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. 

Helpful posts:

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

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan’s Big House is now a vaccination clinic. The football stadium that can hold more than 100,000 fans is, right now, center stage for vaccinating Michigan Medicine healthcare workers.

The healthcare system has been vaccinating frontline workers every day since December 21 at the main hospital in Ann Arbor, but it needed more space.

Spectrum Health

Local health leaders say they expect the pace of COVID vaccinations to speed up in the coming weeks.

As of Tuesday, 86,626 people had received the first dose of a vaccine in Michigan. But that’s out of nearly 338,000 doses that have been distributed, according to the state’s vaccine dashboard.

Some local health leaders say they’ve purposely gone slow in the first weeks, because the virus requires two shots, weeks apart.

City of Dearborn Heights / via Facebook

Dearborn Heights Mayor Daniel Paletko has died from COVID-19 complications, the city confirmed on  social media Tuesday night, calling his death “sudden.”

Paletko was 70 years old. He had served as Dearborn Heights mayor since 2004, and also served in the Michigan State House of Representatives.

Jacek Dylag for Unsplash

First, it was gyms. Now, it’s bars, restaurants, and even a donut shop. For Lansing attorney Dave Kallman, representing the small businesses that have had their liquor licenses suspended, been cited by the health department, or in the donut shop owner’s case, been criminally charged for allegedly violating the state’s COVID-19 orders, has become a bit of a cottage industry.

“They're really attacking these people big time, and going right for their ability to operate and be a business,” Kallman said by phone last week.

stateside blue and green logo with host april baer
Chettara T. Photography

If you didn't know already, our daily show, Stateside, recently revamped their sound to bring the important stories around our state into focus. Whether it’s the latest political news, interviews with artists and musicians,  or stories that just make you feel a little more connected to people around the state, the goal of the new podcast is to help you understand what's going on in Michigan, one conversation at a time. 

A vial of Pfizer's mRNA COVID-19 vaccine
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

This year has changed everyone’s lives in so many ways. But for those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, battled the disease themselves, or worked on the front lines, 2020 has been a tragedy.

Michigan Radio has been telling the stories of those we lost, those who fought, and those who survived this year. Here are some of those stories:

Wayne County

Mourners paid their respects to the late former Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon at a Detroit funeral home on Monday.

Napoleon died earlier this month after contracting COVID-19. He was 65.


More than 5,000 long-term care facilities in Michigan are expected to receive the Moderna vaccine from either CVS Pharmacy or Walgreens in the coming weeks, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Through a partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pharmacy chains will set up three vaccination clinics at each enrolled site over a 12-week period.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

There was no shortage of news in 2020. It felt like major stories were breaking daily, not only across the globe, but right here in Michigan. Narrowing down all of those major stories to a list of 10 was no easy task. But here are some of the biggest stories that came out of Michigan this year that you may have missed.

Inside Beaumont's COVID-19 units, nurses fear people "just don't care"

Dec 27, 2020
nurse standing in the hallway of a hospital
Kim / Detroit Free Press

It was a Tuesday afternoon in mid-December at Beaumont Hospital in Farmington Hills. Inside, dozens of people were alone in rooms with closed doors, hooked up to oxygen tanks and IV medicine, sickened by the virus that came to define 2020. 

faucet running water
Marina Shemesh / Public Domain

A temporary statewide ban on water shutoffs at occupied residences due to unpaid bills will last until March 31, 2021 under legislation signed Tuesday by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

The legislation also requires water authorities to restore residential service that has been cut because of nonpayment unless reconnecting to damaged pipes would risk public safety. The new law would further require water authorities to identify occupied homes within their service areas that do not have water service, and to report on these efforts.


The coronavirus’s footprint in Michigan continues to shrink.

During a Wednesday Zoom call with reporters, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services presented data showing statewide declines in COVID-19 case rates, hospitalizations, and the percentage of tests coming back positive during the week that ended December 19.

closed sign in shop window
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, we take a look back at this year in business. For those invested in the stock market, it’s been the best of times. For those waiting in food lines, it’s been the worst. We’ll talk with some experts about what’s been going on with the economy and looking ahead to a new year.


Staff at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in the Upper Peninsula will be joining Michigan’s largest nurses’ union.

The health care workers tallied their mail-in votes this week, with 35 voting in favor of joining the Michigan Nurses Association, and 17 voting against.

Kelly Engle, who’s been a nurse at the hospital for 10 years, says nurses and administrators alike were overwhelmed in the spring when decisions had to be made about caring for COVID-19 patients.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium

Governor Gretchen Whitmer won’t necessarily wait for January 15 to lift current COVID-19 restrictions.

