COVID-19 | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

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. 

Helpful posts:

Have you been affected by coronavirus? We want to hear from you. Submit a tip.

Michigan Capitol Building
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Republican state lawmakers have presented their version of a COVID-19 response plan.

The state House GOP proposal follows a court ruling that struck down many of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s unilateral emergency orders.

The University of Michigan West Quad
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Undergraduate students at the University of Michigan will be required to stay in place for two weeks effective immediately, the Washtenaw County Health Department ordered Tuesday. 

a laptop computer with a zoom call on it
Gabriel Benois / Unsplash

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 1108 into law last week, which says that public bodies can hold meetings virtually.

The governor had issued similar executive orders in the past few months that allowed for government entities to hold virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. These orders were nullified by a recent state Supreme Court decision that declared the governor's executive orders to be unconstitutional.

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

On Friday, the University of Michigan's quarantine and isolation housing was at 46% capacity — a rapid increase from 22% the Monday before, but still a little less than half of the units that house students who have tested positive for COVID-19, had been exposed to someone who had tested positive, or were waiting on test results.

Back of a school bus
Pixabay

 

Schools in Kent County reported more new COVID-19 outbreaks this week than those in any other county, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

joneigh khaldun at a press conference
michigan.gov

The state’s chief medical executive testified Monday before a joint House and Senate committee examining the state’s COVID-19 response.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s Chief Medical Executive, told the committee there will be new COVID-19 public health orders issued soon that don’t require the Legislature’s approval.

a political cartoon about tuberculosis
Michigan History Center

To make sense of the present, it sometimes helps to look to the past. One moment in history that’s particularly relevant to our current moment is the tuberculosis epidemic during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Despite the differences in daily life and the advances in medicine and technology since then, the country’s response to tuberculosis outbreaks has clear parallels to the current COVID-19 crisis.

Courtesy of Adrienne Lenhoff

If this were any other year, Michiganders could expect the usual costume parties, trick-or-treating, and corn mazes that signal the approach of Halloween. But now that COVID-19 is circulating, bobbing for apples is definitely out, and families might not be comfortable accepting candy from strangers this year. For holiday-driven businesses like haunted houses, the pandemic presents challenging questions about how to open up for the Halloween season safely.

Michigan Capitol Building
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The legislative committee looking into the state’s COVID-19 response meets again Monday. Top health officials in Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration will face questions from the committee.

State Representative Matt Hall, (R-Marshall) chairs the joint House and Senate COVID-19 committee.

He expects there will be questions about infections in nursing homes and why some parts of the economy were allowed to re-open while similar businesses remained in shutdown.  

nurse holding stethoscope checking heartbeat of elder patient
Rawpixel.com

 

Once again, a major strike involving as many as 1,000 metro Detroit nursing home workers appears to have been averted at the last minute, and is now expected to include just 60 or so employees at a single nursing home. 

That’s because tentative agreements were reached with at least two nursing home chains over the weekend, ahead of the strike planned for Monday.

 

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

Health officials at the University of Michigan are concerned about outbreaks of COVID-19 in residence halls on campus. The occupancy of the university's quarantine and isolation housing has gone from 17% a week ago to 46% as of Friday, according to the U of M's COVID-19 dashboard.

In U of M's weekly COVID-19 update briefing, officials expressed particular concern over an outbreak occurring at Mary Markley Hall. 

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

Michigan reported 2,030 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday—the largest one-day increase the state has seen since the pandemic began in March.

There is some nuance to that number. A computer glitch slowed data transfers earlier this week, which means some cases reported Thursday should have come in Wednesday.

Ford Truck Plant workers with PPE
Ford Motor Company

Emergency rules have been issued by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) that clarify what employers have to do to help protect workers, customers and communities from the spread of COVID-19. 

MIOSHA is a division of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO).

A sign that says "You Must Wear A Mask To Enter."
Mick Haupt / Unsplash

Health officials in Kent County are pleading with people to take “simple precautions” as new COVID-19 case numbers rise, and hospitals throughout West Michigan see an increase in cases.

Spectrum Health, the area’s largest hospital system, reported 81 confirmed COVID-19 patients in its hospitals as of Thursday, an increase compared to the number of patients it treated for much of the summer.

flooded street in Midland
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Two companies are facing a lawsuit after a COVID-19 outbreak among workers who helped with re-building efforts in Midland and Bay counties.

Servpro Industries and BTN Services brought the workers from Florida to mid-Michigan after this spring’s catastrophic floods.

