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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is asking people who attended the Faster Horses country music festival this month to get tested for COVID-19. Health officials believe a coronavirus outbreak is connected to the event.

As of Monday, 23 people who attended Faster Horses have tested positive for COVID-19.

“These are individuals who were attending and many were at the festival during their infectious period,” state health department spokesperson Lynn Sutfin said.

National Park Service

Yes, it’s a rare virus that people can get from animals (specifically mice, in this case.) And yes, it can be fatal, and has symptoms like fever, fatigue, and cough. 

But the Washtenaw County woman who was recently hospitalized with the state’s first confirmed case of Hantavirus isn’t the beginning of another pandemic - just a good reminder to be smart about rodent exposure. 

Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

The state will soon release guidelines recommending that schools keep mask mandates for now, but won’t require districts to do so.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is updating its guidelines for COVID-19 mitigation measures in schools. The agency will recommend that school districts keep whatever policies they have in place through the end of the school year.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

One year ago, a 16 year-old boy sat in a cafeteria at a group home for teens in Kalamazoo and tossed a piece of bread at another boy. The adults in the room told him to stop. Smiling, he tossed another piece. An adult pushed him to the floor, and eventually seven other grown men held the boy down for 12 minutes. 

Cornelius Fredrick died two days later, his death ruled a homicide. 

headshot of peter meijer
COURTESY OF 'WITH HONOR'

Today on Stateside, Congressman Peter Meijer, an Army veteran, reacts to news that President Joe Biden plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11. Meijer talks about the prospect of ending the so-called “forever war.” Also, a restaurant owner in Port Huron discusses how soaring case rates in Michigan’s Thumb region have affected his business. Plus, an Ann Arbor-based tattoo artist on making the tattoo world more inclusive.

child getting vaccinated
Adobe Stock

Doctors are encouraging Michigan parents to get their children’s routine vaccines up to date.

During the COVID-19 pandemic there’s been a significant decline in the percentage of children getting their measles, mumps and other vaccines.

DONFIORE / ADOBE STOCK

Michigan continues to lead the country in dismal COVID-19 indicators, according to a Wednesday update by the state's Department of Health and Human Services. The state update used data as of April 3. 

 

Over the past week, Michigan has had the highest number of cases and the highest case rate in the country.

Simon Brass / flickr

The state says it’s moving to revoke the license of a juvenile detention center outside Saginaw, after finding evidence of abuse.

The details of the state’s investigation haven’t yet been made public. But a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says investigators found evidence of physical abuse and safety violations at the Wolverine Secure Treatment Center in Buena Vista Township.

a nurse holds a vial of one of the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Spectrum Health

Today on Stateside, Congresswoman Debra Haaland (D-NM) begins Senate confirmation hearings as President Joe Biden’s pick to head the U.S. Department of the Interior. A Michigan tribal chair discusses what Native leadership in the Cabinet could mean for tribes, going forward. Also, the new head of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services weighs in on the next pandemic battlegrounds. Plus, reimagining Idlewild, where generations of Black Michiganders went for vacation and respite.

a person holds a vaccine vial
Adobe Stock

On March 1, tens of thousands of Michiganders will be added to the growing pool of those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the state health department announced Monday. An estimated 79,000 workers in the food processing and agricultural industries will be eligible as part of the “1B” category, making them the latest group to become eligible.

Healthcare workers, teachers and childcare workers, corrections workers, and those who work in group living settings (like homeless shelters and foster homes) are already eligible, as well as anyone over the age of 65.

man receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot in his right arm
Spectrum Health

State health department officials say they want more COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Michigan with longer hours. 

Officials with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services laid out their strategy for getting 70% of Michigan residents vaccinated in the coming months.  The exact timetable is dependent on the supply of vaccines.

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has rolled out a voluntary COVID-19 rapid antigen testing program that will provide free weekly tests to K-12 educators who opt in.

MDHHS is providing testing supplies at no cost to any interested public or private school. The tests will be administered on site at the school.

State health officials say the testing program will help achieve Governor Gretchen Whitmer's goal of an in-person instruction option in all Michigan schools by March 1.

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

A new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been identified in Michigan, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced on Saturday.

