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Health

man in a mask gets a vaccine from health care worker in a mask
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Michigan has reached a vaccination rate of 60% for a first dose of COVID-19 vaccines. That's in the population aged 16 and older.

Ten days ago [June 1], there was a major loosening of economic restrictions, with Michigan fully lifting outdoor capacity limits. Indoor places can have 100% capacity on July 1.

Fifteen months into the pandemic, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a mandatory workplace safety rule aimed at protecting workers from COVID-19. But it only applies to health care settings, a setback for unions and worker safety advocates who had called for much broader requirements.

SEIU Healthcare Michigan

Nurses at McLaren Macomb hospital say they’re at a crisis point, with dangerous levels of understaffing and poor working conditions that are impacting patients.

Not only are there far too many patients per nurse, says local union vice president Dina Carlisle, but so many support staff have left due to low pay that the food, cleaning, and support staff are down to just skeleton crews.

“I had a midnight hour RN tell me there’s one environmental services person for the whole house,” Carlisle said. “How is that possible?”

The Delta variant, which was first detected in India, now accounts for more than 6% of all infections in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And this highly transmissible variant may be responsible for more than 18% of cases in some Western U.S. states.

Illustration of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Today on Stateside, a look at where Michigan stands with COVID-19 infections, vaccinations, and power machinations. Also, an exploration of writer Ernest Hemingway’s summers in northern Michigan. Plus, a West Michigan musician discusses how performance and therapy intersect in her work, and how her creative life has changed amid the pandemic.

National Park Service

Yes, it’s a rare virus that people can get from animals (specifically mice, in this case.) And yes, it can be fatal, and has symptoms like fever, fatigue, and cough. 

But the Washtenaw County woman who was recently hospitalized with the state’s first confirmed case of Hantavirus isn’t the beginning of another pandemic - just a good reminder to be smart about rodent exposure. 

A new study looks at diagnosing heart damage linked to the COVID-19 in Big Ten athletes.

Doctors examined 1,600 Big Ten college athletes who caught COVID during the pandemic and found 37 had developed a rare heart condition (Myocarditis), where a viral infection causes swelling of the heart.

Myocarditis is a leading cause of sudden death in competitive athletes. 

Photo by Nicole Geri on Unsplash

It’ll be an “interesting test.” That’s how Wendy Hirschenberger, health officer for Grand Traverse County, is looking at the weeks ahead.

“For me as an epidemiologist, between now and July 1, it'll be interesting to see what happens with our [case] numbers,” Hirschenberger said Tuesday at a Munson Health press conference.

Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

Sometimes you just need the right messenger. And sometimes that messenger is a kid in Grand Traverse County who just wants an uninterrupted baseball season. 

“(He) in particular wanted to be the first, and then he recruited the whole rest of his baseball team to get vaccinated, so that they can continue to play together," said Wendy Hirschenberger, the Grand Traverse County health officer. "And so that's how vaccinations work as a whole."

 

James Marvin Phelps via Flickr Creative Commons

Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

The state will soon release guidelines recommending that schools keep mask mandates for now, but won’t require districts to do so.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is updating its guidelines for COVID-19 mitigation measures in schools. The agency will recommend that school districts keep whatever policies they have in place through the end of the school year.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Some companies that provide rehabilitation services for people catastrophically injured in car accidents are planning to shut their doors as of July 1.

That's when a 45% cut in medical reimbursements that was included in the 2019 changes to Michigan's auto insurance law takes effect.

Updated May 17, 2021 at 5:38 PM ET

President Biden on Monday announced his intention to ship surplus doses of the coronavirus vaccine to needy nations abroad, including millions of doses of the U.S.-authorized Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The majority of the planned shipments will be of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which does not yet have authorization for use in the United States.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Allegra Blackwood is 13 years old. She’s in seventh grade, and has written about 80 pages of her fantasy/sci-fi novel so far, though she’s still editing. And even as her friends went back to school in-person this spring, she’s stayed remote. Her mom, Karla Blackwood, has health conditions that put at her at higher risk if she contracts COVID. 

