Health | Michigan Radio


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

President Donald Trump has approved Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request for a major disaster declaration in Michigan.

That means Michigan is now eligible for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

In the wake of the new coronavirus pandemic, hospitals across the state are now screening all employees before they start their shifts.

That screening usually comes in the form of a survey, where they self-report recent domestic and international travel, contact with someone who has COVID-19, and symptoms of COVID-19 like a dry cough and a fever. But are hospitals actually taking their employee’s temperatures?


Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Michigan now has among the most COVID-19 cases in the country. As of Friday, that number was 3,657, with 92 reported deaths.

But the state has tested far fewer people relative to other states with similarly high numbers.

Professor Kevin Corconan teaches philosophy to student inmates
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Temujin Kensu is an inmate at Macomb Correctional Facility, which on Friday reported three confirmed cases of COVID-19 among inmates.

He says many of the things that people outside the prison system can do to try to ward off infection are difficult or simply not possible for him and fellow inmates.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun at a news conference with Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Southeast Michigan hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases have begun sending some of those patients to hospitals with spare beds. These transfers to relief hospitals are part of the state health department’s so-called load-balancing plan.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive of MDHHS, explained the plan in a live address on Thursday morning.

sign on grocery store door
Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

Health officials are worried about people traveling up north from downstate and other areas around the country to their second homes.

Many are coming to northern Michigan to hunker down as the COVID-19 disease spreads in cities throughout the United States.

Dan kildee
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, Congress has approved the massive relief package to aid Americans and businesses during the global COVID-19 pandemic. We talk to Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee about the economic and political lessons we should take away from this crisis. Plus, it's down to the "Final Four" films of our Michigan March Movie Madness contest. Two movie critics discuss which should win the title of the most quintessentially Michigan movie. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

If you leave your home, take proper hygiene precautions.

“You cannot possibly interact with an environment, go out into the world and wipe and secure every single surface,” said Sue Anne Bell, Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Nursing. She added, “do your due diligence in maintaining hygiene.”

detroit police car
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The hard-hit Detroit Police Department is taking new measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the new protocols should start this week.

a ventilator with tubes coming out of it
Adobe Stock Images

Today on Stateside, a West Michigan hospital puts into action a pandemic plan more than a decade in the making. Also, Michigan’s manufacturers assess the risks of entering the medical supply market amid a shortage of critical health care equipment needed for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Across the state millions of Michiganders are staying at home after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a "stay at home" order for at least the next three weeks.

But what if you don’t have a home? The order makes no mention of people experiencing homelessness.

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

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says three patients in state psychiatric facilities have tested positive for COVID-19.

Two of the positive cases are patients at the Walter Reuther Psychiatric Hospital in Westland and one is at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Saline.

prison bars
Flickr /

Eight staff members at the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department tested positive for the new coronavirus. At least seven of those employees have been in contact with other employees and inmates at the county jail.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Pageant Atterberry says any inmate who shows symptoms of coronavirus infection is separated from the general population and sent to jail medical facilities. If needed, an inmate would be transported for treatment. So far, only one inmate has been examined and found not to be infected.

detroit police car
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A 9-1-1 dispatcher for the Detroit Police Department died Monday due to the new coronavirus. The man was 38 years old and had no underlying health conditions, according to Police Chief James Craig. The man was admitted to a hospital in the metro Detroit area with respiratory issues and was subsequently tested for COVID-19, but his test results didn’t come back as positive until after his death.

graphic showing flattening the curve
Stephanie King / Michigan Medicine

You’ve probably been hearing the term “flatten the curve” a lot these days. It's the idea that society can slow the rate of infection for contagious diseases by taking measures like canceling schools, closing businesses, or sheltering in place. The hope is to reduce the number of patients who need urgent medical care all at once.

man sits on bench with sign that says anything helps

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered people in Michigan to “stay at home” in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The order goes into effect on Tuesday,  March 24.

While staying home is an important way to reduce the spread of the virus, not everybody has that option. Homeless shelters around the state are having to balance meeting people’s most basic needs like food and housing, while also doing their best to maintain social distance in crowded facilities.

wikimedia commons

Last week, Michigan received a shipment of personal protective equipment from the national emergency stockpile.

