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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hair salon
Guilherme Petri / Unsplash

Safe Salons for Michigan, a coalition of barbershop and salon owners and workers, is requesting that Governor Gretchen Whitmer allow them to reopen with “comprehensive health and safety measures” in place. Hair, nail, and tanning salons as well as barber shops were closed in late March in compliance with the governor’s executive order issued as a result of COVID-19.

In an email, the coalition lists eight steps to re-open, which it says are modeled after states with salons and barbershops that are already open.

elderly care giver
Pixabay

Today on Stateside, as Northern Michigan and the UP reopened restaurants this past weekend, other businesses stayed closed. We speak with a hair stylist who wants to find a safe way to reopen. Plus, the difficulty of tracking the number of COVID-19 cases in elder care facilities.

The world's top health officials are warning that there could be a "second peak" of coronavirus infections during the current outbreak, separate from a second wave expected in the fall. As cases decline, officials worry that some countries are lifting restrictions too quickly — the U.S. among them.

What's key to understanding the different patterns emerging around the globe is recognizing that "this coronavirus is not the flu," said Dr. Margaret Harris, a member of the World Health Organization's coronavirus response team.

Nearly killed by COVID-19, Michigan doctors, nurses return humbled, smarter

May 26, 2020
Anna Liza Casem, a Beaumont nurse, was on the front lines during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan when she too got sick.
Mandi Wright / Detroit free press

an empty row of tables at a restaurant
Andrew Seaman / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, restaurants in the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula were allowed to open for sit down dining. We spoke with two restaurateurs; one who opened and one who stuck to take-out orders. Plus, how one high school senior is preparing for his future amid uncertainty.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

If your building has been closed or only a few people have been using it, the water in the pipes should be flushed before you start up your business again.

“The chemicals that we put in the water to condition it and prevent bacteria growth or corrosion tend to dwindle and go to zero. And you pick up things like bacterial contamination and metals contamination from contact with the plumbing,” said Eric Oswald, Director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division.

wood gavel in front of book
sergign / Adobe Stock

The Fair and Equal Michigan campaign filed suit Tuesday in state court seeking an injunction that would reduce the number of signatures required and extend the deadline for the petition drive to amend the state's civil rights law

The group alleges it is impossible to collect the 340,042 signatures required by state law by May 27 due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

testing swab
Shutterstock image

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order that allows pharmacists, nurses, and physician assistants to authorize COVID-19 tests.

It also says Michigan residents can not be charged out-of-pocket costs for the test.

Courtesy of the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay in Traverse City

After being shut down for nearly two months, restaurants in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan received permission from the governor to allow sit-down dining at limited capacity just in time for Memorial Day. Some welcomed the flood of tourists for the busy holiday weekend, but others erred on the side of caution and are sticking to takeout-only service for a while longer.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

More than a thousand residents of Muskegon Heights and Flint lined up for free COVID-19 testing over the Memorial Day weekend.

The Michigan National Guard teamed up with local health departments to set up the special drive-thru testing centers over the three day weekend.

Ford Motor Company

Workers at Ford Motor Company's Dearborn Truck Plant are expected to return to work on Tuesday, after their local, UAW Local 600, filed a grievance over COVID-19 protocols at the plant.

The grievance was filed after two UAW members showed up for work last week, before learning the results of tests they'd received for COVID-19.  The tests turned out to be positive.  The situation sparked a brief walkout on Wednesday.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Across Michigan Monday, Memorial Day observances are different from past years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, the sound of taps mixed with birdsong during a Memorial Day ceremony.

Normally, thousands of people come to honor the nation’s fallen servicemen and women in Holly.

family members inside a van decorated with eid decor
Nisa Khan for Michigan Radio

On Sunday, Muslims across the world celebrated the end of Ramadan, a month-long time of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. 

With Governor Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order in effect, Ramadan as a whole has looked a little different this year. In Dearborn, families displayed Ramadan lights as a way to brighten spirits during the coronavirus shutdown, since friends and extended family were unable to gather together to break fast during an evening meal known as the iftar. In Detroit, Mosques set up virtual connections across YouTube, Facebook, Zoom, and more to bring members together during Ramadan.

Macomb County boy, 7, recovers from pediatric rare syndrome linked to COVID-19

May 25, 2020
child sitting on hospital bed with teddy bear
Nutthavee / Adobe Stock

Hannah Peck doesn't know how or when her son was exposed to novel coronavirus.

He never had any symptoms of COVID-19, and her family has been following social distancing guidelines during the stay-at-home order.

So when Levi Nobles got sick in early May, a few days after his seventh birthday, she didn't suspect it had anything to do with the virus.

