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Health

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From southwest Michigan to the Upper Peninsula, rural health departments are warning residents of a “severely limited” vaccine supply, “a high volume of calls,” and “full capacity for our clinics.”

What that's meant for Steve Hall, health officer at the Central Michigan District Health Department, is having to continually “shift on the fly.”

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COVID-19 vaccinations will begin at a handful of Meijer pharmacies in Wayne County this week.

Prioritizing patients who are 65 or older, Meijer expects to give shots to 1,950 people — two shipments' worth of Pfizer doses — within a few days of receiving the doses.

Meijer’s director of corporate communications Frank Guglielmi says those shipments should arrive early this week.

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

A new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been identified in Michigan, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced on Saturday.

The new variant, B.1.1.7, was identified in an adult woman from Washtenaw County. She had recently traveled to the United Kingdom, where the variant was first identified. MDHHS says the woman’s close contacts have been notified and are in quarantine. Two of those contacts have tested positive for COVID-19, though it’s unclear if they have the B.1.1.7 variant.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Michigan — so far — has not seen a large spike in COVID-19 cases since the winter holidays.

 

“While I am concerned about the slight uptick in cases after the holidays, we are not seeing the surge of hospitalization that we saw in the beginning of November,” Michigan’s chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, said at a press conference Jan. 13.

a woman in scrubs puts on gloves in front of a car
Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

Detroit launched its first major COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Wednesday at a drive-thru clinic set up in the garage of the TCF Center. City health officials made 400 appointments for Detroit seniors, teachers, and childcare providers.

“I'm an active person,” said Francena Dudely, an 87-year-old lifelong Detroiter, who was among those vaccinated. “I want to be able to get out a little bit and even if I still have to wear a mask, I will feel more comfortable.”

vaccinator giving someone a covid vaccine through the window their car
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

It'll be May, the state estimates, before Michigan can open up COVID-19 vaccines to the next wave of people. But if Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail could somehow get her hands on 83,000 doses of the vaccine – one for each of the county's currently eligible frontline workers, as well people older than 65 – she’s pretty sure she could get all those shots in arms in, say, three weeks.

We're No. 33! Or are we? How Michigan tracks COVID-19 vaccines could cost us

Jan 14, 2021
syringes in a blue basket
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The federal government gave states even more incentive this week to make sure they're getting COVID-19 shots injected into arms as quickly as possible.

States that don't efficiently immunize their people — and report the data accurately — won't get as many doses of COVID-19 vaccines as states that do. The change in the way vaccines are being distributed comes as the virus continues to spread across the nation, filling hospital beds and killing people at a record pace.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Ex-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has been charged in the Flint water crisis. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who nearly seven years ago, noticed something was wrong.

students and teachers in masks in classroom
Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, Governor Whitmer said last week she is hoping schools will be able to reopen in-person classes by March. She also announced that K- 12 school teachers are among the groups who can get the COVID-19 vaccinations. We talk about how that process will begin. And, we continue our look at Betsy Devos' legacy after her resignation from her position as Secreatary of Education. Plus, we’ll discuss yesterday’s news that former Governor Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water crisis.

Beating back the pandemic may come down to simple math: getting enough people vaccinated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, says the country will likely need a vaccination level of between 70% and 90% to reach herd immunity.

courtesy of Spectrum Health

Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants Michigan to buy up to 100,000 of doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on its own.

The federal government already arranged to buy 200 million doses of the vaccine from Pfizer, and it’s been coordinating distribution to the states.

But Governor Whitmer, along with governors from eight other states, says that process is taking too long.

Henry Ford Health System ends hydroxychloroquine study

Jan 11, 2021
Adobe Stock

Promoted in April as the first large-scale drug study on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine to protect against COVID-19, the Detroit-based clinical trial has quietly been iced.

Henry Ford Health System officials told Bridge Michigan they could not find enough participants to continue studying whether the drug could help beat back the deadly pandemic.

a group of women on yoga mats in an exercise class
Unsplash

Being more physically fit may protect you from having severe COVID-19, according to a new study from Henry Ford Health System.

Researchers looked at patients who had taken an exercise stress test over the past four years, and were also diagnosed with COVID-19. That was about 250 people.

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Vaccinations are underway at Michigan’s long-term care facilities. Data from CVS show the pharmacy had distributed over 20,000 doses as of Friday.

