Health | Michigan Radio


a hand holds a bag of plasma
Adobe Stock Photos

As people shelter in place and sew homemade face masks, many wonder when scientists might find a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. Meanwhile, a growing number of Michiganders who have tested positive for the virus are starting to recover. It turns out they could have an important role to play in the search for a treatment.

novi suburban collection showplace sign
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi has been selected as the site for a COVID-19 field hospital.

According to the state, after the conversion, the Suburban Collection Showplace will provide 250,000 square feet and bed space to accommodate up to 1,000 COVID-19 cases.

different types of face masks laying on a table

The state of Michigan now has more than 17,000 cases of COVID-19. But there's not enough personal protective equipment to last through the week at several hospitals in Southeast Michigan.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says the state is dangerously low on equipment to protect healthcare workers.


Today on Stateside, families advocate for their loved ones isolated in hospitals amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Beaumont Health representative Kelly Parent weighs in on the communication options available between hospital staff and families unable to be present at their loved ones’ bedsides. Plus, how to maintain your mental health while you’re at home.

Emma Simpson / Unsplash

Pretty much everything about the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful.

Dr. Arash Javanbakht, director of the Stress, Trauma, and Anxiety Research at Wayne State University, says situations COVID-19 has forced on us create major stress triggers. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing have caused abrupt changes, leaving us feeling a lack of control. Javanbakht and Alison Miller, associate professor of public health at the University of Michigan, gave some advice on how to cope with stress and some tips to get a handle on the situation.

Michigan has crossed another grim milestone in the COVID-19 outbreak.

For the first time, more than 100 Michiganders have died from the disease in a 24-hour period.

State health officials reported Monday an additional 110 people have died of coronavirus. A big leap from the 77 deaths reported Sunday.

Five generations of women in Biba Adams' family, standing in the grass with trees behind them
Courtesy Biba Adams


On March 26, two of the most important women in Biba Adams’ life went into the hospital with COVID-19 infections, and would soon be fighting for their lives.

VA hospital ann arbor
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

As Michigan prepares for an expected surge in COVID-19 cases, many hospitals, particularly in Southeast Michigan, are starting to become overwhelmed.

The TCF Center in Detroit is being converted into a field hospital, and the University of Michigan is planning to convert its indoor track field into a field hospital as well. As hospitals and health systems scramble to find more beds, ventilators, and PPE, the question comes up: could VA hospitals and medical centers function as backups during this surge?

gretchen whitmer sitting at table
State of Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has issued another COVID-19-related executive order. The order says employees who think they have the disease have a right to stay home.

It also says businesses cannot fire or punish employees who stay home because they show symptoms or think they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus. The order also covers workers who have to care for someone at home who’s sick with COVID-19.

user meddygarnet / Flickr

An employee at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit has died due to the new coronavirus. They were in their 70s. The VA did not provide any other details as to underlying health conditions due to “privacy concerns.”

This employee is at least the second known medical professional to die of COVID-19 in Detroit. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System is asking 3,000 southeastern Michigan first responders to take part in a clinical trial of a treatment that doctors hope may prevent people from contracting COVID-19. 

Hydroxychloroquine is a commonly used drug for lupus, which has shown some effect on the new coronavirus in early studies. However, published research remains thin.

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
BES Photos / Flickr -

Today on Stateside, we talk to Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell about the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases in Southeast Michigan, and how the outbreak is shifting the tone of partisan politics in Washington. We'll also hear about what impact ending the school year early could have on the state's most vulnerable students. 

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Construction is underway for a COVID-19 field hospital at Detroit's TCF Center.

As of April 1, Michigan health officials said there were 9,334 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan and 337 confirmed deaths. In Detroit alone, there were over 2,400 cases and 83 deaths.

Those numbers are guaranteed to continue climbing over at least the next several weeks, pushing local hospitals past capacity.

Gov. Whitmer
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is set to answer questions about COVID-19 in Michigan during a town hall Thursday evening at 7 p.m. Watch the event in the livestream below. If you're having trouble seeing the page, please try refreshing your browser. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting Thursday, the city of Flint is imposing a curfew to try to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.   

Two weeks ago, Flint was untouched by the coronavirus pandemic. As of Wednesday, Flint and Genesee County have recorded 249 positive COVID-19 cases and eight deaths.  


Governor Gretchen Whitmer has declared a state of disaster in Michigan. And she is asking the Legislature to extend her emergency powers to deal with the coronavirus outbreak that’s claimed more than 300 lives in Michigan.