The new variant, B.1.1.7, was identified in an adult woman from Washtenaw County. She had recently traveled to the United Kingdom, where the variant was first identified. MDHHS says the woman’s close contacts have been notified and are in quarantine. Two of those contacts have tested positive for COVID-19, though it’s unclear if they have the B.1.1.7 variant.

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.

State health leaders say there's reason for “cautious optimism” that new cases of coronavirus appear to be declining.

The test positivity rate has plateaued. New cases have been dropping for two weeks. The number of deaths is still rising, but not as quickly as before.

Those are the reasons for optimism.

“The challenge here is making sure that people are wearing masks, maintaining their social distancing, so that we don’t see a second surge,” says Sarah Lyon-Callo, director of the state’s Bureau of Epidemiology.

A rusty barrel in the woods
Bryce Huffman

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is signing up eligible residents of four West Michigan communities for a study of the potential long term health impacts of exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. The study is called the Michigan PFAS Exposure and Health Study (MiPEHS).

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge has rejected the restaurant industry legal challenge to Michigan’s temporary ban on indoor dining.

In his ruling released Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney wrote there is “a plausible explanation for the emergency order: Restaurant patrons cannot wear a mask while eating or drinking.”

an empty row of tables at a restaurant
Andrew Seaman / Unsplash

A lawsuit challenging Michigan’s temporary ban on indoor dining is set for a hearing in federal court Monday morning.


Michigan’s restaurant industry filed the suit after state health department officials imposed a three week ban on indoor dining November 15. The ban was imposed in response to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Michigan.

GEORG ARTHUR PFLUEGER / UNSPLASH

People with loved ones in long-term care facilities are making the most out of this year's incomplete Thanksgiving gatherings.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued guidance this week urging that residents stay in their facilities to avoid coronavirus infection. Many residents will be confined to their rooms.

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.

MICHIGAN.GOV

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. 

 

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.

US District Court Western District of Michigan

Libertas Christian School, a small non-denominational private school in West Michigan, currently remains closed after a federal judge denied its request for an injunction against the Ottawa County Health Department on Tuesday. 

STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

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). 

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. 

Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

The Ottawa County health department has temporarily shut down a Christian school in West Michigan, and the related legal battle is one of the first to challenge the state health department's recent orders.

Ottawa County issued a final "cease and desist" letter to Libertas Christian School in Hudsonville this week, alleging the school didn't report two teachers' COVID-19 infections and has refused to provide students' information to contact tracers. A judge denied Libertas Christian's request for a temporary restraining order against the county.

RHODA BAER / FLICKR

Michigan has a goal to vaccinate about one million more people for the flu this year than it did last year, and so far, we’re making steady progress. 

profile shot of Gretchen Whitmer
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Supreme Court has denied Governor Gretchen Whitmer's request to extend her COVID-19 executive orders to the end of October.

The court ruled on October 2 that the governor did not have the authority to declare a state of emergency after April 30. Whitmer then requested that her emergency orders be kept in place until October 30 to facilitate an "orderly transition." The court says their ruling went into effect immediately.

GUNDULA VOGEL / PIXABAY

In August, during a drive-through parade at the Medilodge of St. Clair nursing home, Jane Ogden jumped from her idling car, popped open a beer, and rushed it to a wheelchair-bound man in a t-shirt and pajama bottoms. “Drink it quickly,” she said, “or they might take it away from you.” 

She squeezed her dad’s arm and made to return to the car. Ogden ran into a nurse, who mildly reprimanded her. But she felt, after months of lockdown, that her dad needed the excitement. 

 

MDHHS

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is imposing new mask requirements, gathering limitations and restaurant capacity rules tied to COVID-19.

Last Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion that could restrict Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s authority to issue executive orders in response to the pandemic.

On Monday, state health department director Robert Gordon stepped into the void with an order of his own. Gordon says he is using authority unconnected to the court’s ruling to keep much of the governor’s coronavirus restrictions in place.

“Orders have helped to stem the spread of COVID. They have reduced the number of cases. They have saved lives,” Gordon told reporters on a conference call on Monday. “We need shared action through orders as much today as we did in March and April.”

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