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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prison bars
Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Oakland County has won an appeal in a lawsuit brought by inmates in the county jail. The lawsuit was related to conditions at the Oakland County jail during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the lawsuit, inmates said they weren’t provided soap and disinfectant to clean surfaces and shared items, and that it was impossible to follow social distancing guidelines.

Unsplash / Paul Bergmeir

Today on Stateside, a conversation with the founder of Detroit’s Concert of Colors about the world music festival’s switch to broadcast-and-webcast-only later this year. Also, in light of Governor Whitmer’s new executive order calling for the use of masks in all public spaces, an epidemiologist provides some tips for adjusting to life during a pandemic. 

rollercoaster at Cedar Point
Coasterman1234 / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Ah, to spend a hot summer day at the theme park. Roller coasters, funnel cakes and… face masks? For Cedar Point, an Ohio amusement park long beloved by Michiganders, that’s a hard yes—starting this weekend.

Adobe Stock

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is toughening a requirement to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic, mandating that businesses open to the public deny service or entry to customers who refuse to wear one.

hands under pouring water
mrjn Photography / Unsplash

The ACLU and other civil rights groups are suing the city of Detroit and others over Detroit’s water shutoffs.

Detroit has shut off water service to around 100,000 homes since 2014 for non-payment. Close to 25,000 homes were disconnected in 2019.

Indiana Michigan football game
Creative Commons larrysphatpage

The Big Ten Conference won't play nonconference games in football or other sports this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are facing uncertain and unprecedented times, and the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, game officials, and others associated with our sports programs and campuses remain our number one priority,” says the Big Ten said in a statement.

angie reyes of the DHDC speaks at the detroit hispanic development corporation
Screenshot from the City of Detroit

Detroit’s Immigration Task Force is partnering with community organizations to distribute $750,000 in COVID-19 assistance to undocumented immigrants in Detroit. Undocumented immigrants were largely not eligible for the $1,200 stimulus checks many received as a result of the CARES Act. The $750,000 comes in the form of a grant from the Open Society Foundation.

 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a directive that will require health care professionals to be trained in ways to guard against bias as a condition of being licensed or re-licensed to practice.

She says that will include courses offered by state-licensed medical schools.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Michigan schools could face an even worse substitute teacher shortage because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state released guidelines last month outlining students’ return to in-person learning in classrooms, which specifies face coverings and physical distancing requirements.

green field with two white barns on it
David Cassleman / Interlochen Public Radio

The state will open up applications for the Michigan Agricultural Safety Grant Program next week. They’re meant to promote worker safety through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program will provide $15 million in total: $10 million to food processors, and another $5 million to farms. The money can be used for things like personal protective equipment, employee testing for COVID-19, safety upgrades for farm-provided housing, or facility improvements, like installing plexi-glass barriers.

money beside art equipment
Victoria М / Adobe Stock

  

Today on Stateside, developments in the cases surrounding the death of 16-year-old Cornelius Fredericks at a youth facility in Kalamazoo. Also, how systemic racism impacts the mental health of Black Americans. Plus, Michigan is challenging how the U.S Department of Education is allocating coronavirus relief money.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has extended a moratorium on water service shutoffs for non-payment through the end of the year.

The new executive order continues earlier protections against water shutoffs for non-payment.

The order also requires public water utilities to try to find customers who’ve lost service for non-payment.

$100 bills
Tomasz Zajda / Adobe Stock

Nearly nine in ten of the more than 121,000 Michigan businesses that have received forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program did not answer voluntary questions about race and ethnicity.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Every weekday at 2 p.m., 81-year-old Gladys Acklin settles into her couch to watch the soap opera “General Hospital.” 

“We both like Sonny,” she says. “He’s the mobster.... And his hit man Jason. We like him too. We like all the crooks.” 

 

When Ms. Acklin says we, she’s including Jean Reinbold, a social worker, but also a friend. Since the lockdown began back in March, Reinbold has been calling Ms. Acklin, who lives alone, quite a lot. 

MDOC

Corrections officers at Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian are mourning the death of one of their own from COVID-19.

Randy Rumler worked at the facility for 24 years. His local union rep, Mike Lennox, says Rumler was a family man, who was always there to help when people needed help.  