Governor Whitmer sent a letter to House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake). She asked the Republican leaders to call votes to extend emergency powers she’s exercised on her own until now.

prison cell for two people
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Supreme Court says county jails should accelerate efforts to reduce the number of incarcerated people. And Chief Justice Bridget McCormack says the rapid spread of COVID-19 has made jails more dangerous for inmates, staff, and the sheriff’s deputies who guard them.

doctors walking down a hallway
Luis Melendez / Unsplash

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is fast tracking hundreds of licenses for graduating nurses, medical doctors, and osteopathic physicians across the state.

Many medical facilities are experiencing a shortage of healthcare personnel due to COVID-19. Governor Gretchen Whitmer is trying to increase the number of healthcare professionals fighting the pandemic as soon as possible. The graduates have already completed their respective programs and are just going through the typical procedures before they can get to work.

stock photo of surgical masks on a table
Macau Photo Agency / Unsplash

Michigan’s prison factories are re-tooling to produce personal protective equipment for prisoners and staff. According to MDOC, this is to slow the spread of COVID-19 across Michigan’s twenty-nine prisons.

There are three prison factories in Michigan: a Michigan State Industries factory at Ionia Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan State Industries Print Shop and Mattress Factory at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, and Michigan State Industries garment factory at the Boyer Road Correctional Facility in Carson City. Those factories are now producing cloth surgical masks, gloves, and gowns.

Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Henry Ford Health System says it’s been using the drug hydroxychloroquine to treat severe cases of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients.


Hydroxychloroquine recently gained a large amount of attention after President Donald Trump mentioned the anti-arthritis and anti-malaria drug in his March 20 press conference as being promising. Since then, there has been much discussion as to whether the drug is actually effective in treating COVID-19.


people at the detroit auto show
Corvair Owner / Flickr

Today on Stateside, it's hard to keep up with the daily rush of news about COVID-19 in Michigan. We talk with two reporters about some stories you might have missed.  Plus, writer Desiree Cooper offers perspective and advice about coping with uncertainty and loss. 

field hospital
Jakub Janele / Adobe Stock

The University of Michigan health system is making plans for a field hospital for an expected overflow of COVID-19 patients.

Officials hope to transform an indoor track facility at U of M into a field hospital by April 9th or 10th. 

Ali Hammoud, University of Michigan Medical School

When hospital rotations were placed on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of Michigan’s third- and fourth-year medical students wondered how they could stay useful. 

Within a few days, a handful of student-led volunteer groups popped up around the state, assisting medical workers and community members with tasks like mask-collection, childcare and food delivery.

teacher at Lakeland COrrectional facility
Isabella Isaacs-Thomas / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Corrections banned nearly all visitors to state prisons in mid-March, to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus among inmates.

But teachers at most prisons are still being told to report to work. The decision is not sitting well with some of them.

Exterior of fence and prison grounds
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Corrections has placed inmates at four prisons on partial lockdown as the number of inmates testing positive for COVID-19 rose over the weekend.

As of 6:00 p.m. Monday, 27 inmates at Macomb Correctional Facility tested positive for COVID-19, and 29 at Parnell Correctional Facility, a minimum security men's prison in Jackson County.

beaumont hospital royal oak exterior
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order that makes it easier for health care workers to handle more medical duties. It’s part of the state’s response to the growing shortage of health care workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The order relaxes some rules to allow specialists, nurses, and physician assistants to take on more responsibilities to help address the growing shortage of health care workers.

This is the worst day so far in the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan.

New state data shows the number of deaths increased by 52 to 184. And for the first time, more than 1,000 people tested positive for coronavirus in a 24-hour period. Michigan’s total number of coronavirus positive cases is now 6,498.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District

Hospitals across southeast Michigan are scrambling for more space and staff to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, as the need surges across the region with no end in sight.

As of Sunday, Michigan reported 5,486 COVID-19 cases, with 132 deaths. Those numbers are guaranteed to continue climbing over at least the next several weeks, pushing local hospitals past capacity.

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

The 2020 North American International Auto Show in Detroit has been canceled.

The Federal Emergency Management Administration says it will use the TCF Center as a field hospital for COVID-19 cases for at least six months.

The auto show was scheduled to begin on June 7th.

turtle creek casino sign

Over the last couple of weeks, Michigan officials worked to slow the spread of COVID-19, take care of citizens and stay operational. The twelve federally-recognized tribal governments in Michigan faced the same challenge.

None of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders apply to tribes — they’re sovereign states. Still, every tribe in Michigan closed or at least reduced staff in its government offices. All still provide some level of services.