COVID-19 News Coverage
POAM is sharing the latest COVID-19 news coverage affecting our great state of Michigan. We will consistently update this post as additional updates come in.
This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on April 29, 2020.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020 Update
Re-Engage Michigan’s Economy
Yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer was joined by Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio, Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber, and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Khaldun to talk about what the state is doing to both fight COVID-19 and re-engage Michigan’s economy. The governor knows the state faces two crises; a public health crisis and an economic one, but she noted that her number one priority remains the health and safety of Michiganders and their families. The speakers made it clear that they will all work together to take safe, data, and health-driven steps to re-engage Michigan’s economy. To watch the full update click here.
Futures For Frontliners
The governor is focused on protecting working families and ensuring they have a safe workplace and opportunities to get ahead. That’s why she expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits, prohibited businesses from retaliating against workers who have been exposed to COVID-19 or show symptoms, and created the “Futures for Frontliners” program to provide a tuition-free pathway to college or a technical certificate to critical infrastructure workers who don’t have a college degree. The program would include workers like those staffing our hospitals and nursing homes, stocking the shelves at grocery stores, providing child care to critical infrastructure workers, manufacturing PPE, protecting public safety, picking up trash, or delivering supplies.
“The Futures for Frontliners program is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who have risked their lives on the front lines of this crisis. This program will ensure tuition-free college opportunities and give these dedicated Michiganders an opportunity to earn a technical certificate, associate degree or even a bachelor’s degree,” Governor Whitmer said. “I want to assure all of our workers we will never forget those of you who stepped up and sacrificed their own health during this crisis. You’re the reason we’re going to get through this.”
Affordable Child Care
The governor also announced a $130 million investment to make child care more affordable and accessible for Michigan families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Child care providers have been critical partners in helping our state respond to COVID-19, and we are extremely grateful for their service,” Governor Whitmer said. “Every child care provider and early educator is important in giving parents some peace of mind while they are delivering essential services to our state at this challenging time.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced 1,137 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 40,399.
- A partnership between state government, Meijer, and the Food Bank Council of Michigan will help feed a growing number of residents turning to food banks during the COVID-19 crisis. The collaborative project between the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and Food Bank Council directly responds to the massive need to be placed on the state’s seven regional food banks.
“School closures, unemployment and rising poverty related to the pandemic are disproportionally impacting people already at risk of hunger,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Working together, the State of Michigan and our partners in the nonprofit and business sectors can help families and seniors put food on the table during these difficult times.”
- The state knows that this is a challenging time for everyone including small businesses. The MEDC is encouraging Michiganders to support locals by playing a fun game of bingo. Check out the game below to see how many you have complete and which ones you need to put on your to-do list.
This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on April 27, 2020.
Monday, April 27, 2020 Update
MI Safe Start Plan
On April 27, Governor Whitmer spoke about her MI Safe Start plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy. When making decisions about when to phase in sectors of our economy, the governor will take into account geographic and workplace risk, and will work with her partners in health care, business, labor, and education to ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect workers and their families.
Safely Restarting Michigan’s Economy
The governor was joined by Gerry Anderson, Executive Chairman of DTE Energy, and Wright Lassiter, President and CEO of Henry Ford Health System, to speak about re-starting Michigan’s economy safely. They outlined the factors that the Michigan Economic Recovery Council will consider when working with the governor to provide a path to full economic recovery as safely and quickly as possible. Below is the framework they have developed alongside the members of the council.
Paycheck Protection Program
The governor and Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, along with the Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) and the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA), announced that businesses across Michigan are now able to apply for an additional $310 billion in Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“There continues to be a significant need for additional resources to support our small businesses facing many challenges in the face of the COVID-19 virus,” Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II said. “This additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program offers much-needed financial support for our small businesses and their workers to help them get through this tough time.”
New Executive Order
The governor also signed Executive Order 2020-63, which extends the validity of existing personal protection orders that would otherwise expire during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.“
Michiganders who file for personal protection orders due to threats, stalking, and abuse should have peace of mind in their homes during the ongoing health crisis,” Governor Whitmer said. “By extending the expiration of existing personal protection orders, we are helping secure the safety of vulnerable residents as we continue to flatten the curve and plan for Michigan’s resurgence.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced 432 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 38,210.
As Michigan’s schools work hard to provide education to thousands of students during COVID-19, the lieutenant governor stopped by to pick up a distance-learning packet for his kids so they can continue their education.
Happening Across State Government
- The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency has provided benefits to 1,018,315 Michigan workers who are unemployed as a result of COVID-19. The agency also disbursed more than $1.66 billion in payments since March 15. The most recent U.S. Dept. of Labor report showed 1,178,021 Michiganders filed unemployment claims between March 15 – April 18.