“It's also been really hard, because I really want to keep up my grades, and I want to keep up my friendships and my relationships with people,” Blackwood says, sitting high up inside a sun-filled suite overlooking the University of Michigan football stadium. “But I've always tried to persevere and be the best I can.”

The head of a major hospital in Windsor, Ontario wants Michigan to give up some of its surplus COVID-19 vaccines.

David Musyj, CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital, has submitted an emergency application to Health Canada’s special access program. Health Canada is the country’s equivalent of the U.S Food and Drug Administration, and the program allows Canada to procure life-saving drugs abroad if they’re in short supply there.

a person holds a vaccine vial
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Michigan has reached a COVID-19 vaccination benchmark that will soon let people go back to work in the office in person.

55% of the state's eligible population has gotten at least one shot.

The benchmark achieved this week clears the way for a Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Administration order allowing a return to office work.

MIOSHA could give the go ahead to start by the final week of May.

young Black teen receives a vaccine in his right arm
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Now that the FDA has expanded its emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, allowing it to be used for kids 12-15, the whole thing gets kicked over to the CDC’s advisory council on Wednesday.

The Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has scheduled an emergency meeting for Wednesday to talk about best practices, or “clinical considerations and implementation” for getting this vaccine to kids.

A teenage girl in a striped shirt looks down at her arm as a doctor in protective gear administers a vaccine
Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, what Michigan parents should know about the news that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine will soon be available to kids as young as 12 years old. And speaking of vaccinations, the state hit its first benchmark in Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “MI Vacc to Normal” plan with 55% of Michiganders now having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Plus, why recycling in Michigan isn’t as green as it could be.

Spectrum Health

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday that 55% of Michiganders have received their first dose of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

The announcement marks the first milestone of the “MI Vacc to Normal” plan, which would enable in-person work to resume across all employment sectors on May 24.

arm of a person laying in a hospital bed
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Today on Stateside, Michigan sees a boom in the use of monoclonal antibodies to keep COVID-19 patients out of the hospital. Plus, the coach of the University of Michigan's women's gymnastics team talks about a tough pandemic year that ended in a national championship. And, singer-songwriter Rachel Curtis talks about new ways of producing and releasing music during a pandemic.

Spectrum Health

Plenty of Michiganders went to neighboring states like Ohio and Indiana to get the COVID-19 vaccine, especially when availability was more limited at home. Now, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is asking them to notify their primary care provider.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced a plan for the state's reopening called MI Vacc to Normal. The plan will relax COVID-19 restrictions to the percentage of residents that are at least partially vaccinated.

C/O Spectrum Health

When we first realized COVID would be the biggest public health crisis of our lifetime, Governor Gretchen Whitmer came out swinging. She set up mask mandates and physical distancing recommendations. That earned her respect from many public health officials both within Michigan and around the country. 

But the governor’s message now is very different. So, what changed?

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Today on Stateside, a look at the messaging behind Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s latest public health guidelines. Also, an athlete and coach discuss winning streaks in women’s college athletics despite the challenges of practicing amid the pandemic. Plus, a Black-led food cooperative partners with local farmers in preparation for its 2022 opening in Detroit’s North End neighborhood.

Video by Xueying Chang, Kaz Fantone, Michaeleen Doucleff and Ben de la Cruz/NPR / YouTube

When will the pandemic end? How many more COVID-19 waves will the U.S. go through?

Updated May 7, 2021 at 5:52 AM ET

In recent weeks, Dr. Kali Cyrus has struggled with periods of exhaustion.

"I am taking a nap in between patients," says Cyrus, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University. "I'm going to bed earlier. It's hard to even just get out of bed. I don't feel like being active again."

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Health departments in Michigan have begun turning down vaccine allocations from the state because they’re unable to find enough people willing to get the shots.

Normally, Dr. Jennifer Morse’s three local health districts get weekly vaccine shipments from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

COURTESY OF SPECTRUM HEALTH

A new federal policy announced Tuesday by the White House could send some COVID-19 vaccines earmarked for Michigan to other states where the demand is greater. The re-targeted deliveries are part of a federal effort to get the most vaccine doses to where they’ll be used. After an initial surge in vaccinations, people aren’t lining up in the same numbers. Part of that is because the people who were the most willing were the first in line.

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