Walgreens doesn’t provide the same state-level data, but says it expects to administer all first doses for those residents and staff who want them by January 25.

DONFIORE / ADOBE STOCK

Health officials believe that if it hasn't already, a new and apparently more contagious variant of the coronavirus will soon land in Michigan. 

Two labs are on the lookout.

The state lab in Lansing and a research lab at the University of Michigan are actively sequencing genetic material from positive COVID-19 test samples to see if the variant — which was first identified in the U.K., and appears to spread more quickly — is present.

Hands gripping jail cell bars
maxpixel

Michigan's guidelines for prioritization of the COVID-19 vaccine includes staff in correctional facilities and homeless shelters in its early phases, but not inmates and people living in homeless shelters.

That's a concern for the ACLU of Michigan, who released a memo this week asking the state to reconsider these groups to include residents of homeless shelters and inmates in Michigan's prisons and jails.

Kandace Day

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is now regularly releasing data about cases of an inflammatory condition that has affected some children who were, according to the state website, “infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19.”

There have been 58 confirmed cases in Michigan since April, according to a January 7 update. That is 15 more cases reported since the mid-December update. Their ages range from zero to 20.

DONFIORE / ADOBE STOCK

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and outbreaks continued to decline statewide over the week ending Saturday, January 2, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

But case numbers appear to be plateauing, and state officials say holiday gatherings could drive a spike.

A hospital emergency room entrance.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Cardiac arrests outside of hospitals went up by 60% during the first 10 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic over the same period the year before. And there was a 42% jump in deaths from cardiac arrests in the pre-hospital setting.

These were some of the findings of a study of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest records of the Emergency Service Information System in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties from March 23 through May 31, 2020. 

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

The state of Michigan has begun distributing COVID-19 vaccines, and frontline health workers and residents of long-term care facilities are first up to receive the vaccination.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, old tensions between Governor Whitmer and state legislative leaders flared during the lame-duck session. Plus, a conversation with the author of the satirical novel The Great American Cheese War about its eerie parallels with some of 2020’s biggest stories. And, we talk more about the vaccines and how distribution is going in Michigan. 

Courtesy photos

More information is coming out about the potential long term symptoms of COVID-19. The CDC recently put out a list of the long term effects of the virus. And post-COVID treatment centers are growing in number.

It’s being called “Long COVID.” For people living with it, there are a lot of unknowns.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

The state of Michigan is handing out face masks to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 3.5 million masks are being distributed through community organizations, including local Department of Health and Human Services offices, health departments, and Area Agency on Aging offices.

illustration of nurses and doctors wearing PPE
Kevin Kobsic / United Nations / Unsplash

While we can’t know for sure the number of COVID cases in our communities, the number of confirmed cases has just rounded the 500,000 mark today. As we reckon with these huge numbers, we spoke with Michigan Radio reporters Kate Wells, who covers Southeast Michigan, and Dustin Dwyer, who covers West Michigan, about what reporting on COVID throughout the state has looked like over the past 10 months.

The latest pandemic milestone in Michigan: The state has now confirmed more than half a million cases of coronavirus.

On Monday the state added 4,992 new confirmed cases, a two-day total covering test results from both Saturday and Sunday.

That brings the total number since the start of the pandemic to 502,119.

When Ashwani Sheoran showed up for early morning shifts at pharmacies in rural Michigan wearing his white Walmart smock, he often found customers waiting, desperate for bottles of pain pills.

"I see my patients, 15 to 20, already lined up to get prescriptions filled for morphine sulfate, oxycodone and other straight narcotics," he said.

This was in 2012 when the prescription opioid epidemic was exploding, killing tens of thousands of Americans every year.

University of Michigan Injury Prevention Center

Preliminary data suggest that opioid overdoses rose in Michigan this year, according to a University of Michigan database.

The U of M Injury Prevention Center tracks opioid overdoses reported by county medical examiners, and EMS administrations of the anti-overdose drug naloxone, in close to real time.

GUNDULA VOGEL / PIXABAY

Chronic issues in Michigan’s long-term care facilities were deepened in 2020 by the pandemic.

Public health measures often had the unintended consequence of forcing residents into isolation and loneliness. National studies show those conditions can have negative health impacts on older adults, and in some cases bring on an earlier death.

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.

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