“We are working hard to provide emergency financial assistance to those affected by COVID-19, with more than 1 million Michiganders receiving benefits,” said Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio. “While Michigan’s unemployment system appears to be outpacing the rest of the country in paying benefits, much work remains for those who still need help completing their claim. We will not rest until everyone receives the benefits they are entitled to.”
- Pure Michigan is sharing a new effort around “Two Peninsulas, One Pure Michigan” to spread a message of strength and unity as residents throughout the state stay home and stay safe to combat the continued spread of COVID-19. The #ONEPureMichigan initiative is intended to serve as a reminder to residents of the value of unity, connectedness, and hope even as we are socially distancing.
“As we continue to make every effort to flatten the curve in the face of the COVID-19 virus, we want to remind people that no one is in this alone – we are all one Pure Michigan,” said Dave Lorenz, vice president of Travel Michigan, part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “The Pure Michigan campaign has served as a unifying force during other hard times, and through our Two Peninsulas, One Pure Michigan message, we hope to instill the value of staying united at a time when it is needed most.”
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications from participating lenders today, Monday, April 27, at 10:30 a.m. This is the second round of funding that will provide an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, and it is expected that this round of funding will be exhausted quickly. The PPP was created by the CARES Act and offers forgivable loans for businesses, including farms, that use most of the money to retain or rehire workers. Farms are eligible if (i) the farm has 500 or fewer employees, OR (ii) it fit within the revenue-based sized standard, which is an average annual receipt of $1 million.
This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on April 26, 2020.
Sunday, April 26, 2020 Update
Extended Stay Home Order
On Friday, April 24, Governor Whitmer announced that she is extending the Stay Home, Stay Safe order until May 15th at a press briefing alongside Chief Medical Executive Dr. Khaldun. The new order will require people to wear homemade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. It will also lift some restrictions on outdoor activities and allow some workers who perform previously suspended activities to go back to work.
New Executive Orders
This weekend, the governor signed Executive Order 2020-60 to establish strategies to reduce exposure to COVID-19 for both customers and employees. The order also provides temporary relief by suspending certain licensing requirements and regulations for foodservice industries.
From daily screening to requiring checkout employees to wear a facing covering, the order outlines strategies food establishments and pharmacies must take to reduce possible exposure of COVID-19 to their customers.
“While Michiganders fight this virus, we must continue to take aggressive action to reduce exposure and prevent a second spike in cases,” said Governor Whitmer. “This is not the time to slow our efforts; we must continue to be smart. By establishing these guidelines, we can protect Michigan families and our frontline workers. When we come together, we can slow the spread of this virus and save lives.”
The governor signed Executive Order 2020-61 that is an extension of her previous order that relaxes scope of practice laws to give hospitals and other health care facilities the flexibility they need to deploy qualified physicians, respiratory therapists, physician assistants, nurses, and other health care providers the ability to give the critical care needed to combat COVID-19.
“By allowing qualified, dedicated health care workers to treat COVID-19 patients we can continue to slow the spread of the virus and save lives,” said Governor Whitmer. “In these times of crisis, I am grateful for our brave health care workers who are on the front lines every day protecting our families. We will get through this together.”
She also signed Executive Order 2020-62 which extends protections for vulnerable populations in Michigan’s county jails, local lockups and juvenile detention centers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The order replaces her previous order 2020-29 and details risk-reduction protocols that have been adopted and implemented by the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) and that county jails and local lockups are strongly encouraged to adopt.
“We continue to take action to protect all Michiganders from COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “That includes policies that protect incarcerated persons in our prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers. By keeping common-sense and safe protocols in place, we can mitigate risk, save lives, and get through this crisis together.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced 575 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 37,778.
Happening Across State Government
- The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity is working hard to share the over 40,000 available jobs in Michigan to help connect Michiganders to opportunities during COVID-19.
- On Friday, April 24, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that they are expanding testing criteria as the state continues to work to increase testing supplies and access. Now any Michigander displaying mild symptoms or any essential worker still reporting to work in person, whether symptomatic or not, is eligible to get a test with an order from a health care provider.
MDHHS would like to see 15,000 tests completed daily in Michigan per recommendations by the Harvard Global Health Institute, which published a recommendation of 152 tests per day per 100,000 population to begin to re-open the United States. That level of testing is necessary to identify the majority of people who are infected and isolate them from people who are healthy, according to the Harvard researchers.
