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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Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It’s going to be hard to enforce hard six-feet social distancing rules as kids return to school this fall. That’s according to the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In a statement released Friday morning, the group says in-person learning and school attendance is critical for many students, especially more vulnerable students who can get left behind in the transition to remote learning. Because of that, it’s tough to get as many kids as possible back in school when strict six-feet social distancing rules are in place.

 

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The northwest Detroit neighborhood near Sinai-Grace hospital was among the country’s most devastated by COVID-19. The hospital saw so many deaths at one point, it ran out of body bags.

empty baseball stadium
Simon Johnson

For a time with very few sporting events, it's been a very busy week for sports news. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon shared his thoughts on bringing back sports during the COVID-19 crisis and the Detroit Lions' ownership change.

Jelmer Assink / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we’re checking in with the owner of a gym and personal training facility to see how he’s approaching reopening in light of an appeals court decision upholding Governor Whitmer’s order to keep gyms closed to limit the spread of COVID-19 yesterday. Also, a conversation with Jim Toy, who has been at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ rights in Michigan for more than five decades.

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

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

County clerks say they need help providing the personal protective equipment and sanitizers to poll workers for the August and November elections.

In order to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, election officials are hoping to convince more Michiganders to vote absentee. Clerks started mailing absentee ballots to voters this week for the August 4 primary election.

free weights and exercise machines inside gym
Mark Bertulfo / Unsplash

Most Michiganders will have to wait a little longer before they can return to exercising inside a gym.

A three-judge panel from the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling late Wednesday night siding with Governor Gretchen Whitmer's decision to keep gyms closed in 66 counties across lower Michigan.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, hospitals and health workers are still looking for ways to safely interact with patients following the first COVID-19 surge in Michigan. We check in with an epidemiologist who’s researching how plasma from recovered patients might help those at high risk of infection. Plus, we continue to look at what school might look like in the fall as the governor's Return to Learn Task Force wraps up its work and recommendations next week. 

The Ingham County jail is dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19.

Eight inmates at the Ingham County jail have tested positive for COVID-19. The inmates were tested after a civilian kitchen employee left work early last Friday and later tested positive for the virus. All the infected inmates worked in the jail's kitchen.

testing swab
Shutterstock image

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t slowing down in the United States. But in Michigan, things are starting to look up. Hospitalizations are down, the rate of case increase is slowing, and the state has been able to slowly reopen the economy over the past few weeks.

Report: Michigan hospitals shorted $130K per COVID-19 patient in federal aid

Jun 24, 2020
Eric Seals / Detroit Free Press

It was meant to be a financial booster shot, a way to help hospitals and health care systems survive the economic onslaught that COVID-19 brought. 

But a new report analyzing how federal coronavirus relief money was distributed shows stark disparities in which states got the biggest portions of $175 billion in aid from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

University of Michigan
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

After cancelling face-to-face classes this spring due to COVID-19, universities across Michigan are gearing up to bring students back to campus this fall.

Although the state of Michigan is doing relatively well with containing the outbreak, the epidemic is still far from over. Universities are trying to balance public health risks with the massive financial costs that would result from not reopening.

novi suburban collection showplace sign
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

For the time being, the state will be closing the field hospital at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. That’s due to a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization in the region. 

 

Michigan State University
John M. Quick / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan State University is cutting the salaries of non-unionized faculty and academic staff because of the budgetary impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

MSU President Dr. Samuel Stanley, Jr., announced in a letter Monday to all university employees that the pay cuts will start on September 1 and last at least one year.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, recent developments with Enbridge’s Line 5 have lead Attorney General Dana Nessel to ask for a temporarily halt of operations. Tribes who live and work around the Great Lakes have had an eye on this for years.  Also, Michigan’s legislators have announced funding plans for reopening K-12 schools. What will that look like? Plus, what to expect when you’re expecting to travel this summer.

kids with backpacks on going back to school
WavebreakmediaMicro / Adobe Stock

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to roll out her plans next week on re-opening schools in the fall. Tuesday, the Legislature’s Republican leaders outlined their proposed back-to-school plans.

Kindergarten-through-fifth graders would have to have some classroom time, while more resources would also be devoted to at-home learning. But it’s still a work in progress, especially when it comes to paying for back-to-school plans. Some of the money would come from the federal government.

kid on swing
Myles Tan / Unsplash

School's out for summer, though that change may seem less significant when your kids have already been home from school for months. With many camps and vacation plans on the scrap heap this year, keeping your kids' mental health – and your own – in check may take some extra work this summer.