Dylan Fereira / unsplash

The Michigan Department of Corrections is rolling out video visitation for inmates during the pandemic.

It's hoped that will help inmates stay connected with loved ones they can no longer see in person.   

MDOC spokesman Chris Gautz says it could be a long time before in-person visits start up again, especially as cases on the outside begin to rise.

Olga Kononenko for Unsplash.com

 

Michigan is seeing nearly record-high levels of COVID-19, with case rates approaching what they were in April when the pandemic first devastated the state.

Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET

Two coronavirus studies have been put on pause by drugmakers as they investigate safety concerns.

The pauses are not uncommon or cause for undue concern, but they highlight how little is known about the combination of medications prescribed to President Trump following his COVID-19 diagnosis.

Johnson & Johnson paused all clinical trials of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine after a study participant became sick with an "unexplained illness."

Western Michigan University's Main Campus
user TheKuLeR / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan’s higher education institutions are together reporting 4,921 cases associated with ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks, according to the latest outbreak data published by the state health department on Monday.

That dwarfs the 346 cases reported from pre K-12 schools, indicating both the speed at which outbreaks have spread on campus, as well as the amount of testing happening at colleges and universities.  

profile shot of Gretchen Whitmer
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Supreme Court has denied Governor Gretchen Whitmer's request to extend her COVID-19 executive orders to the end of October.

The court ruled on October 2 that the governor did not have the authority to declare a state of emergency after April 30. Whitmer then requested that her emergency orders be kept in place until October 30 to facilitate an "orderly transition." The court says their ruling went into effect immediately.

stock photo of surgical masks on a table
Macau Photo Agency / Unsplash

The Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development is distributing 10,000 free masks to residents. It's a part of a state program that gives free masks and other personal protective equipment to community action agencies.

The masks are intended for low-income people, seniors, and other vulnerable populations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Morghan Williams is the human services manager for the Washtenaw County office.

She says the county wants to make sure that all residents have masks.

Courtesy of Malissa Clair

Malissa ClairLamphere Public Schools. Both she and her husband are essential workers for Consumers Energy. Before the pandemic, they both worked during school hours. But when Clair found out that her kids' school district was only going to be virtual this fall, she went into "mommy mode" and changed her schedule so she could be home during the day to help her youngest daughter, five-year old Sloan, with virtual kindergarten. Clair's hours are now 3:30pm - midnight, sometimes longer.

Life is hard for everyone during a pandemic. But in a global crisis, it is women who carry extra burdens, says Raquel Lagunas, director of the gender team at the United Nations Development Programme. "Because of their reproductive role in society, they are ones taking care of the kids, the house, the food, the survival of families."

In case you were still procrastinating getting a flu shot this year, here's another reason to make it a priority.

There's a chance the vaccine could offer some protection against COVID-19 itself, says virologist Robert Gallo, who directs the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is chairman of the Global Virus Network.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state Senate returns Thursday after the Michigan Supreme Court declared many of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 executive orders unconstitutional.

First the Senate and then the House will meet on consecutive days to adopt their own plans and send them to Whitmer to sign or veto.

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

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has ordered all Michigan public and private K-12 schools to publicly notify their school communities about probable and confirmed school-associated cases of COVID-19. 

michigan state university
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

At first, Linda Vail didn’t buy it.

As recently as last week, the Ingham County public health officer was skeptical of data that showed Michigan State University cases were rapidly declining.

green sign saying "no mask, no service" hanging on door to store
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

A group of Michigan doctors is calling on Republican state lawmakers to support a mask mandate and other COVID-19 precautions.

Last week, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an advisory opinion that could restrict Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s authority to issue emergency orders.

The Committee to Protect Medicare is a liberal advocacy group. It has been advocating for mandating face coverings and other restrictions in the face of the pandemic.

State of Michigan not releasing details of kids' coronavirus deaths

Oct 7, 2020
Family photo via Detroit Free Press

Michigan is among eight states nationally that have not released details about the number of children who've died from novel coronavirus since the pandemic began.

The state Department of Health and Human Services told the Free Press on Tuesday that "fewer than five" children have died of COVID-19 or its complications so far this year, but it would not disclose specifically how many kids have died or provide any other details.

It’s Count Day for Michigan’s schools.

But this being 2020, it’s a little different this year.

Twice during the academic year, Michigan schools count the number of students in class. The resulting number determines how much state aid schools receive.

But with many students spending class time at the kitchen table instead of in the classroom, Count Day is going to be different this year. 

Pages