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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steve carmody / Michigan Radio

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.


Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration on Sunday ordered high schools and colleges to stop in-person classes, closed restaurants to indoor dining and suspended organized sports — including the football playoffs — in a bid to curb the state’s spiking coronavirus cases.

Junfu Han / Detroit Free Press

Michigan marked its worst week yet in the coronavirus pandemic as 44,019 people were newly diagnosed and 416 died.

The unprecedented surge sparked a cascade of school and college campus closures, along with shuttered city halls in Warren and Grosse Pointe and a warning from some hospital systems that they're nearing capacity as sick patients flood emergency rooms.


Today on Stateside, COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the state. We check in with an Upper Peninsula health department about the outbreak’s impact in the area. Also, U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-13th) on Election Day results and the needs of her district. Plus, new music from a Flint singer-songwriter and musician.

Sparrow Hospital entrance in Lansing
Allen Neighborhood Center / Creative Commons

Update, Monday November 16: After a weekend that was "incrementally better" than expected in terms of COVID-19 patient admissions, Sparrow leadership now believe the Lansing hospital will reach full capacity around Thanksgiving, rather than this week. As of Monday, Sparrow was at 81% capacity with 136 COVID patients, according to the state's census. 

"You never know what will happen day to day," says Sparrow spokesperson John Foren. "The latest I saw was conceivably Thanksgiving week. It'll be day to day." 

Rashida Tlaib with supporters
Rashida Tlaib for Congress website

Rashida Tlaib just got re-elected to her second term in Congress. She’s packed a lifetime into those two years. Part of a vibrant class of incoming freshman Democrats who helped shape politics during a critical election cycle. Now, she’s trying to meet the needs of the 13th district during a pandemic, and subsequent economic slide that erased many of the gains of the last decade.

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.


The Michigan High School Athletic Association has forced an Upper Peninsula varsity football team to forfeit tonight's game.

That's after Pickford Public Schools held an emergency meeting Thursday evening to release players from quarantine, so they could play in the  Friday night game that was scheduled against Indian Lakes Schools.  

Pickford Public Schools is in Chippewa County, which is experiencing a big outbreak of COVID-19.

The Pickford Panthers were State Champions last year in the 8 player 2nd division. This year they were in Division one.

beaumont hospital wayne exterior
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

One of Michigan's largest hospital systems is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Beaumont Health operates eight hospitals in Michigan. It joins Henry Ford and Trinity health systems, who raised their minimum wages last month. The wage bump comes as cases of COVID-19 accelerate across the state.

Michigan House of Representatives

The abrupt cancellation of Thursday's House floor session and committee meetings has Democratic leaders questioning their Republican counterparts as to what is going on.  

Republican House leaders say the sudden cancellation was because there was "nothing immediately time sensitive up for a vote on the floor." 

Emergency room hospital

Today on Stateside, some analysis of the growing stack of lawsuits Donald Trump’s campaign has filed to overturn election results in Michigan. Also, Some of Michigan’s Republicans are less than enchanted with the prospect of what their party has become under Donald Trump.

gretchen whitmer and joneigh khaldun sitting at table
State of Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, along with Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, will be giving an update on COVID-19 in Michigan at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday. You can watch their comments in the live video below.  

Kids wearing masks at computers
Mediteraneo / Adobe Stock

Michigan's largest school district will suspend in-person classes next week, joining other districts that have shifted to online-only classes as coronavirus cases rise significantly around the state.

courtesy of Spectrum Health

West Michigan’s hospitals are once again being forced to postpone surgeries and other inpatient medical procedures as the number of people infected with the coronavirus continues to skyrocket in the region.

Eric Seals / Detroit Free Press

Michigan’s coronavirus cases just keep going up, as the state broke yet another record for the number of COVID-19 cases reported in one day on Tuesday.

That daily number was 6,473. Over the past week, the state has reported on average more than 5,000 new confirmed cases per day. Those numbers are far higher than we ever saw in the spring, when COVID-19 testing was far more limited.

Jos Campau Historic District in Hamtramck, Michigan.
Andrew Jameson / Wikimedia Commons

The COVID-19 pandemic has closed the Hamtramck city clerk’s office, after City Clerk August Gitschlag and two employees tested positive for the disease.

The office closed on Monday. Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski told the Detroit Free Press that for the time being, all clerk-related business will be handled through the city manager’s office. Hamtramck city hall remains open.

young people with masks drinking
Adobe Stock

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

Ryan Garza for the Detroit Free Press

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

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."

Emergency room hospital

Today on Stateside, we talked to Congressman-elect Peter Meijer who is getting ready to succeed Justin Amash as the representative for Michigan's 3rd Congressional District. Also, we hear about how one hospital in West Michigan is grappling with a steep rise in cases there. 

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

The public health capacity to deal with contact tracing of COVID-19 cases is becoming overwhelmed, according to Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, Communications and Health Promotion Administrator for the Washtenaw County Health Department.

She says her staff is exhausted, after working overtime and weekends for months.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flu shot clinics are scheduled at baseball stadiums in Detroit and Lansing Monday and Tuesday. It’s part of a push to get millions of Michiganders vaccinated.

On Friday, state health officials reported nearly 2.4 million Michiganders have received their influenza vaccine this season. The state is more than halfway towards its goal of 4.2 million flu vaccinations. Last year more than three million Michiganders got their flu shot.

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.

coronavirus symptoms sheet
Adobe Stock

Ottawa County says it can no longer trace all the contacts for people who test positive for COVID-19. There are just too many cases.

In the past two weeks alone, the Ottawa County Health Department says it’s identified a “staggering” number of new cases – 2,200 in all.

Emergency room hospital

Today on Stateside, the Michigan Republican Party issued a number of unsubstantiated claims against election proceedings in Detroit this week. But on a county by county level, Michigan’s elections appear to have run remarkably smoothly. We check in with a county clerk about how the tabulation process went. Also, a reporter discusses an Upper Peninsula hospital’s preparations for another COVID-19 surge. 

A small hospital in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula braces for COVID

Nov 6, 2020
a hospital hallway with people at the end of it
Robin Erb / Bridge

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge eastward through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the reality at tiny War Memorial Hospital can be counted on the fingers of hospital CEO David Jahn.

Six. That’s the number of intensive care beds at War Memorial. On Thursday, five of those beds were filled; one with a COVID patient.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Across the state, more than 1,200 people in Michigan prisons are infected right now. Almost all of them are in four prisons: Marquette, Newberry, and two facilities in Ionia.

Chris Gautz is the spokesperson for the Department of Corrections. He says only a handful have had to be hospitalized.

woman wearing mask
Wikimedia Commons

If the spread of COVID-19 continues at its current trajectory in Michigan, the state is on track to see an average of 100 deaths per day by the end of December, Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, the state’s Chief Medical Executive, said at a press briefing Thursday.


Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law Thursday that will give people more information about COVID-19’s impact on nursing homes. 

Starting November 15, the law requires the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to post weekly reports with information such as current visitation policies and the number of new cases and deaths among residents and staff.