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Health

novi suburban collection showplace sign
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

For the time being, the state will be closing the field hospital at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. That’s due to a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization in the region. 

 

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Today on Stateside, Michigan has experienced a drop in COVID-19 cases these past few weeks, but over the weekend, case numbers slightly increased again. We check in with an epidemiologist on how to pace yourself for a pandemic. Also, two law professors explain how legal precedents make it tough to prosecute police misconduct. Plus, the founders of a new bilingual media outlet discuss the need for more local news in Spanish.

Sen. Peter Lucido

In an often emotional hearing that raised more questions than it answered, the state Senate health policy committee heard testimony on a bill that would prohibit nursing homes without COVID-19 positive patients from caring for patients with the disease. 

Nursing home residents account for more than one third of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths, according to the state health department. 

 

Flickr/creative commons / Jeff Clark, BLM

Updated:  6/18/2020

Sixty eight people have died of COVID-19 so far in Michigan prisons, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections.

It's the second highest number of COVID-19 related deaths in a state prison system in the country, according to the non-profit Marshall Project, which is tracking the cases. Ohio is number one for COVID-19 related inmate deaths.

Beaumont Health eyeing merger with out-of-state hospital system Advocate Aurora

Jun 17, 2020
beaumont hospital royal oak exterior
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Beaumont Health announced Wednesday that it is considering a merger with a large out-of-state hospital system.

Beaumont said it has signed a nonbinding letter of intent with Advocate Aurora Health, a 28-hospital system in Illinois and Wisconsin.

RAWPIXEL

Nearly 2,000 nursing home residents in Michigan have died of COVID-19, making up about 34% of the state’s total deaths from the disease. That figure was announced on Monday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

doctor holding hydroxychloroquine
baranq / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has withdrawn its emergency use authorization for the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, once seen by some — including President Trump — as a game-changing treatment for COVID-19 patients.

The decision, outlined in a 15-page document released Monday, addresses a small portion of the drug’s use. Specifically, it pulls back the availability of hydroxychloroquine sulfate, as well as chloroquine phosphate, from the Strategic National Stockpile for use among hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Over the past three months Flint has restored water service to hundreds of homes.

Mayor Sheldon Neeley ordered the city to start reconnecting water service to occupied homes on March 12, a few weeks before Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered all Michigan cities to end water shutoffs and restore service.

City of Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the creation of a health corps to help Detroiters during the COVID-19 pandemic. The deputy mayor, Conrad Mallett, Jr., says various municipal departments will meet over the next thirty days and develop a plan for what the corps will look like.

Duggan says Detroit residents have expressed concerns about water shutoffs, evictions, job losses, and access to medical care during the pandemic.

“I really envision a corps of folks who work for the health department who can reach out to those of low income and say we will be there to help you on these issues,” says Duggan.

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Today on Stateside, more Michigan businesses reopen, including some bars and restaurants. A bartender weighs in on some service industry workers’ concerns. Also, two Black American journalists discuss covering protests against police brutality, during a pandemic, in a field dominated by white reporters and editors. Plus, an artist collective based up north relaunches.

person in wheelchair being consoled
Gundula Vogel / Pixabay

Update: June 5, 2020 11:25 p.m.

Data released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about COVID-19 in U.S. nursing homes appears to be partially inaccurate. Michigan Radio’s data analyst Brad Gowland reviewed the federal agency’s numbers and found that for 32 skilled nursing facilities in Michigan, the total number of COVID-19 resident deaths was greater than the total number of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases among residents.

State of Michigan

More marches and rallies are scheduled for this weekend to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

And that concerns local public health officials who fear large gatherings may spread the virus that causes COVID-19.

Denise Fair is Detroit’s Chief Public Health Officer. She says she doesn’t want to discourage people from speaking out.

Doctor or nurse sitting down with hands clasped
Jonathan Borba / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, healthcare workers emerging from months of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic find themselves in need of mental health support. Two reporters discuss what they’ve heard from the medical frontlines. Also, a check-in on the status of Michigan’s summer camps. Plus, a conversation with a lawyer helping arrested protestors, and an essay about protesting by the poet laureate of Grand Rapids.

Michigan’s Beaumont Health cancels merger with Ohio system, vague on why

May 29, 2020
beaumont hospital wayne exterior
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Plans to merge Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest hospital system, and Ohio-based Summa Health have ended — unrelated to financial losses from COVID-19, Beaumont said Friday morning.

Summa CEO Dr. Cliff Deveny said Beaumont surprised Summa officials last week, notifying Summa in phone calls and “official letters” that it was withdrawing from the planned merger.

Nearly killed by COVID-19, Michigan doctors, nurses return humbled, smarter

May 26, 2020
Anna Liza Casem, a Beaumont nurse, was on the front lines during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan when she too got sick.
Mandi Wright / Detroit free press

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

More than a thousand residents of Muskegon Heights and Flint lined up for free COVID-19 testing over the Memorial Day weekend.

