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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The city of Detroit's health department is investigating a large COVID-19 outbreak at the Whole Foods store.

Twenty-three of the store's 196 workers have tested positive so far.

Denise Fair is Detroit's Chief Public Health Officer. She calls the outbreak "outrageous," and says it raises questions about Whole Foods' internal practices.

woman in personal protection equipment talking to woman in wheelchair
Wikimedia Commons

Michiganders aged 18-64 with disabilities are currently in group 1C in terms of priority for the COVID-19 vaccine. Disability rights activists are asking the state to move them to group 1B, along with the support staff and other people who provide them care.

In a letter to the governor and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition asked Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director Elizabeth Hertel to consider moving the group.

Pevos / MLive

Today, on Stateside, an update on the dramatic turn of events on Thursday as gymnastics coach John Geddert died by suicide rather than face charges of human trafficking. In other news, some in the state Legislature want to change the rules around which communities get more COVID-19 vaccines.

The University of Michigan football stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, two-thirds of Washtenaw County's COVID-19 cases are affiliated with the University of Michigan. A campus health official discusses efforts to curb the spread of the virus. Also, a look at Michigan’s possible future as a haven for those escaping the worst effects of climate change.

Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

 

A group of second-graders walked to their classroom at William Ford Elementary School in Dearborn following flourescent arrows on the floor to guide them on how much distance to keep between one another. 

“Remember, as you're walking, you're looking down at the arrows and then you're getting too close,” Mariam Albachachy, a second grade teacher, tells her students as they make their way to their classroom after months of online learning. 

Republican state lawmakers are raising questions about the Democratic governor’s policies concerning COVID-19 and Michigan’s long-term care and nursing homes.

Since the outbreak began a year ago, about a third of Michigan's 15,453 coronavirus-related deaths were people in long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday that many of the state’s COVID-19 data trends are moving in the right direction, and that more restrictions on nursing home visits could be lifted soon.

Spectrum Health

Today on Stateside, the state and Michigan’s counties try to get on the same page, tracking who’s getting vaccinated by race. Also, naming the violence - and the fear - Asian Americans are living with during the pandemic. Plus, a snapshot of what college life is like during this pandemic year. 

A sign of the University of Michigan Central Campus
Anna Schlutt / Michigan Radio

During the past year, many universities have seen high rates of COVID-19 on or around their campuses. Academic institutions in Michigan and throughout the U.S. have faced challenging questions and criticism with regard to their decision-making in an unprecedented public health crisis. And often, university students and their behaviors — like attending social gatherings or even simply living in group housing — have played a role in spreading the virus at their schools.

ADOBE STOCK

The Livingston County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution at its meeting Monday night, criticizing the state's use of the CDC's social vulnerability index in determining COVID-19 vaccine allocation and calling on the state to retract the plan.

The resolution claims that the state's use of the index is disproportionately hurtful to Livingston County seniors. It says that the population at biggest risk of contracting COVID-19, according to experts, is senior citizens, particularly those with underlying health conditions.

Phil Roeder, Flickr Creative Commons

Well, we now know a bit more about the racial disparity in Michigan’s vaccination rollout so far. But not much.

And that’s frustrating, because if the CDC’s numbers are any indicator, the same communities that were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 (especially Black communities) are getting short shrift so far when it comes to receiving the vaccines. 

On Tuesday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services finally released the racial data it’s been collecting about the 1.2 million people who’ve received at least one dose of the vaccine so far. (Most states have already released at least some information about race.)

President Joe Biden
White House press office

Friday in Portage, near Kalamazoo, President Joe Biden talked about the effort to produce and deliver vaccines to people in Michigan and across the country.

Biden spoke after touring the Pfizer production facility. It's been producing millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine since December.

“I came here because I want the American people to understand the extraordinary, extraordinary work that is being done to undertake the most difficult operational challenges this nation has ever faced,” President Biden said.

Steven Cornfield via Unsplash

If COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up as promised in the next few months, half of all adults in Michigan could be fully vaccinated by the end of May, the state epidemiologist said this week.

 

Currently, more than 1.6 million administered doses have been reported to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, with 13.7% of eligible residents having received at least their first dose. That’s up from 11.6% last week, state epidemiologist Sarah Lyon-Callo said at a press conference earlier this week.

Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

 


Updated April 6, 2021 at 4:17 PM ET

Eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine has rapidly expanded in recent weeks. In the vast majority of states, all adults are now eligible to get vaccinated. And President Biden is urging the remaining states to open up eligibility by April 19. But how are you supposed to sign up?