Lennox says everyone who worked with him is shocked and upset.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan colleges and universities are scrambling to figure out what a new federal government rule means for their international students.

That comes after the government’s announcement this week that the government will no longer issue student visas to foreign students whose universities go to online-only classes.

Shelly and Cory von Achen
Shelly and Cory von Achen

Big celebrations like graduation parties, family reunions, and of course weddings, are looking very different this year. Some engaged couples have chosen to postpone their weddings, others have had to reimagine their ceremonies and receptions to fit COVID-19 safety regulations.

Today on Stateside, a conversation with the director of Michigan State University’s Office for International Students and Scholars about the State Department’s decision to withhold visas from international students who are enrolled in programs that won’t be offering in-person instruction this fall due to COVID-19. Also, one Michigan town makes a play to become part of the aerospace future.

(Subscribe to Stateside on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or with this RSS link)

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun at a news conference with Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
michigan.gov

As Michigan begins to reopen, some counties have seen spikes in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. Some people are worried that these recent spikes will send the state back into a shutdown before the summer is over. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Expect to see people collecting signatures soon on a petition to repeal the Michigan law that's given Governor Gretchen Whitmer broad emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board of State Canvassers approved language for the petition Monday.

illustration of nurses and doctors wearing PPE
Kevin Kobsic / United Nations / Unsplash

Michigan’s COVID-19 caseload has been on a rollercoaster for the past few weeks. We spoke with Michigan's medical director Joneigh Khaldun for an update. Plus, researchers at Michigan State University are working on cultivating the ever elusive morel mushrooms. And, we kick off our summer series about how systemic racism shapes the world around us with a conversation about healthcare.

people signing petitions
Fraitag.de / Adobe Stock

The Board of State Canvassers will consider two petitions Monday, both related to Governor Gretchen Whitmer's use of emergency powers during the pandemic.

One petition is sponsored by a single individual, Michael Garabelli. It seeks to recall the governor for some of her actions during the coronavirus crisis, including an executive order that prohibited evicting residents from long-term care nursing facilities.

SJ Objio/Unsplash

Hospitals will be inspected by state officials in the coming weeks to ensure they’re providing staff with sufficient personal protective equipment, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced last week.

This comes after the state’s received reports of at least 15 hospital workers whose deaths were potentially linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The “state emphasis program” will “increase MIOSHA’s presence in hospitals to enforce the requirement to provide appropriate PPE to protect hospital staff and ensure they can continue to care for those most in need,” the agency said in a public statement. 

For the first time since the earliest days of the pandemic, Michigan reported no COVID-19 deaths on a single day on Sunday.

Since mid-March, not a day has gone by in Michigan without at least one death attributed to COVID-19. 

But the official state tally of coronavirus cases on Sunday contained no new deaths.

Since March, state health officials have confirmed 5,972 deaths linked to COVID-19.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Fourth of July is going to look a little different this year.

man getting a haircut
Canva

Thursday, Michigan reported its highest single daily COVID-19 case number since May.

State health officials reported 543 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday. It’s a big jump in daily numbers over recent weeks. It’s the biggest single day increase since May 29.

There has been rising concerns about potential COVID-19 hot spots around the state.

Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Early treatment with hydroxychloroquine cut the death rate significantly in certain sick patients hospitalized with COVID-19 — and without heart-related side-effects, according to a new study published by Henry Ford Health System. 

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

Researchers at Beaumont Health have developed a new test that can detect COVID-19 in urine, saliva, and blood. Test results take 30-45 minutes, and don’t require expensive lab equipment to be processed.

Laura Lamb is one of the researchers who worked on developing the test. She says the accuracy of the test was one of the most important considerations. Lamb says the test is very accurate.

 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is shutting down indoor bar service in lower Michigan to slow the spread of coronavirus.

But for some bar owners, it could be “last call.”

The governor signed the executive order Wednesday to combat a rise in COVID-19 cases.  

Michigan hospitals hardest hit by coronavirus get $850M, say they need more

Jul 1, 2020
Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Seven large Michigan health systems hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak have received more than $850 million in federal fundsaccording to federal data. The funds are meant to patch budget holes suffered by providers in “high-impact” areas. 

But hospitals — some of which have laid off thousands of workers in recent months — maintain the money falls far short of what’s needed to make up for losses. Some, in fact, continued this week to cut staff.

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