The materials were shipped to all 45 local health departments in the state as well as the state's eight healthcare coalitions, divvied up by population.

But the total was a tiny fraction of what health care workers will need as they face an expected surge in COVID-19 patients. Hospitals across Michigan began accepting and soliciting donations over the weekend.

Dave Nakayama / FLICKR -

A Michigan prisoner who was sent to the hospital earlier this month has tested positive for  COVID-19. The inmate was taken to a hospital on March 11th for medical care unrelated to the new coronavirus. 

The prisoner was at that hospital for almost a week. Then he was transferred to a second hospital.

“Where he was placed on a floor with members of the public who were suspected of having COVID-19,” said Chris Gautz, Public Information Officer with the Department of Corrections.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Right now, in a number of Michigan hospitals, it's the calm before the storm.  Many hospitals in the state are caring for only a handful of COVID-19 patients. But that's expected to change swiftly in the next two to three weeks.

Gearing up for the expected surge is proving to be very difficult. Hospitals are having trouble locating enough personal protective gear via their normal supply channels, including disposable masks, gloves, caps, foot covers, and gowns, as well as face masks, N95 respirator masks, face shields and safety goggles.

As of September 26, there have been 133,377 cases of COVID-19 in Michigan and 7,027 deaths.

Have you been affected by the new coronavirus? Help us report: submit a tip

The chart below provides a look at how overall confirmed cases and fatalities are growing across the state on a daily basis. It is meant to show growth over time. 

Aaron Burden / Unsplash

Oakland County’s Health Division is issuing emergency orders, immediately closing shopping malls and putting playground equipment off-limits as the number of COVID-19 cases in the county rise.   

The county is also imposing new restrictions on people entering child care facilities.

As of Saturday morning, 225 people in Oakland County have tested positive for the virus. On Friday Oakland County recorded its first coronavirus death. The 50 year old man was the fourth person in Michigan to die since the outbreak.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Corrections and Catholic Charities are working to find a way to restore ‘substance abuse training’ for inmates. Without the training, many inmates who would be eligible for parole will remain in prison.

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

Update: 12:36 p.m.

The University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor announced Thursday that it has also launched an in-house test for COVID-19. No details were provided on the number of tests available.

Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak is now processing COVID-19 tests on site. Though the staff is prioritizing which patients tests are processed first, they say they have the capacity to run several hundred tests a day. Henry Ford Health System has also announced an in-house test.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The timeline is still not certain, but the U.S. and Canada soon will be closing the border to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Non-essential travel will be stopped, but who is “essential” is not yet clear.

The Canada Border Services Agency says exemptions on travel across the border are being given to healthy workers in the trade and transportation sector such as truck drivers and crews on planes and trains. Healthy people who have to cross the border to go to work, including healthcare providers and critical infrastructure workers will be exempt.

Darko Stojanovic / Pixabay

The coronavirus outbreak is still in its early days. But Kalamazoo County’s health director says there is already a shortage of supplies and a strain on healthcare workers.

Jim Rutherford briefed county commissioners Tuesday night. There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kalamazoo County. But Rutherford says his department is getting requests for more masks and other protective gear from healthcare agencies.

Courtesy: Ann Arbor Distilling Company

You might have a hard time finding hand sanitizer at any price these days because of concerns about the novel coronavirus. Store shelves are often empty. But one Michigan company is making it and giving it away.

With all the hoarding people are doing, it’s nice to hear about people trying to make things better. 

Ann Arbor Distilling Company decided it had the main ingredient you need to make hand sanitizer: alcohol.

Danielle Berridge is the distillery’s tasting room manager. She says they’re using the neutral spirit they use in their gin.

“It’s actually made from local corn. And then we’ve got some aloe gel in there and a little bit of veggie glycerin. And then we also add water to it to bring it down to, I believe, 70%,” she said.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit city bus drivers refused to work and demanded changes because of concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Those issues have been resolved and the bus drivers will go back to work Wednesday. 

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan worked with union leaders most of the day to resolve the issues.