- While we expand testing, MDHHS is reminding people to do their part and stay home. As of right now, there is no vaccine or cure for COVID-19, and our best defense is to reduce the spread by reducing person-to-person contact. It is imperative that we all recognize that our first line of defense is our front doors.
This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on April 22, 2020.
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 Update
Collective Michigan Effort
On April 22, Governor Whitmer held another press conference to update Michiganders on the collective response and effort to fight COVID-19. The governor and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun encouraged people to visit www.michigan.gov/coronavirusTEST to find out how, when, and where they can be tested.
She outlined the success of the Stay Home, Stay Safe order with cautious optimism by sharing a graph of where the state could be had we all not taken aggressive action to slow the spread of the virus.
Extended Order For Unemployment Eligibility
The governor extended and built upon her earlier executive order expanding eligibility for unemployment benefits during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Order 2020-57 expands the state’s workshare program, offering more tools to employers to reduce layoffs. It also extends unemployment benefits to workers who voluntarily left a job after accepting new employment but were unable to start their new position due to the pandemic.
“No one should have to worry about how to make ends meet during this unprecedented public health crisis,” Governor Whitmer said. “By extending eligibility for unemployment benefits, we can help give hard-working Michiganders some financial peace of mind as we continue flattening the COVID-19 curve across Michigan.”
New Executive Order
She also signed Executive Order 2020-58, to extend the deadline of case-initiation in civil and probate matters, in accordance with Administrative Order 2020-3 of the Michigan Supreme Court.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced 999 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 33,966.
COVID-19 Experience Interview
Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II also sat down with Donovan Long to talk about his personal experience with COVID-19 and how this will influence the work of the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities which he chairs.
Huge Thanks To Essential Workers
The governor knows that each and every one of us plays a part in fighting this virus. Yesterday, she thanked Michigan farmers, laborers, food processors, truckers, grocery store staff as well as thank the volunteers who are all working tirelessly to make sure Michigan is prepared and equipped to fight COVID-19.
Happening Across State Government
- The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has partnered with the Governor’s Office and the Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM) to seek donations of food and funds as part of the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Initiative launched earlier this month. Yesterday, the governor recognized several Michigan food and agriculture businesses for their donations to the Food Bank Council of Michigan and other non-profits.
“As we face unparalleled challenges, the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Initiative allows the state to accept monetary donations and donations of food or other needed supplies to support critical services during response and recovery efforts,” said Whitmer. “These donations from Michigan food and agriculture businesses will make a huge difference to families affected by COVID-19 and will shore up our food bank system at a time when it’s really needed.”
To read more about the food and agriculture business that has made donations click here.
- Michigan and the entire nation has seen an extraordinary spike in unemployment claims as a result of COVID-19, so Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Steve Gray took to social media to reach Michiganders and answer their most frequently asked questions.
- The Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by sharing a bit about themselves and their work. Check out the video to find out how EGLE is working on behalf of Michigan.
- MDHHS announced that Michigan residents enrolled in Medicaid programs designed to provide services within their homes and communities, rather than in institutional settings, would be protected from COVID-19 exposure under a request they submitted yesterday. MDHHS submitted to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) a request that would allow changes to its Home and Community-Based Services waiver programs during the coronavirus pandemic.
“These essential changes will ensure beneficiaries have access to food, medicine and care providers, while also minimizing potentially dangerous face-to-face interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kate Massey, senior deputy director for the MDHHS Medical Services Administration and Michigan Medicaid director. “Michigan Medicaid is committed to doing whatever we can to continue to provide health care services to Medicaid enrollees during the pandemic while protecting them from exposure.”
This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on April 21, 2020.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020 Update
New York Times Article
Governor Whitmer has worked alongside governors from across the country to best respond and fight COVID-19. Many of the choices she has made are not easy but were necessary to protect as many lives as possible. Read more about her actions below:
The New York Times: Gretchen Whitmer: I Have Made Gut-Wrenching Choices to Keep People Safe, April 21, 2020
Since the first positive coronavirus cases were discovered in the United States, governors across the country have made tough choices to protect their citizens. From the beginning, Democratic and Republican governors took action because the health and well-being of our families and neighbors are our No. 1 priority.
When it comes to fighting this virus, we are all on the same team. Right now, mankind has a common enemy, and it’s Covid-19.
Governors have made gut-wrenching decisions in the face of a threat unlike any we’ve seen before. We have had to close school buildings for the rest of the academic year and to direct small-business owners who have spent a lifetime building their businesses to close their doors. We’ve had to close restaurants, movie theaters and barbershops and to limit in-state travel.