 


State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said again Wednesday the Legislature’s Republican leaders are failing to bargain on a COVID-19 plan for Michigan.

The governor said so during an online news conference.

At issue on the deadlock is how to spend $5 billion in federal COVID response funds, and back-to-school plans, restrictions on businesses, and GOP calls for new limits on executive authority to issue emergency health orders.

Prison fence barbed wire
Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has identified 90 cases of the new coronavirus variant at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, in Ionia. 

Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility is where the first known case of the new variant was found in Michigan prisons last Tuesday. According to a Michigan Department of Corrections email, an employee had the variant. 

Health experts say the new coronavirus variant, B.1.1.7 that originated from the United Kingdom, is more contagious than the original strain. 

Adobe Stock

Henry Ford Health System is recruiting people 60 and older to be part of a new clinical trial looking at whether Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, which requires just a single dose, is even more effective when two doses are given. 

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are already in use, require two doses to be fully effective.

unemployement insurance form on a clipboard
Vitalii Vodolazskyi / Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, frustrated Michiganders try to navigate an unemployment system overwhelmed by pandemic job losses. Plus, a Detroit festival celebrates the food of the African diaspora.

COURTESY OF SPECTRUM HEALTH

Beaumont Health has canceled some scheduled second doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, citing an unexpected shortage of doses from the state.

Beaumont announced Monday that it would cancel 1,884 second dose appointments scheduled for Thursday.

Adobe Stock

On March 1, tens of thousands of Michiganders will be added to the growing pool of those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the state health department announced Monday. An estimated 79,000 workers in the food processing and agricultural industries will be eligible as part of the “1B” category, making them the latest group to become eligible.

Healthcare workers, teachers and childcare workers, corrections workers, and those who work in group living settings (like homeless shelters and foster homes) are already eligible, as well as anyone over the age of 65.

At least 67 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 (also known as the “U.K.” variant) have been confirmed in Michigan, as health experts wait to see whether the more contagious variant will become the dominant strain in the state and potentially reverse weeks of declining case numbers.

“It's very early in the game, and it can take a while for these variants to kind of work their way from just arriving to taking over a community,” said Dr. Adam Lauring, a University of Michigan professor and virologist whose lab sequences COVID samples to detect which variant is present.

A classroom.
User: LizMarie_AK / Wikimedia Commons http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has set a goal of March 1 for every district in the state to offer an in-person learning option. Ann Arbor Public Schools hasn't yet set a date for when it'll offer an in-person learning option.

Superintendent Jeanice Swift expressed that she and the school board were concerned about a number of factors: the new B.1.1.7 variant found in Washtenaw County and Ann Arbor, community transmission rates, and a lack of vaccines available to AAPS staff were among them.

$100 bills
Tomasz Zajda / Adobe Stock

Governor Gretchen Whitmer unveiled her $67.1 billion proposed budget Thursday and began the job of selling her plan to the Legislature’s Republican leaders.

The relationship between the Democratic governor and GOP leaders has hovered between frosty and hostile, with fights over the state’s COVID-19 response often at the center.

The governor said settling disagreements on return-to-school plans, helping businesses, and vaccine distribution is critical as the response moves from crisis management to recovery.

COURTESY OF MERCY HEALTH

Mercy Health in West Michigan has distributed 21,960 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to date. Of the vaccines distributed, 3% of those doses have gone to Black people and 3% have gone to Latino people. That’s a number that the health system is hoping to improve.

Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin talks to voters at a town hall in Hartland in 2019, justifying the first formal impeachment inquiry into former President Donald Trump..
Tyler Scott

Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin said in a speech Wednesday evening that some of the biggest threats facing her Michigan constituents are domestic terrorism, environmental health, and the pandemic.

Slotkin said toxic political division in the U.S. fans the flames of violence and extremism – like the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. In her second State of the District address, presented virtually, Slotkin urged people to find political common ground with their neighbors.

Credit Courtesy Photo

There are over 370,000 people in Michigan who have finished both doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

"I kind of feel like I'm a little bit of a superhero," said Jamina Washington, a labor and delivery nurse from Ypsilanti. She got her second shot of the Pfizer vaccine in early January.

"I just want to walk around, flashing my card like it's a badge of honor or something to have completed our doses."

Adobe Stock

A new survey shows Michigan teachers are ready and willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

More than 22,000 educators responded to a recent survey from the Michigan Education Association.

The survey found that nearly 90 percent of teachers want to get the vaccine.

A more contagious variant of the coronavirus has been detected at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, in Ionia.  

 

According to an internal Michigan Department of Corrections email obtained by Michigan Radio, incarcerated people and employees there will now be tested daily.

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