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Health

Courtesy of Andrew Cohn

Today on Stateside, the Upper Peninsula recorded its largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases this week, and Houghton County’s public schools will close face-to-face instruction starting Monday for two weeks. We check in with the Western U.P.’s health officer to find out more. Also, a documentary filmmaker’s first feature film, set in Michigan. Plus, a journalist and an organizer on Black voters’ roles in the upcoming presidential election.

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

The Upper Peninsula recorded its biggest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases this week. In response, Houghton County Schools will close face-to-face instruction starting Monday for a two-week period. More outbreaks have been noted in Iron, Menominee, and other counties in the western U.P. 

Matthew Fentress was just 25 when he passed out while stuffing cannolis as a cook at a senior living facility six years ago. Doctors diagnosed him with viral cardiomyopathy, heart disease that developed after a bout of the flu.

Each week we answer some of your pressing questions about the coronavirus and how to stay safe. Email us your questions at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

What is up CDC? First you say airborne transmission is a thing. Then you rolled it back. So ... is this something I should be worried about?

Pest extermination helicopter spraying pesticide while flying
bdavid32 / Adobe Stock

The state of Michigan has completed an aerial spraying program over nearly a half million acres in hopes of reducing the risk of a disease spread by mosquitoes.

The state has been dealing with another outbreak of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Health officials say EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States.  It's rare, but has a 33% fatality rate for people who get sick. 

prescription pill bottle
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Michigan health officials want to hear from residents of each region of the state about how the opioid crisis has affected them, their loved ones, and their community.

And they want feedback about services, programs, and policies.

DETROIT HEALTH DEPARTMENT

The Detroit Health Department wants to make the flu vaccine more accessible to city residents this fall.

 

One prong of the distribution effort is to provide 6,740 free shots to people living in emergency shelters, adult foster care facilities, and senior living facilities between October 14 and Christmas. 

 

Michigan infant, whose death was tied to COVID, had serious health troubles

Sep 18, 2020
Adobe Stock

A two-month-old boy — who Michigan’s top health official said this week had died from COVID-19 — had serious health conditions beyond the virus.

The child was born with gastroschisis, a birth defect in which a baby’s intestines develop outside the body. The condition was listed as the cause of his death Sunday, according to the Milwaukee County Medical examiner’s office, with the coronavirus as one of two complicating factors.

horses in a barn or stable
Engin Akyurt / Unsplash

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will be conducting aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes that spread the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus. The state has confirmed 22 cases of EEE in horses since July 31, all of which were fatal.

According to the MDHHS, this is double the number of cases in horses as compared to 2019. This years' cases were spread across ten counties.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A top Ingham County Health official calls the situation “alarming.”

Monday, the county health department placed 21 Michigan State University fraternities and sororities under a mandatory quarantine for COVID-19.

In all, the Ingham County Health Department has identified 30 large houses in East Lansing with known exposure to the coronavirus. People living there have been ordered to quarantine for the next two weeks.  Residents of the quarantined properties are being told to remain at home unless they need medical care or necessities that cannot be delivered.

Mat Reding / Unsplash

State health officials are urging people in nine Michigan counties to postpone, reschedule, or cancel outdoor activities and events that take place at dusk or after dusk, due to a spike in Eastern Equine Encephilitis (EEE) infections in horses.

EEE is a mosquito-borne illness which primarily affects birds, but it can also be transmitted to other mammals, including horses and humans.

The counties where EEE infections have been found in horses are Barry, Clare, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo, and Oakland.

METRON OF CEDAR SPRINGS

Visitation restrictions at long-term care facilities will ease up slightly on September 15. 

An order from the state health department will allow certain skilled nursing facilities, homes for the aged, and other long-term care facilities to hold outdoor visits for their residents, while maintaining safety measures such as distancing and mask-wearing requirements. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan will allow more families to visit loved ones in nursing homes and other residential facilities.

The state imposed restrictions on nursing home visits to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan's nursing homes. About a third of the state's coronavirus fatalities have been among people in long-term care facilities.   

DAVID CASSLEMAN / INTERLOCHEN PUBLIC RADIO

A legal challenge to COVID-19 testing requirements on Michigan farms has been dismissed in the federal court system. 