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Today on Stateside, Michigan has experienced a drop in COVID-19 cases these past few weeks, but over the weekend, case numbers slightly increased again. We check in with an epidemiologist on how to pace yourself for a pandemic. Also, two law professors explain how legal precedents make it tough to prosecute police misconduct. Plus, the founders of a new bilingual media outlet discuss the need for more local news in Spanish.

rollingroscoe / Morguefile

Updated: 1:19 p.m., June 22, 2020

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing a case on Monday filed by inmates of the Oakland County Jail.

Inmates say they are denied basic sanitation items like soap and disinfectant to clean surfaces and shared items during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Some inmates say the jail uses transfers to a unit that has active COVID-19 infections as a punishment, for refusing job duties that might expose them to the coronavirus, or complaining about unsafe conditions.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

A federal judge has thrown down the yoga mat and said gyms and fitness centers can re-open June 25 in Michigan. Judge Paul Maloney says Governor Gretchen Whitmer's administration had failed to show any rational link between the coronavirus threat and the business shutdown. Maloney noted that gyms are closed while restaurants, bars, barbershops and hair salons are back in business. Whitmer plans to appeal. The governor had planned to reopen gyms, movie theaters and bowling alleys by July 4 if coronavirus case trends remain favorable.

unemployement insurance form on a clipboard
Vitalii Vodolazskyi / Adobe Stock

The state unemployment agency says the number of people waiting to have claims processed is growing. The agency says the backlog is largely due to suspected instances of fraud.

As the COVID-19 crisis has spurred furloughs and layoffs, complaints from people waiting for their jobless benefits have grown.

Chuttersnap/Unsplash.com

Starting Monday, 15 churches in Pontiac and Southfield will offer free COVID-19 tests on a rotating basis over the next two weeks.

It’s a joint effort with Oakland County health officials to reach two communities hit hardest by the pandemic: Black people and older adults. Officials say African Americans make up just 14% of Oakland County’s population, but represent 33% of the COVID-19 cases, and about 36% of the deaths there. Nearly 80% of COVID deaths in Oakland County were people over 70. (Statewide data shows similar disparities.) 

waving michigan flag
Courtesy Michigan Photography

Two University of Michigan student-athletes and one at Michigan State University have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent tests.

Between them, U-M and MSU have tested more than 300 student-athletes as the Big Ten schools prepare to return to athletic competition.

Two other MSU athletes previously tested positive for COVID-19.

U-M Athletic Director Warde Manuel says the testing is part of the Ann Arbor university’s plan to restart its athletic program.

Sen. Peter Lucido

In an often emotional hearing that raised more questions than it answered, the state Senate health policy committee heard testimony on a bill that would prohibit nursing homes without COVID-19 positive patients from caring for patients with the disease. 

Nursing home residents account for more than one third of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths, according to the state health department. 

 

Band members standing on stage
Mark Samano

Many clubs and bars opened last weekend since stay-at-home orders have gone into effect, and musicians are eager to return to work and play for an audience. One of the venues to open last weekend for the first time was The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor.

The Blind Pig reduced its occupancy to 100 people, giving concert-goers more room in the small space. Masks are also required for entry.

On stage at the club last weekend was Sabbatical Bob, a local funk band.

The U.S. Supreme Court building
U.S. Supreme Court

Today on Stateside, we talk to a Detroit artist whose new mural is a monument to Malice Green and the wider community of Black citizens killed at the hands of police. Plus, two young Dreamers discuss what the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) means for them.

Mr. Music / Adobe Stock

The Emagine Royal Oak theater is planning to reopen on Friday for a weeklong Juneteenth film festival, even though the reopening would violate Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order that indoor movie theaters remain closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Whitmer's spokesperson Tiffany Brown said the Governor expects that by July 4th, movie theaters throughout the state may be allowed to open, subject to specific health and safety restrictions. That option is currrently available in only two of eight regions in Michigan.

Flickr/creative commons / Jeff Clark, BLM

Updated:  6/18/2020

Sixty eight people have died of COVID-19 so far in Michigan prisons, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections.

It's the second highest number of COVID-19 related deaths in a state prison system in the country, according to the non-profit Marshall Project, which is tracking the cases. Ohio is number one for COVID-19 related inmate deaths.

designer491 / Adobe Stock

Michigan’s unemployment rate remains high, but it’s getting better.

The state’s May unemployment rate was 21.8%.  That’s down 2.8 percentage points from the previous month. Construction, transportation and utilities sectors saw job increases last month.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Owosso barber who challenged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Stay at Home order has gotten his state license back.

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