Health | Michigan Radio


City of Detroit Facebook screenshot

Detroit is stepping up enforcement of COVID-19 protocols on city businesses, urging residents to call the health department if they see a business flouting the rules, such as not requiring employees and customers to wear masks or physically distance.

Mayor Mike Duggan says an inspector will go to that business immediately, and inspectors have been given the authority to issue a $1,000 fine or even shut the business down if necessary.

Michigan’s surging COVID-19 case numbers are straining many local efforts to track down people who may be infected.

State health officials added another 12,763 confirmed coronavirus cases Monday, which also includes tests from Sunday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Michigan has recorded 264,576 COVID-19 cases. A total of 8,049 Michiganders have died from the illness. 

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Michigan Republican Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-7) has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Walberg – who was recently re-elected – took to Facebook to inform the public he tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University will conduct a study into how to communicate the need for antibody tests for COVID-19 in communities that are often mistrustful of government health campaigns, and with good reason.


Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration on Sunday ordered high schools and colleges to stop in-person classes, closed restaurants to indoor dining and suspended organized sports — including the football playoffs — in a bid to curb the state’s spiking coronavirus cases.

Junfu Han / Detroit Free Press

Michigan marked its worst week yet in the coronavirus pandemic as 44,019 people were newly diagnosed and 416 died.

The unprecedented surge sparked a cascade of school and college campus closures, along with shuttered city halls in Warren and Grosse Pointe and a warning from some hospital systems that they're nearing capacity as sick patients flood emergency rooms.


Today on Stateside, COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the state. We check in with an Upper Peninsula health department about the outbreak’s impact in the area. Also, U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-13th) on Election Day results and the needs of her district. Plus, new music from a Flint singer-songwriter and musician.

Courtesy of SEIU Healthcare Michigan

Inside Mercy Health’s gleaming new hospital tower along US-31 in Muskegon, four full floors are now filled with COVID-19 patients. More people are in the emergency room, waiting for beds to open up. Nurses are working grueling 16-hour shifts, racing between rooms, trying to keep up with the growing onslaught of sick patients.

“It has been so stressful and chaotic and heartbreaking, to say the least,” says one worker who helps treat COVID patients at Mercy Health Muskegon.

gretchen whitmer and joneigh khaldun sitting at table
State of Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, along with Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, will be giving an update on COVID-19 in Michigan at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday. You can watch their comments in the live video below.  

Kids wearing masks at computers
Mediteraneo / Adobe Stock

Michigan's largest school district will suspend in-person classes next week, joining other districts that have shifted to online-only classes as coronavirus cases rise significantly around the state.


Mari Esther Sheets is more powerful than she seems. The cancer and stroke survivor is 55. She lives at Samaritas, a nursing home in Grand Rapids. And because she’s so young — and aware — she can speak up for other residents in the facility.

Tory Kamerling, her boyfriend, describes her as an advocate.

The couple spoke with Michigan Radio’s Will Callan about being apart during COVID-19, and what it was like when the virus overran the facility.

BRYCE HUFFMAN / Michigan Radio

Michigan health officials plan to study the potential long-term health effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposure on people in four West Michigan communities.

PFAS are a class of industrial chemicals linked to health problems like cancer, and thyroid disease. Known as “forever chemicals” that remain intact in the environment and human bodies for a long time, PFAS are present in substances ranging from firefighting foam to food packaging.

courtesy of Spectrum Health

West Michigan’s hospitals are once again being forced to postpone surgeries and other inpatient medical procedures as the number of people infected with the coronavirus continues to skyrocket in the region.

Eric Seals / Detroit Free Press

Michigan’s coronavirus cases just keep going up, as the state broke yet another record for the number of COVID-19 cases reported in one day on Tuesday.

That daily number was 6,473. Over the past week, the state has reported on average more than 5,000 new confirmed cases per day. Those numbers are far higher than we ever saw in the spring, when COVID-19 testing was far more limited.

Jos Campau Historic District in Hamtramck, Michigan.
Andrew Jameson / Wikimedia Commons

The COVID-19 pandemic has closed the Hamtramck city clerk’s office, after City Clerk August Gitschlag and two employees tested positive for the disease.

