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 TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY


Kate Trifo for Unsplash

Linda Vail does not want to take anybody to court.

But the Ingham County Health Officer has had to send out some warning letters to young people who refuse to cooperate with contact tracers.

“We still run into the occasions where people just flat out refuse to talk to us, refuse to give us information on their contacts,” says Vail. “And honestly, at that point, I just send them a warning letter that basically tells them that they have to. And then we can take them to court if that becomes a problem.”

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Monday was the first day in five months that Detroit’s 36th district court could start hearing eviction cases—though according to the court, hearings on some 200 eviction cases will not begin until at least next week. The court’s eviction moratorium lasted a full month longer than Michigan’s statewide moratorium.

Michigan House passes “Return to Learn” school package

Aug 17, 2020
students sitting in a classroom in front of whiteboard
Taylor Wilcox / Unsplash

A series of education bills is on its way to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s desk. On Monday, the Michigan House approved a three-bill package that amends the State School Aid Act to account for virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. They also allow districts to prioritize in-person instruction for grades K-through-5.

The pandemic has altered how schools will do business this fall, and the bills address both in-person and virtual enrollment and attendance.

SEIU Healthcare Michigan

More than a thousand nursing home workers from more than a dozen facilities in the Detroit area will not go on strike today as planned, their union announced suddenly this morning, after Governor Gretchen Whitmer asked nursing home operators and union leaders to engage in “good faith” negotiations over the next 30 days. 

 

AF.mil

An advocate for special needs students says severely impaired children were left out of consideration in online education bills that are on a fast track to Governor Gretchen Whitmer's desk.

Detroit Public Schools

The Detroit Federation of Teachers will be voting Wednesday on whether to strike over COVID-19 related health and safety concerns.

The union, which represents 4,200 Detroit Public School employees, wants to start the school year in a completely online format.

 

Vera Davidova / Unsplash

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Friday that a new partnership will help get about four million protective face masks to people who might otherwise have trouble procuring them.

The arrangement is between the state, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Ford Motor Company.

It will focus on getting masks to schools in low-income areas, as well as distributing them through federally qualified health centers and community groups.

Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Between face shields, neck gaiters and goggles, the options for protection are getting more complex. What face covering setup offers the best safeguard from the virus?

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The director of the state Department of Health and Human Services testified Thursday before a Legislative committee examining Michigan’s COVID-19 response.

Director Robert Gordon was called to explain a contact tracing contract with a firm that does political work for Democrats.

The contract was cancelled by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in April after it became public.

University of Michigan near Rackham and Michigan League
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

University of Michigan faculty and staff will soon be asked to use an app to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms.

Dr. Robert Ernst is the executive director of the University Health Service.

He says the app, called ResponsiBLUE, will be available in the app store in the coming days. 

School kids eating meals from USDA summer program
United States Department of Agriculture / USDA/wikipedia

The pandemic is putting more families at risk for homelessness as financial pressure builds and eviction moratoriums end. Michigan already has the sixth highest rate of homeless students in the country, and many of those children rely on the consistency of walking into a physical building five days a week. Stateside talked to Jennifer Erb-Downward, a senior research associate with Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, about how schools can help students experiencing homelessness, even as classes move online.

University of Michigan Stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Update: August 11, 2020 at 3:16 p.m.

The Big Ten Conference has confirmed today that there will not be a fall sports season. It is the first of the college football's elite "Power Five" conferences to make the decision.

Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, were you planning on socially distanced tailgating this fall? Bad news: the Big Ten has reportedly voted against going forward with the college football season. We talked to sports reporter Chris Solari about what we know so far. Plus, we've got a conversation with an Escanaba teacher about the unique challenges rural schools face when it comes to online instruction this fall.

Teacher standing in front of a classroom of children.
Unsplash

Last week, the state’s largest teacher’s union said it would stand behind any teacher who didn’t want to return to an in-person classroom setting. Many teachers have expressed concerns about health risks, both for kids and for themselves, as well as the lack of funding to create safer conditions at schools.

Keith Kindred is one of those teachers. He teaches social studies in South Lyon and wrote this essay for Stateside.

Cecilia Zaya

The experience of online learning for special education students in Michigan this spring ranged from better results than expected, to what parents describe as an utter disaster.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium
michigan.gov

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Friday extended her executive order declaring a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic through September 4.

“We are in a crucial time in our fight against COVID-19, and we must do everything we can to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis from a second wave,” says Whitmer.

Pixabay

Today on Stateside, a conversation with two Black farmers about the causes and consequences of systemic racism in the agriculture industry. Also, an update from the Michigan Radio newsroom on what we know about COVID infections in nursing homes.

UNSPLASH

All but one of Michigan’s 21 regional hubs for nursing home patients recovering from COVID-19  have been cited for an infection-control deficiency in the last four years, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Four of those facilities were cited for infection-control violations that occurred in the weeks just before the state designated them as hubs. 

 

PAULETTE PARKER/MICHIGAN RADIO

Some of the first volunteers in a new COVID-19 vaccine trial received their injections at Henry Ford Health System on Wednesday.

Adobe Stock

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is extending the mask requirement to include children as young as two years old in some cases, after several coronavirus outbreaks linked to childcare centers and youth camps.

Gov. Whitmer says by requiring face coverings in her latest executive order, childcare centers and camps can remain open while keeping children and staff members safe.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Dozens of Michigan school employees rallied Thursday at the state Capitol to call for a safe school re-opening strategy.

Members of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators, or “CORE,” came to Lansing to talk about several school issues.

people sitting inside a movie theater
Krists Luhaers / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, how a Detroit restaurateur went from prisoner to proprietor with help from a prison food program. Plus, a film critic discusses the future of movie viewing.

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

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

Flickr Creative Commons/Sanofi Pasteur

Dr. Howard Markel, medical historian at the University of Michigan joined Stateside to talk about the history of vaccine development and what a coronavirus vaccine will and won't mean when it's finally ready.

Indiana Michigan football game
Creative Commons larrysphatpage

The Big Ten Wednesday became the first major college sports conference to announce its fall football schedule. But conference officials caution there is no certainty games will be played.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Farm Bureau has some concerns about a state emergency order that agricultural and food processing workers get tested for COVID-19.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an emergency order on Monday.

Courtesy of Owen Bondono

Owen Bondono, Michigan’s newly named Teacher of the Year and a ninth-grade English language arts teacher at Oak Park Freshman Institute, works to create a classroom community in which students feel comfortable sharing their experiences and ideas with eachother. But as a fall semester unlike any other approaches, and some schools lean toward virtual learning to limit the spread of COVID-19, Bondono is having to rethink the way he conducts meaningful class conversations with his students.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state House and state Senate have canceled plans for in-person meetings this week in Lansing. That’s after a Republican lawmaker tested positive for COVID-19. Senator Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) said he’s not experiencing significant symptoms, but is self-isolating. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on Political Action Committees relied on by many state lawmakers.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network reports during the governor’s stay-at-home order, state House members' PACs saw a steep drop in campaign donations.

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