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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Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state Senate could adopt and send a bill to Governor Gretchen Whitmer that would reduce the penalties for violating orders she’s signed to deal with COVID-19 in Michigan.

The bill would reduce the penalty for violating an order from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction.

A Catholic priest
Adobe Stock

Roman Catholic churches across Michigan will begin offering public Masses to the faithful this week. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, all dioceses in Michigan had temporarily suspended public Masses. As different sectors of the economy begin to re-open, so too are religious services, beginning with very small, weekday and private Masses.

For nearly three months, our team of reporters, producers, hosts, engineers, and more have been working to bring you the news you rely on without interruption. Keeping you informed during the COVID-19 pandemic by bringing you breaking news, thorough analysis, and stories from the frontline has been our number one priority during this challenging time.

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Michigan State University

A team of Michigan State University researchers hopes Detroit sewage will hold clues about the trajectory of COVID-19.

The group has been sampling raw sewage as it arrives at a Great Lakes Water Authority water treatment plant every week since mid-April.

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

When schools closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the way students were taught had to shift on a dime. Online platforms like Zoom became the new classrooms. These sudden changes have also highlighted the shortcomings and inequities of our current school system. That has some educators thinking about whether this crisis could be an opportunity to reinvent what school looks like this fall and beyond.

Artem Beliaikin / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, what will the impending re-opening of Michigan’s economy mean for public health. Plus, how the pandemic could allow districts to reshape learning in the fall.

Unsplash

Retail, restaurants, and offices that cannot operate remotely can reopen in parts of Michigan starting Friday, May 22.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order Monday that allows two regions outlined in the state's Safe Start Plan to reopen certain parts of the economy in time for Memorial Day weekend. Region 6 includes Traverse City, Alpena, Charlevoix, and other northern Michigan cities. Region 8 includes the entire Upper Peninsula.

worker on an assembly line leans into a car door
Adobe Stock

Automakers and their suppliers are back at work in Michigan. Ford, GM, Fiat-Chrysler and other manufacturers have been working with the United Auto Workers, government, and health experts to avoid potential spread of COVID-19.

person holding test tubes with blue gloves on
Trust "Tru" Katsande / Unsplash

A study from the Othering and Belonging Institute at the University of California Berkeley ranks Michigan as its fourth most racially disparate states when it comes to COVID-19 deaths. Michigan ranks sixth in racial disparities in COVID-19 infection rates.

The study shows an interactive heat tracking map of racial disparities from state to state. The map looks at the racial makeup of the population, and then how that population is represented in the rates of COVID infection and deaths. For example, in Michigan, U.S. Census data shows black people make up 14% of the state's population, but account for 32% of COVID cases and 41% of COVID related deaths.

Courtesy photo / City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he’s “entirely confident” in a rapid-response COVID-19 test the city has used heavily, despite some doubts raised about its accuracy.

Several small studies found the Abbott Labs 15-minute tests produce a significant number of false negative results. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an alert about the tests, saying it’s still evaluating whether the tests produce too many false negatives.

wood gavel in front of book
sergign / Adobe Stock

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has charged a Detroit man for allegedly making death threats against Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel. Robert Sinclair Tesh was arrested in April after allegedly using a social media messaging app to make the threats. He was charged with "false report or a threat of terrorism," a felony with a maximum 20 year prison sentence.

gretchen whitmer sitting at table
michigan.gov

The Legislature’s Republican leaders Friday asked a Michigan Court of Claims judge to place restrictions on Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s power to declare a COVID-19 state of emergency.

They say Whitmer cannot continue to declare new states of emergency every 28 days without legislative approval.

Scarlett London and Cate Weiser

"Bored, exhausted, and restless" probably describes how a lot of Michigan’s kids are feeling these days. They have been stuck at home for nearly two months now, ever since the COVID-19 outbreak shut down schools and hangouts. This week, we spoke with two of the million and a half young people who are adjusting to this new normal. 

May 2020 Consensus Conference / Michigan House and Senate Fiscal Agencies

Michigan's state budget faces a more than six billion dollar shortfall this fiscal year and next, according to a consensus revenue estimate from the state House and Senate Fiscal Agencies.

Budget officials say it's twice as much as the decline in state revenues at the beginning of the Great Recession. The estimate may have to be revised downward again later in the year.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Today on Stateside, summer vacation plans up in the air— places like Mackinac Island likely won’t reopen until late June, if at all. Plus, we talked to two high school students on how they are adjusting to online school and being home.

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

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.

beaumont hospital royal oak exterior
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Michigan nurses have announced their support of Governor Whitmer’s use of executive powers. Republican legislators sued the governor last week, alleging that her extension of the stay-at-home orders was unlawful.