The Michigan National Guard teamed up with local health departments to set up the special drive-thru testing centers over the three day weekend.

Ford Motor Company

Workers at Ford Motor Company's Dearborn Truck Plant are expected to return to work on Tuesday, after their local, UAW Local 600, filed a grievance over COVID-19 protocols at the plant.

The grievance was filed after two UAW members showed up for work last week, before learning the results of tests they'd received for COVID-19.  The tests turned out to be positive.  The situation sparked a brief walkout on Wednesday.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Across Michigan Monday, Memorial Day observances are different from past years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, the sound of taps mixed with birdsong during a Memorial Day ceremony.

Normally, thousands of people come to honor the nation’s fallen servicemen and women in Holly.

Macomb County boy, 7, recovers from pediatric rare syndrome linked to COVID-19

May 25, 2020
child sitting on hospital bed with teddy bear
Nutthavee / Adobe Stock

Hannah Peck doesn't know how or when her son was exposed to novel coronavirus.

He never had any symptoms of COVID-19, and her family has been following social distancing guidelines during the stay-at-home order.

So when Levi Nobles got sick in early May, a few days after his seventh birthday, she didn't suspect it had anything to do with the virus.

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Remember the question, “Doing anything fun this weekend?” You might not have heard it much these past few months, as the COVID-19 public health crisis and executive orders have kept many people at home and practicing social distancing.

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Michigan is currently reporting more than 2,300 COVID-19 cases in nursing homes. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the number of deaths is 748. That’s nearly 15% of the state’s COVID deaths.

 

But information about how well Michigan’s nursing homes have controlled the spread of COVID-19 has been limited. 

 

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As the pandemic weeks turn into pandemic months, many questions remain about how we know what we know about COVID-19. One of the major limiting factors in testing for the virus is the availability of supplies for test kits.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Department of Corrections is nearing its goal of testing all prisoners in state facilities. By the end of next week it should be finished. The National Guard has been assisting the prison system with testing prisoners.

At the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian there are 1,965 prisoners. A total of 716 have tested positive.

university of michigan hospital
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

More than a thousand resident physicians at the University of Michigan health system say they’re frustrated and insulted by contract negotiations that have stalled in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Negotiations over the 3-year contract began in January. The current contract runs through the end of June.

person holding test tubes with blue gloves on
Trust "Tru" Katsande / Unsplash

A study from the Othering and Belonging Institute at the University of California Berkeley ranks Michigan as its fourth most racially disparate states when it comes to COVID-19 deaths. Michigan ranks sixth in racial disparities in COVID-19 infection rates.

The study shows an interactive heat tracking map of racial disparities from state to state. The map looks at the racial makeup of the population, and then how that population is represented in the rates of COVID infection and deaths. For example, in Michigan, U.S. Census data shows black people make up 14% of the state's population, but account for 32% of COVID cases and 41% of COVID related deaths.

MICHIGAN.GOV

Without proper controls, infection will spread quickly through a nursing home. It’s one reason states have been grappling with the question of where to put elderly patients who’ve mostly recovered from COVID-19, but are still testing positive.

Connecticut has designated facilities that will care for COVID patients exclusively, while New York, rewinding a previous strategy, is requiring that nursing-home residents test negative before being discharged to a facility.

In Michigan, the state has selected about 20 facilities to take on these patients. As of today, all of them exist as separate units within nursing homes, many of whose residents have not tested positive for COVID.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit is ramping up COVID-19 testing, with a focus on testing ‘at-risk’ seniors. Since May 1, 84% of Detroiters who've died from the disease have been over the age of 60.

Because of that, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the city wants more senior citizens tested for the coronavirus.

Inflammatory syndrome tied to COVID-19 sickens more than 20 Michigan kids

May 14, 2020
child hooked up to medical machines
Dean Family Photo via AP

joneigh khaldun at a press conference
michigan.gov

The New York Times reported Michiganders are no longer staying at home in the same numbers, despite still being under a stay-at-home order. Governor Gretchen Whitmer called the data concerning.

In her Wednesday briefing Whitmer said movement itself isn’t the problem, so long as people still wear their masks outside and follow social distancing and handwashing.

woman in personal protection equipment talking to woman in wheelchair
Wikimedia Commons

Public health in Michigan has undergone a radical shift. 

The COVID-19 epidemic has killed more than 4,700 people and sickened tens of thousands of others in the state. Most businesses are closed, and one million-plus children are learning in place as best they can. 

As the Whitmer administration begins to make decisions on which businesses to reopen and when, the state’s chief medical executive says the numbers are improving.

“We are seeing a significant decline overall in the number of cases and deaths in the state and that is positive,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun.

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