The office closed on Monday. Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski told the Detroit Free Press that for the time being, all clerk-related business will be handled through the city manager’s office. Hamtramck city hall remains open.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts
City of Warren

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has closed city hall after a number of employees there tested positive for COVID-19, along with several police officers and district court staff. 

"We're taking every possible precaution because it's important," says Fouts. "We don't want it to spread, we don't want any of our valued employees to get sick, and we don't want of the people who come to city hall to get sick." 

A healthcare worker process a COVID-19 test at Beaumont.
Beaumont Health

The public health capacity to deal with contact tracing of COVID-19 cases is becoming overwhelmed, according to Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, Communications and Health Promotion Administrator for the Washtenaw County Health Department.

She says her staff is exhausted, after working overtime and weekends for months.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flu shot clinics are scheduled at baseball stadiums in Detroit and Lansing Monday and Tuesday. It’s part of a push to get millions of Michiganders vaccinated.

On Friday, state health officials reported nearly 2.4 million Michiganders have received their influenza vaccine this season. The state is more than halfway towards its goal of 4.2 million flu vaccinations. Last year more than three million Michiganders got their flu shot.

The University of Michigan West Quad
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan is telling undergrad students who don't need to live on campus to study online from home for the winter semester.

Given the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the county, as well as hospitalizations, that's the right call, according to Susan Ringler-Cerniglia of the Washtenaw County Health Department.

"In the dorm settings or some of these off campus houses where many students live together, it's very, very difficult to have good distance or more separation," says Ringler-Cerniglia.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan has reached a milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic, with the state recording more than 200,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.  

Among the latest to test positive is a top state lawmaker.

State Senator Jim Ananich announced his positive test on Twitter.

coronavirus symptoms sheet
Adobe Stock

Ottawa County says it can no longer trace all the contacts for people who test positive for COVID-19. There are just too many cases.

In the past two weeks alone, the Ottawa County Health Department says it’s identified a “staggering” number of new cases – 2,200 in all.

A small hospital in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula braces for COVID

Nov 6, 2020
a hospital hallway with people at the end of it
Robin Erb / Bridge

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge eastward through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the reality at tiny War Memorial Hospital can be counted on the fingers of hospital CEO David Jahn.

Six. That’s the number of intensive care beds at War Memorial. On Thursday, five of those beds were filled; one with a COVID patient.


Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law Thursday that will give people more information about COVID-19’s impact on nursing homes. 

Starting November 15, the law requires the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to post weekly reports with information such as current visitation policies and the number of new cases and deaths among residents and staff. 


Whether it's strange rashes on the toes or blood clots in the brain, the widespread ravages of COVID-19 have increasingly led researchers to focus on how the novel coronavirus sabotages the body's blood vessels.

The state of Michigan recorded a record high daily number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases Wednesday.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 4,101 new confirmed COVID cases on Wednesday. That’s the highest single day total since the outbreak began in March. The previous single day high was 3,782 on October 31.


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is increasing how much information it shares with the public about long-term care facilities and COVID-19. 

Previously, MDHHS only published case and death counts for skilled nursing facilities. The new reports, to be published every Monday, will also include licensed adult foster facilities (AFCs) with 13 or more residents, and licensed homes for the aged (HFAs). 

Adobe Stock

A number of major hospital systems across the state are warning they may have to cancel certain medical procedures if coronavirus cases continue to rise.

As of Thursday, the state reported a total of 1,545 people hospitalized with COVID-19, a 47% increase compared to last Monday, when 1,050 people were hospitalized.

State health department officials are imposing new limits on indoor gatherings to curb surging rates of COVID-19.  

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is dropping the number of people permitted at indoor gatherings from 500 to 50. This would apply to events like weddings. 

HOLLAND HOSPITAL / Used with permission

Some hospitals in metro Detroit are prepared to accept COVID-19 patients from regions of the state that are experiencing a sharper rise in hospitalizations. 

Beaumont Health’s chief operating officer Carolyn Wilson told Michigan Radio that the system’s eight hospitals currently have enough space in their COVID units to accept transfer patients if needed. 


“We still have some capacity there, and that is where Beaumont is willing to work with the state and those that need it to transfer some patients in,” she said.