Now, the Michigan Nurses Association has filed an amicus brief in the case showing their support for the governor.

Protesters at the Michigan Capitol
Abigail Censky / WKAR

Religious leaders in southeast Michigan are calling on other faith and political leaders to condemn racist symbols displayed by some demonstrators at protests in Lansing. 

Hundreds of protesters gathered again on Thursday at the state Capitol in violation of social distancing rules to protest Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay at home order. At an April 30 protest at the state Capitol building, some protesters displayed confederate flags, swastikas, and nooses. 

slemboskilaw.com/

Update: 8:21 a.m. Friday, June 12: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is extending a ban on evictions through the rest of June for tenants and mobile home owners. The eviction ban was set to expire Thursday when Whitmer signed a new executive order expanding it until June 30.

Original post: Thursday, May 14: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued another executive order extending a moratorium on evictions until 11:59 pm. on June 11. 

Joe McGuire, a staff attorney with the Detroit Justice Center, said Whitmer should have extended the moratorium sooner, and that many other states have instituted longer and more comprehensive bans in the face of COVID-19 than Michigan has.

MICHIGAN.GOV

Without proper controls, infection will spread quickly through a nursing home. It’s one reason states have been grappling with the question of where to put elderly patients who’ve mostly recovered from COVID-19, but are still testing positive.

Connecticut has designated facilities that will care for COVID patients exclusively, while New York, rewinding a previous strategy, is requiring that nursing-home residents test negative before being discharged to a facility.

In Michigan, the state has selected about 20 facilities to take on these patients. As of today, all of them exist as separate units within nursing homes, many of whose residents have not tested positive for COVID.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

About 200 to 300 protesters gathered Thursday in front of the state Capitol to protest Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Others stayed in their vehicles and beeped their horns as they drove through downtown Lansing.

rollingroscoe / Morguefile

Two ICE detainees with medical conditions have been freed after a federal district judge ordered the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release them from the Calhoun County Jail.  

In her order releasing the two, U.S. District Court Judge Judith Levy said, "COVID-19 does not respect prison walls. The raging global pandemic outside of Calhoun County Correctional Facility and a confirmed case within the facility pose a serious risk to those inside."

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit is ramping up COVID-19 testing, with a focus on testing ‘at-risk’ seniors. Since May 1, 84% of Detroiters who've died from the disease have been over the age of 60.

Because of that, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the city wants more senior citizens tested for the coronavirus.

Inflammatory syndrome tied to COVID-19 sickens more than 20 Michigan kids

May 14, 2020
child hooked up to medical machines
Dean Family Photo via AP

Money
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Legislators grilled the head of the Unemployment Insurance Agency about why some people still are not receiving benefits. Steve Gray, director of the agency, gave a short presentation about how it is dealing with the 1.7 million applications for benefits that have been filed since March 15.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The legal battle by a Michigan barber against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 orders escalated Wednesday.

State regulators suspended Karl Manke’s professional license and pulled his barbershop license on Wednesday. 

joneigh khaldun at a press conference
michigan.gov

The New York Times reported Michiganders are no longer staying at home in the same numbers, despite still being under a stay-at-home order. Governor Gretchen Whitmer called the data concerning.

In her Wednesday briefing Whitmer said movement itself isn’t the problem, so long as people still wear their masks outside and follow social distancing and handwashing.

protesters with guns in michigan state capitol
Courtesy Senator Dayna Polehanki / Twitter

Armed demonstrators are expected again Thursday in Lansing to rally against Governor Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. Tense confrontations at previous protests combined with hateful and violent rhetoric in conservative Facebook groups has renewed a call for a ban on firearms within the Capitol building.

wood gavel in front of book
sergign / Adobe Stock

Three medical practices and a patient filed suit in federal court on Tuesday challenging Governor Gretchen Whitmer's executive order that prohibits nonessential medical procedures during the state of emergency.

The order was put in place to make sure Michigan's health care system has enough capacity to fight COVID-19 and to prevent its spread.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium
michigan.gov

The state has ordered 31,000 public employees to take furlough days temporarily to help deal with the impact of COVID-19 on the state budget.

Stay-at-home orders and business layoffs have reduced economic activity, which means less tax revenue. And the state is required to keep its budget balanced.

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, a look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the housing market. We talk with an affordable housing expert to find out what the public health crisis means for renters, particularly as expiration dates for eviction moratoriums approach. Also, an update from Michigan’s chief medical officer, with the latest on the state’s response to the pandemic. Plus, a musical love letter to the National Park System.

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