That’s when a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order expires.

Whitmer said Tuesday the restrictions could be lifted sooner than that. But she says that’s only if data show there’s no major community spread following winter holiday gatherings.

Adobe Stock

Michigan will likely update its vaccination distribution plan by putting people 75 and older higher on the list, making them part of “Phase 1B.” Previously, that category included just “frontline essential workers,” a large group including  teachers, corrections staff, first responders and others. 

Inside the Michigan Capitol looking up at the dome.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan House approved a COVID-19 relief bill Monday that includes a pay boost for workers on the front lines of dealing with COVID-19; funding for vaccine distribution; and extending unemployment benefits. There’s also money to help small businesses that have been hurt by the continuing health crisis.

Bridge Michigan

Jeffrey Byrnes is giving a lot of thought these days to how a newly approved vaccine for the coronavirus should be dispensed.

The Lansing capitol dome with a blue sky behind it and trees in front of it
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state Senate worked into Friday night to wrap up its work for the year. The major job was pulling together a $465 million COVID-19 relief bill. The bill will extend jobless benefits by an additional six weeks, and offer grants to small businesses affected by the pandemic.

Senator Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing) is the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"I, for one, will admit this bill is not perfect. That being said, I believe it’s incredibly important and reflects a compromise,” said Hertel.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium

Michigan is receiving fewer doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine than promised and Governor Gretchen Whitmer is placing the blame on the White House.

Speaking at a news conference Friday afternoon, a visibly upset Whitmer says she doesn’t know why the state isn’t getting what's been promised.

Charlie Day in hospital
Candace Day

A rare side effect of COVID-19 can cause respiratory and heart failure in some young people.

Health professionals call it “Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children,” or MISC.

One northern Michigan family says finding out their young son had it was one of the scariest moments of their lives.

It was mother’s worst nightmare. Kandace Day’s four-year-old son was air-vacced to the hospital with 15 doctors rushing him to the ICU.

Master Sgt. David Eichaker / Air National Guard

The state’s prisons have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 50% of Michigan’s prison inmates have been infected by the virus.

As inmate Debra McDaniel notes, "The United States wasn't even prepared for this, let alone a correctional facility."

a classroom of empty colorful chairs
Flickr user Frank Juarez / Creative Commons

The initial unaudited 2020 fall enrollment count is down by roughly 53,000 students from last fall's count for Michigan's K-12 school districts and public school academies.

State Superintendent Michael Rice announced the 3.7% decline Wednesday. 

In a written statement, Rice estimated that about three quarters of the decline is due, in roughly equal shares, to fewer kindergartners, more homeschool kids, and an estimated public school population decrease based on an average annual decrease of 13,000 students over the last ten years.

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA)
Bytemarks / Flickr -

Michigan’s unemployment rate ticked up by eight-tenths of a percentage point last month to 6.9%.

This is the first time since April the state has reported an increase in lost jobs.

Michigan State University Professor Charles Ballard is an expert on the state’s economy. He says the numbers show COVID-19’s effect on jobs.

Markus Spiske / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, although the COVID vaccine has many excited for a brighter 2021, many people are still in desperate need of relief. We talked with two Congressional representatives about the COVID relief bill that so many are waiting on. Plus, a conversation with a radio news veteran about going the distance for broadcast.

Hands gripping jail cell bars

The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially brutal for Michigan’s corrections system, with nearly 20,000 inmates testing positive since the pandemic began - a staggering figure, given the state’s entire prison population stood around 39,000 in March.

“We are still auditing the numbers to ensure we weed out any double counts or additional reinfections, but yes, it’s about 50% in total,” says Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz.

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Antonio Valenti was born and raised in Detroit, but had been living and working Colorado for the past few years. As the COVID-19 pandemic worsened, he wanted to be closer to his family, especially his sons. But Valenti couldn't work: he suffers from a degenerative condition called spinal stenosis.

"It's a form of spine disease that attacks your bones and just basically feels like it's breaking my back," Valenti says of the pain.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

They stood on cold concrete at dusk, in masks and heavy coats, just around the corner from the hospital where every day more patients succumb to the virus.


Nurses, housekeepers, and other frontline workers at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs hospital received their first doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.

The Ann Arbor site was the only VA hospital in Michigan to receive doses this week and one of 37 in the U.S. selected for their ability to vaccinate a large number of people and manage the Pfizer vials, which require ultra-cold storage.