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Health

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

Today on Stateside, people around the state are casting their votes in the presidential primary and for more than 200 local ballot initiatives. We'll hear about turnout and tabulation, and what makes a teenager want to work a 13-hour day at the polls. Plus, we talk to the Michigan's chief medical officer about the state's capacity to test people for COVID-19. 

hands under pouring water
mrjn Photography / Unsplash

The City of Detroit has announced what it's calling a Coronavirus Water Restart Plan to try to ensure that people have access to water during the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. Michigan does not yet have a confirmed case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The program comes after pressure from community activists, following Detroit's decision to pursue aggressive water shutoffs in 2014. More than 30,000 households experienced a water shutoff that year. 

The city often demanded large lump sum payments from people to re-connect them.

Detroit native Joan Bell talks about her experience with affordable housing at the Conner Creek Senior Apartments
MaKayla Ealy / Michigan Radio

Detroit mayor Mike Duggan announced a new program that aims to preserve affordable housing on Monday at Conner Creek Senior Apartments.

The city says the "Preservation Partnership" is meant to renovate apartment buildings that already have low rents and reduce the displacement of low-income families by keeping the rent low. The initiative is part of the city’s Multifamily Affordable Housing Strategy intended to preserve low-income housing in areas at risk of gentrification.

Doctor's stethoscope
Pixabay.com

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -  Michigan health insurers say they will cover the cost of medically necessary tests for the new coronavirus for people covered under employer and individual health plans. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, meanwhile, announced late Friday the waiving of testing and treatment fees for Medicaid recipients. Michigan currently has no known COVID-19 cases, but infections have been identified in about half of the states. Plans that will waive copays and deductibles for testing costs include Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Care Network, Priority Health, CVS Health, McLaren and Meridian.

students walking
Wikimedia Commons / CreativeCommons

As spring breaks wrap up, university campuses across the state are preparing for students and faculty returning from travel abroad with coronavirus anxieties in mind.

Universities are prompting returning students to self-monitor for symptoms. Faculty, students and staff traveling to or from China, South Korea, Italy, or Iran are being told to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus.

Michael Vrooman is the Chief International Officer for Grand Valley State University. He says students there should miss minimal instruction time.

doctor holding red stethoscope
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, a federal judge has invalidated Michigan's Medicaid work requirements. Republican leaders in the state Legislature are already pushing back. What does this mean for the more than 200,000 people in the state subject to those requirements? Plus, we'll talk about how the Democratic candidates for president stack up when it comes to addressing the concerns of black voters.

Updated Wednesday at 4:20 p.m. ET

After a slow initial roll-out, test kits for the new coronavirus are now becoming more widely available in the United States. That means a big surge in testing is coming — one that will likely cause a significant increase in identified cases of the COVID-19 illness.

Here are some things to know about the tests.

What is the current availability of coronavirus testing?

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

This Saturday is the first work requirement deadline for people with Healthy Michigan Plan insurance, which is provided under the state's Medicaid expansion program. 

A new law requires people to work, volunteer or job search 80 hours a month to keep their Healthy Michigan Plan insurance.

State and county officials say they've been telling people about the Healthy Michigan Plan work requirement for months, with letters, pop-up notices on their insurance accounts online, and the like. 

wikimedia commons

Michigan is ramping up its preparations for a possible coronavirus outbreak in the state, although right now, no one in Michigan has tested positive for the virus.

Lynn Sutfin is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

She says the state currently has the capacity to test between 100 and 150 people for coronavirus, should that be necessary.

people protesting the detainment of iraqi nationals in Detroit
Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, we talk to a leader in Michigan's Chaldean community about his meeting with Vice President Mike Pence about the future for detained and deported Iraqi Christians. Plus, a conversation about why so many mentally ill people in Michigan end up in jail, and what we can do about it. 

Eilien Dumon / unsplash

U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint) says President Donald Trump is shortchanging the nation's response to coronavirus, and treating it like a public relations problem instead of a public health crisis.

workers removing lead paint from exterior of house
Jamie Hooper / Adobe Stock

Grand Rapids and Kent County have formed a new Lead Action Team. The team will help track and respond to cases of elevated lead levels in kids.