Two Michigan farms — True Blue Berry Management in Grand Junction, and Smeltzer Orchards in Frankfort — and several workers filed the lawsuit against the state in August, claiming the testing requirements discriminated against Latinos, who make up the majority of farm workers in the U.S.

 

LESTER GRAHAM / MICHIGAN RADIO

The Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic heard testimony Wednesday on recommendations issued last week by the state’s nursing home task force.

State lawmakers spent about an hour questioning Henry Ford Health System’s Dr. Betty Chu, who co-chaired the nursing home task force, about the report. 

 

RAWPIXEL

For the second week in a row, a comprehensive report has been released recommending how Michigan’s health department could better manage COVID-19 in nursing homes. 

DAVID MARK / PIXABAY

In an executive order issued last week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said gyms and swimming pools could re-open September 9, with added health and safety measures in place. 

Some gym owners, however, are approaching the re-opening process with caution.

US Department of Agriculture

A federal appeals court in Ohio has denied a request from some Michigan farms to suspend testing requirements for Michigan workers while it makes a decision about the related lawsuit.

Gretchen Whitmer at a podium
michigan.gov

The White House’s coronavirus response coordinator visited Michigan Wednesday.

Dr. Deborah Birx met with Governor Gretchen Whitmer to discuss the state’s response to the pandemic.

Birx says schools should have strong testing plans to find asymptomatic spread when it occurs, but she says some institutions are facing challenges.

Nearly a quarter of people in the United States are experiencing symptoms of depression, according to a study published Wednesday. That's nearly three times the number before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

And those with a lower income, smaller savings and people severely affected by the pandemic — either through a job loss, for example, or by the death of a loved one — are more likely to be bearing the burden of these symptoms.

COVID-19 vaccine race heats up with clinical trials at 3 Michigan sites

Sep 2, 2020
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

The race for a COVID-19 vaccine is picking up as three medical centers in Michigan now are involved in Phase 3 clinical trials of three different vaccine candidates. The hope is at least one of them will prove to be safe and effective in preventing the disease that has killed more than 183,000 Americans.

GUNDULA VOGEL / PIXABAY

A task force charged with recommending how nursing homes should manage COVID-19 in the event of a second wave submitted its report to Governor Gretchen Whitmer this week.

MICHIGAN FARM BUREAU

Advocates for migrant workers voiced their support on Thursday for a state order that requires farm operators to test their employees for COVID-19. 

The order, which also applies to food processing facilities and migrant labor camps, has faced legal resistance from Michigan farmers. 

 

rona4real.com (used with permission)

Soon you’re going to see Rona on billboards, hear Rona on the radio, and Rona will pop up on some of your favorite social media sites. Rona is a new ad campaign to get young adults to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

Rona – as in co-RONA-virus – is a red dot wearing sunglasses, described as a mischievous, malevolent character bent on infecting Michiganders who let down their guard. It has several arms that cannot quite reach six feet away.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents are getting extra help dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic through a program set up after the city’s water crisis.

The program was created to help people affected by Flint’s lead tainted drinking water. 

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha discovered evidence that the change of Flint’s drinking water source led to a spike in blood lead levels in Flint children in 2015.     She also played a significant role in creating the Flint registry.

A person with a high viral load walks into a bar.

That, according to researchers who study the novel coronavirus, is a recipe for a superspreading event — where one person or gathering leads to an unusually high number of new infections. And that kind of occurrence is increasingly considered a hallmark of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Pre-pandemic, about half of U.S. families reported having trouble finding care for a young child.

Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed 14 school-related outbreaks of COVID-19. The MDHHS did not provide the specific locations of the outbreaks, saying that “infectious disease outbreaks are not commonly announced to the media, unless there is broad risk to the general public and all people exposed cannot be notified.”

An outbreak, in this case, is generally considered to mean two or more cases with a common source of exposure. It is unknown how many cases are connected to the 14 outbreaks.

MICHIGAN TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY


STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

The City of Flint has a new deadline to replace lead water service lines in its neighborhoods.

Mayor Sheldon Neeley said during a press conference Thursday that the city had agreed with the Natural Resources Defense Council to extend the deadline for replacing the pipes to November 30.

 

“We’re pleased to say that we came to a negotiated term, with the NRDC, that gives us an extended period of time to make sure that we get to every resident,” he said.

 

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