have actually worked.

A healthcare worker process a COVID-19 test at Beaumont.
Beaumont Health

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says it has identified the first case of the P.1 COVID-19 variant in a Bay County resident.

The P.1 variant, which originated in Brazil, is the second new variant of the virus found in Michigan. The B.1.1.7 variant, known as the U.K. variant, has been spreading through the state since it was first identified in February.

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA)
Bytemarks / Flickr -

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed COVID-19 relief bills into law in December, and one of those bills extended unemployment benefits through March 31. Now, those benefits are set to expire.

For one, not being able to work due to COVID-19 will no longer be a valid reason to claim state unemployment benefits. Those who are eligible for federal unemployment benefits would still be able to collect it for COVID-related reasons.

a line of people waiting in a drab beige hallway to get the covid-19 vaccine
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s TCF Center will soon be giving out around 8,000 COVID-19 vaccinations every day, Mayor Mike Duggan announced on Wednesday.

The city is already administering about 5,000 shots a day through TCF’s drive-thru vaccination site, and will continue to do so.