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Health

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. 

Anyone over age 65 can start getting vaccinated starting January 11.
Adobe Stock

Starting January 11, some frontline essential workers and anyone over the age of 65 will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced on Wednesday. That’s a pivot from the CDC’s guidance, which recommends only allowing those over the age of 75 to be part of the next phase of vaccinations, along with frontline workers.

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.

Spectrum Health

Local health leaders say they expect the pace of COVID vaccinations to speed up in the coming weeks.

As of Tuesday, 86,626 people had received the first dose of a vaccine in Michigan. But that’s out of nearly 338,000 doses that have been distributed, according to the state’s vaccine dashboard.

Some local health leaders say they’ve purposely gone slow in the first weeks, because the virus requires two shots, weeks apart.

A vial of Pfizer's mRNA COVID-19 vaccine
University of Maryland School of Medicine

ADOBE STOCK

More than 5,000 long-term care facilities in Michigan are expected to receive the Moderna vaccine from either CVS Pharmacy or Walgreens in the coming weeks, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Through a partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pharmacy chains will set up three vaccination clinics at each enrolled site over a 12-week period.

Inside Beaumont's COVID-19 units, nurses fear people "just don't care"

Dec 27, 2020
nurse standing in the hallway of a hospital
Kim / Detroit Free Press

It was a Tuesday afternoon in mid-December at Beaumont Hospital in Farmington Hills. Inside, dozens of people were alone in rooms with closed doors, hooked up to oxygen tanks and IV medicine, sickened by the virus that came to define 2020. 


Vincent Duffy / Michigan Radio

Despite the advice of national health experts, AAA says it expects about 85 million people to travel in the United States over the holiday season. 

Adrienne Woodland is spokesperson for the organization in Michigan.  She says that number is down from the more than 110 million who traveled over the same period in 2019.

“In Michigan, almost 2.6 million could potentially travel and that’s down about 30 percent compared to last year," Woodland said.

DONFIORE / ADOBE STOCK

The coronavirus’s footprint in Michigan continues to shrink.

During a Wednesday Zoom call with reporters, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services presented data showing statewide declines in COVID-19 case rates, hospitalizations, and the percentage of tests coming back positive during the week that ended December 19.

SJ OBJIO FOR UNSPLASH @SJOBJIO

Staff at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in the Upper Peninsula will be joining Michigan’s largest nurses’ union.

The health care workers tallied their mail-in votes this week, with 35 voting in favor of joining the Michigan Nurses Association, and 17 voting against.

Kelly Engle, who’s been a nurse at the hospital for 10 years, says nurses and administrators alike were overwhelmed in the spring when decisions had to be made about caring for COVID-19 patients.


Bridge Michigan

Jeffrey Byrnes is giving a lot of thought these days to how a newly approved vaccine for the coronavirus should be dispensed.

Charlie Day in hospital
Candace Day

A rare side effect of COVID-19 can cause respiratory and heart failure in some young people.

Health professionals call it “Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children,” or MISC.

One northern Michigan family says finding out their young son had it was one of the scariest moments of their lives.

It was mother’s worst nightmare. Kandace Day’s four-year-old son was air-vacced to the hospital with 15 doctors rushing him to the ICU.

Master Sgt. David Eichaker / Air National Guard

The state’s prisons have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 50% of Michigan’s prison inmates have been infected by the virus.

As inmate Debra McDaniel notes, "The United States wasn't even prepared for this, let alone a correctional facility."

WILL CALLAN / MICHIGAN RADIO

Nurses, housekeepers, and other frontline workers at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs hospital received their first doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday.

The Ann Arbor site was the only VA hospital in Michigan to receive doses this week and one of 37 in the U.S. selected for their ability to vaccinate a large number of people and manage the Pfizer vials, which require ultra-cold storage.

Harlan Hatcher, Thomas Francis, Jonas Salk, and Basil O'Connor at Polio Vaccine announcement
University of Michigan News and Information Services Photographs, Bentley Historical Library

Crowds cheered this weekend as the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine rolled out of the production plant in Portage, Michigan. It was an emotional moment for some health care workers, too, as they became the first in the state to receive vaccinations. This historic step brings a cautious hope at the end of a devastating year. It also highlights how vaccine production has changed amid shifts in American science, medicine, and culture over the past several decades.

Each week, we answer frequently asked questions about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Frontline workers at Michigan’s largest health care system started getting COVID-19 vaccinations on Tuesday.

Southeast Michigan’s Beaumont Health received 975 initial doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two shots. It’s vaccinating the highest-priority health care workers, like respiratory therapist Tamara Allen, first.

a person holds a vaccine vial
Adobe Stock

In Northern Michigan, hospitals and health departments urged residents to continue following public health guidelines, noting that vaccine distribution will take some time.

Nick Torney is a Munson Healthcare Infectious Disease Pharmacist. He says for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, people will have to receive two separate doses.

“The FDA really does have a rigorous process for improving vaccines for safety. None of those processes were limited in the process of identifying a safe vaccine for COVID-19,” he says.

man in a mask gets a vaccine from health care worker in a mask
Adobe Stock

This weekend, a convoy of trucks rolled out of the Pfizer manufacturing plant in Portage, carrying the first doses of the freshly-FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine. As people watched this historic moment, hopes soared  that this could be the beginning of the end of this deadly pandemic. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, was one of those people.

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