I never imagined having to use the levers of my office this way to protect the people I serve. Each action taken weighs heavily on me. Each action has been informed by the best science and epidemiology counsel there is. These choices have been tough. They haven’t always been popular. And we will never know precisely how many lives were saved as a result.
America’s families have made tough choices, too. We’ve missed birthdays, weddings and holidays we usually spend together. We’re grieving the loss of our freedom, our jobs, our business and, in the worst case, a loved one. As a mom, I was really looking forward to my daughter’s high school graduation ceremony.
We’ve also made sacrifices that have taken a toll on our mental health. People are lonely and frustrated and would give anything for life to return to normal. And it will, as long as we all do our part.
Americans everywhere are eager to get back to “normal.” Trust me, we governors are, too.
But we need to get this right. That’s why I’m partnering with Govs. Mike DeWine of Ohio, Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Tim Walz of Minnesota, J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Eric Holcomb of Indiana and Andy Beshear of Kentucky on a plan to reopen the economy across the Great Lakes region. Similar efforts are being led by governors on the West and East Coasts.
Here in the Great Lakes region, we have called upon experts in health care, business, labor and education to work on a data-driven approach to re-engaging our states in a responsible manner. Re-engaging our economies will be based on facts, science and mitigating risk to public health. Moving too soon or too fast could very likely lead to a second wave of Covid-19. This would be catastrophic for our families, our health care systems and our businesses.
During the flu pandemic of 1918, some cities lifted social-distancing measures too fast and too soon, and caused a second wave of cases. As a result, many cities were forced back to a quarantine posture for an even longer period of time.
We must be smart and take every precaution to avoid a second wave. We must work with other states, other regions and the federal government to get this right. We must remember that the enemy is not one another, it is the coronavirus, a threat unconstrained by state lines or party registration.
Re-engaging our economy won’t happen all at once. It will happen gradually. Over time, people will go back to work, restaurants will reopen and we will be able to spend time with our friends and loved ones.
The speed with which this happens depends on us. We must be responsible and thoughtful, and we must understand the science and rely on the data when we make decisions. That’s true both for leaders across the country and for people everywhere who must do their part by staying home and staying safe for these next couple of weeks.
The actions governors from both sides of the aisle have taken have saved lives and protected families from the spread of the virus — including leaders like Mr. DeWine, Laura Kelly in Kansas, Larry Hogan in Maryland, Andrew Cuomo in New York and Gavin Newsom in California. These governors and my colleagues in the Midwest have taken action to protect families, health care professionals and critical workers like grocery and child care workers. They have made tough choices because they knew keeping people safe was the right thing to do. I’m proud to be among their ranks.
It’s been said, “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”
We will get through this and defeat our common enemy, together.
CVS Health Partnership
On April 20, 2020, the governor announced a partnership with CVS Health to provide drive-through Rapid COVID-19 Testing in Dearborn, part of the ongoing effort to expand testing for the virus statewide during the continuing pandemic. The site will test 500-750 residents daily who are experiencing certain COVID-19-related symptoms and risk factors as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We need COVID-19 testing now more than ever to get an accurate count of infections to help us continue flattening the curve of this unprecedented pandemic in every corner of our state,” Governor Whitmer said. “Our partnership with CVS Health is a significant step toward speeding up Michigan’s recovery and getting Michiganders back to a sense of normalcy in their daily lives.”
Funding For Paycheck Protection Program
Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, former Lt. Governor Brian Calley, and Michigan Association of CPAs President & CEO Bob Doyle called on federal officials to reach an agreement and authorize additional funding to the Paycheck Protection Program funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
More than 43,000 businesses in Michigan impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak received more than $10 billion in forgivable loans during the first round of PPP funding. Nationally, $349 billion was authorized for the initial round of PPP, all of which was committed by April 16 – less than two weeks after the application period opened – demonstrating the continued need for small business relief.
“While tens of thousands of Michigan businesses were able to receive more than $10 billion of relief through the Paycheck Protection Program, there continues to be a significant need for additional resources to support our small businesses,” Lt. Governor Gilchrist said. “Additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program will be critical in helping our businesses keep their doors open and in protecting the livelihoods of their workers.”
New Executive Order
She also signed Executive Order 2020-56 which continues her previous order to allow pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of prescriptions for up to 60 days’ worth of supply for patients and require insurers to cover early refills for up to 90 days’ worth of supply during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The order will also allow pharmacists to dispense COVID-19 treatments according to government-approved protocols.
“Allowing Michiganders to have access to the prescriptions they need is essential during this crisis,” said Governor Whitmer. “By authorizing pharmacists to refill up to 60 days of medication for their patients, people can reduce their time traveling and stay home and stay safe to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced 967 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 32,967.