Mike Duggan
detroitmi.gov

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he’s excited that some Michigan retail businesses will be able to re-open on Tuesday, but warns the city will be vigilant about enforcing health and safety standards meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer laid out those rules in an executive order that allows businesses “engaged in the selling of goods and the rendering of services incidental to the sale of the goods” to re-open. Sit-down restaurants, bars, gyms and fitness centers, and salons remain closed for now.

State of Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is extending Michigan’s Safer at Home order until June 12. She’s also extending the state of emergency declaration until June 19.

The governor made the announcement as part of a late afternoon flurry of announcements on Friday related to the COVID-19 pandemic and flooding orders.

Unsplash

Remember the question, “Doing anything fun this weekend?” You might not have heard it much these past few months, as the COVID-19 public health crisis and executive orders have kept many people at home and practicing social distancing.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium
michigan.gov

A conservative legal foundation has filed a new challenge against Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s ability to issue new emergency orders related to workplaces and the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Mackinac Center says the governor’s earlier orders have succeeded in slowing the pace of new COVID-19 infections.

The lawsuit says the governor’s orders now exceed her authority under emergency management laws.

RAWPIXEL

Michigan is currently reporting more than 2,300 COVID-19 cases in nursing homes. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the number of deaths is 748. That’s nearly 15% of the state’s COVID deaths.

 

But information about how well Michigan’s nursing homes have controlled the spread of COVID-19 has been limited. 

 

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
BES Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

For many people in Michigan, one of the most pressing issues during the coronavirus pandemic is how to handle K-12 education. Parents and kids are still navigating the final weeks of this school year, but there are major questions about what will be possible in the fall.

Michigan's State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Rice spoke with Michigan Radio's Morning Edition about the posssibilities and concerns. 

sewing machine and fabric on table
Tami Davis

On a recent Saturday morning I sat down at my sewing machine. Normally I like to sew clothes, but lately I've been making cloth masks. I tapped into my mom’s seemingly endless supply of fabric and so far I’ve made about 30 for family and friends.

“Everyone who sews has always secretly known that one day their stash would save the world and that day is now,” says Saginaw resident Tami Davis.

Davis leads the Mid-Michigan Mask Makers group – also known as 4-M. In March, an online post about mask making got her attention.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As the pandemic weeks turn into pandemic months, many questions remain about how we know what we know about COVID-19. One of the major limiting factors in testing for the virus is the availability of supplies for test kits.

governor whitmer
State of Michigan

Nearly 64% of Michigan voters approve of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In contrast, support for President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis is more than 20 points lower at about 43%.

That’s according to a mid-May statewide poll of Michigan registered voters commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber, a southeast Michigan business advocacy group, and conducted by Glengariff Group, a non-partisan polling firm.

Jack Amick / Creative Commons

A federal judge has ruled that Oakland County must set up a process to release medically vulnerable inmates from its jail.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit that alleged the Oakland County Jail has taken inadequate steps to protect inmates from COVID-19.

Barber Karl Manke cuts hair at his barbershop.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan judge has denied the state’s request to shut down an Owosso barbershop whose owner continued cutting hair in spite of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order. The executive order, issued March 21 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, temporarily closed hair, nail, and tanning salons, along with other businesses deemed non-essential. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Legislation has been introduced to allow Michigan bars and restaurants to sell cocktails to go as a way to help those businesses through the restrictions they face because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restaurants and bars that serve food for pick-up or delivery already have been able to sell wine and beer by the bottle or can. Many have been asking the government to let them also sell cocktails ‘to go.’

A red bridge flooded in Midland
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announces loosened restrictions on some Michigan businesses and small gatherings just in time for the holiday weekend. Plus, we'll hear about the environmental threats posed by massive flooding in Midland County this week. 

McLaren Hospital in Flint and the Genesee County Health Department have been working with the Centers for Disease Control since a court order is preventing local officials from talking directly with the state health department.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Ten unions representing nurses who work at McLaren Health Care hospitals in Michigan alleged Thursday that the hospital system has violated labor laws by withholding information about its finances and personal protective equipment.

Several locals filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board alleging the hospital system violated collective bargaining agreements by withholding information from workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brad Gowland / Michigan Radio

Michiganders are getting back on the move.

An analysis of anonymous cell phone mobility data from the Cuebiq Mobility Index shows that movement dropped significantly in the state ahead of Gov. Whitmer’s stay-at-home order that went into effect March 24, and managed to maintain that low level of movement for approximately four weeks.

But the average amount of movement has increased since April 12, despite the stay-at-home order remaining in place.

MICHIGAN.GOV

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is continuing to slowly re-open Michigan's economy.

Her latest order will allow retail stores and auto dealerships to re-open Tuesday, May 26. It also authorizes non-essential medical, dental, and veterinary procedures to begin Friday, May 29.

Small gatherings of groups of ten people or fewer, are allowed immediately, as long as participants practice social distancing.

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