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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
Seventyfour / Adobe Stock

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
Shutterfly/thaiview

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."

Adobe Stock

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.

Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash

No, there’s no evidence COVID-19 vaccines can impact a teen girl’s fertility. 

And yes, actually, your kid can get really sick from COVID.

hatim elhady with UPAMM holds a sign at a rally
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan's Board of Regents recognized United Physician Assistants of Michigan Medicine, or UPAMM, in July of 2020. Now, the union is bargaining for its first contract with Michigan Medicine.

Nearly 50 members and community members gathered at E. Medical Center Drive on Tuesday to show support for the bargaining team, which is on day four of its seven day bargaining marathon.

Members of the Graduate Employees Organization and the Lecturers' Employee Organization were among those who showed up.

a table set up with people around it at the Ford Field vaccination site in Detroit
Vince Duffy / Michigan Radio

Anyone 18 and older can now get a free one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccination at Ford Field in Detroit, during the final two weeks of the federal mass vaccination site's operation.

The site is also providing free second doses of the Pfizer vaccine to anyone 16 and older regardless of where they got their first dose. The first dose needs to have taken place 21 days before the second dose can be given, and people should bring their CDC vaccination card to Ford Field.

a person holds a vaccine vial
Adobe Stock

Until recently, Michiganders struggled to find open vaccine appointments. Some even crossed state lines to get their shots. Now that vaccine supply has increased, the state is facing an opposite challenge: finding enough people who are able and willing to sign up for a dose — and soon.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new University of Michigan study found an increase in the percentage of adolescents reporting concussions.

The study looked at 50,000 eighth, tenth and twelfth graders between 2016 and 2020. 19.5% of those students reported concussions in 2016. In 2020, 24.6% reported concussions. 

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

Sudden onset diabetes. Heart, lung, and kidney disorders. “Foggy brain,” and other neurological problems.  Muscle weakness, fatigue, and skin rashes.

These are just some of the almost bewildering array of long-term complications that some people develop after getting COVID-19.

Michigan Medicine has added two new multi-disciplinary clinics to treat adults and children with such complications. These patients are often referred to as COVID-19 “long haulers.”

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

Michigan is seeing progress in the fight against COVID-19.

But the pandemic continues to exact a toll.

Michigan added another 5,035 coronavirus positive cases on Monday, bringing the state’s total number of positive coronavirus cases to 849,420 since the pandemic began a year ago. That includes 17,771 Michiganders who’ve died.

The mass inoculation of millions of American children against polio in 1955, like the vaccinations of millions of American adults against COVID-19 in 2021, was a triumph of science.

But the polio vaccine had overwhelming public acceptance, while stubborn pockets of vaccine hesitancy persist across the U.S. for the COVID-19 vaccine. Why the difference? One reason, historians say, is that in 1955, many Americans had an especially deep respect for science.

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