About 1 in 16 kids in Grand Rapids had elevated blood lead levels in 2018, according to figures released by the county. That’s down from previous years. And, countywide, the numbers are even lower.

Photo of a cell phone with online comment section.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, Michigan is under the microscope this election year. We talk to a POLITICO reporter about why the state could play a key role in the rift among labor unions over Medicare for All. Plus, we talk to the hosts of Michigan Radio’s new political podcast. It focuses on a competitive congressional district where Republicans are hoping to hold onto the gains of 2016.

doctor holding red stethoscope
Unsplash

Medicare for All took second place to the dust-ups Wednesday at the Democratic debate, but it's still a prominent issue for a lot of voters. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren discuss it frequently on the campaign trail. But concerns are developing within some labor unions over the plan for a single-payer health care system. As primary momentum shifts toward Michigan, eyes are now on union leaders in the state.

family posing with cruise ship CEO
The Muth family

Updated Monday February 17, 2020 at 3:49 p.m.:

Almost 1,500 passengers and over 800 crew members were stuck on a cruise ship in the Pacific Ocean for two weeks, after fears of the coronovirus prevented the vessel from docking at a majority of their scheduled stops. That changed last Friday when passengers were finally able to disembark in Cambodia. 

Courtesy of Children First

Oakland County will try a new approach to providing health services to its un- and underinsured residents.

The plan, called Oakland Health 360, calls for consolidating more services at the county’s two health centers, in Southfield and Pontiac. Those will include a range of health services, including primary care, family planning, dental, and mental health services.

sick child
Adobe Stock

The disease COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus, continues to spread throughout the world. 

At the moment, the World Health Organization says it appears to be deadlier than the flu, although it may not spread as easily.

Peeling lead paint.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A new package of bills in Lansing could dramatically change how the state handles the problem of lead-based paint.

Lead based paint was banned in 1978, but it remains the leading cause of lead poisoning in the state.

Adobe Stock

A new University of Michigan study finds more Michiganders in the Medicaid expansion program are going to school and getting jobs.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

The U.S. State Department is warning Americans not to travel to China, issuing its most serious travel advisory one day after the World Health Organization declared the Wuhan coronavirus to be a global health emergency. The virus has spread to at least 22 countries, and more than 250 people in China have died.

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

Michigan universities say faculty members and students are returning from trips to China, as the coronavirus outbreak grows worse.

Lance McCord / Flickr, http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Some schools in West Michigan have been forced to close in the past few weeks because of outbreaks of "flu-like illnesses."

A home in Detroit.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Living in homes purchased at the Wayne County tax foreclosure auction, or near demolitions, increases the risk of lead poisoning in Detroit children.

Those findings are in a new, unpublished report from University of Michigan and Rutgers University researchers.

Updated Feb. 19, 11:00 a.m. ET

A new disease first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and now called COVID-19, continues to spread, primarily in China but cases have also appeared in some two dozen other countries.

Here's what we know so far about this virus, as reported by NPR's daily science podcast Short Wave.

What kind of disease is this?

person smoking an ecigarette
fedorovacz / Adobe Stock

The state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency is recalling more than 9,000 vape cartridges by a Detroit company.

The state says 8,020 of the cartridges were never sold, and will be destroyed. The other 1,360 cartridges were sold by Plan B Wellness in Detroit.

In more than 30 states, it is illegal for someone with HIV to have sex without first disclosing their status. Some are now pushing to change that, arguing that the laws are actually endangering public health.

More than 1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and their HIV status could conceivably put them behind bars. That's what happened to Michael Holder.

"I served 8 1/2 years in prison and three years after on parole," Holder says.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan representative is hoping to rally support for federal legislation to rein in prescription drug prices.

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint Township) met with patients and staff at a Flint area diabetes clinic this week. He was there to hear their stories and to promote the Lower Drug Costs Now Act.   

"I'm not anti-hospice at all," says Joy Johnston, a writer from Atlanta. "But I think people aren't prepared for all the effort that it takes to give someone a good death at home."

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The current flu season has turned deadly for two Michigan children.

They are the first pediatric flu fatalities of the current influenza season.

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