Happening Across State Government
- On April 20th, Michigan’s Economic and Workforce Task Force shared a video thanking everyone in Michigan for #DoingMIPart during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- April 22nd is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and the Michigan Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy is celebrating via livestream. They will teach children about the environment, Great Lakes, climate, and energy as well as talk about the worldwide movement of Earth Day and the call to action in support of the environment and sustainability policies.
This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on April 19, 2020.
Sunday, April 19, 2020 Update
Stay Home, Stay MIndful
On Friday, Governor Whitmer gave an update on the response to COVID-19 alongside Chief Medical Executive Dr. Khaldun. The governor focused on the toll COVID-19 has taken on the physical and mental health of Michiganders and she announced the state’s partnership with Headspace to create a curated collection of new mental health resources for Michiganders to access for free during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Stay Home, Stay MIndful website can guide people through mindful exercises, sleep and kids content to help address rising stress and anxiety. She also announced that Michigan was recently awarded a $2 million dollar emergency behavioral health service grant to strengthen mental health and substance use disorder services.
The governor also thanked those who are doing their part every day to Stay Home and Stay Safe. She showed a graph (see below) that outlines the potential spread had we not taken preventative measures and compares it to where we are now.
Extended Executive Orders
She also extended her previous orders on Friday which suspend evictions and enhance restrictions on price gouging. She extended Executive Order 2020-54 which continues to allow tenants and mobile homeowners to remain in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic even if they are unable to stay current on their rent. Additionally, to ensure front line workers and Michiganders have access to all necessary products during the COVID-19 pandemic, Executive Order 2020-53 extends the restrictions on excessive pricing of goods, materials, emergency supplies, and consumer food items.
“Right now the most effective tool we have to fight this virus is to stay home and slow the spread through person to person contact. That is why it is important to extend my executive order to suspend evictions so people can focus on staying home and staying safe,” said Governor Whitmer. “And by continuing to enforce restrictions on price gouging, we can protect consumers and ensure more Michigan families can protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19.”
State of the Union Interview
The governor sat down with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union this weekend to discuss her Stay Home, Stay Safe order and Michigan’s efforts to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases.
Last week, Governor Whitmer sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requesting cost-sharing requirements for emergency work be waived for the State of Michigan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 27, 2020, at Gov. Whitmer’s request, President Trump granted the State of Michigan a Major Disaster Declaration and ordered federal assistance to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts for the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the Public Assistance program, emergency work, including Direct Federal Assistance, is authorized at 75% federal funding, and state, tribal, and local entities are responsible for the remaining 25%. Gov. Whitmer is requesting FEMA to increase the federal cost-share to 100%.
“FEMA is authorized to increase the federal cost-share to 100% for emergency work, including Direct Federal Assistance, ‘if warranted by the needs of a disaster,’” Gov. Whitmer wrote. “I believe that the extreme nature of the necessary COVID-19 response far exceeds the capability of the State of Michigan and warrants the full resources and support of the federal government.”
New First Responder Testing
On Saturday, Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II toured the new first responder testing and temporary housing site in Dearborn as well as saw the new Abbott machine which will help with processing tests for COVID-19 in a matter of minutes.
On Sunday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced 633 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total confirmed cases to 31,424 in Michigan.
Happening Across State Government
- The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development shared that 7 pallets of water were dropped off at the TCF Regional Care Center over the weekend to help supply the alternative care center with water and drinks for both the staff and patients.
- The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity encourages Michiganders to check out available jobs in Michigan at Pure Michigan Talent Connect which helps find jobs with immediate needs near an individual’s area.
This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on April 16, 2020.
Thursday, April 16, 2020 Update
Midwest Region Effort to Reopen Economy
On Thursday, April 16, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined governors Mike DeWine (OH), Tony Evers (WI), Tim Walz (MN), JB Pritzker (IL), Eric Holcomb (IN), and Andy Beshear (KY) to announce that they will work in close coordination to reopen the economy in the Midwest region.
The governors said, “We are doing everything we can to protect the people of our states and slow the spread of COVID-19, and we are eager to work together to mitigate the economic crisis this virus has caused in our region. Here in the Midwest, we are bound by our commitment to our people and the community. We recognize that our economies are all reliant on each other, and we must work together to safely reopen them so hardworking people can get back to work and businesses can get back on their feet.
“Today, we are announcing that Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky will work in close coordination to reopen our economies in a way that prioritizes our workers’ health. We look forward to working with experts and taking a fact-based, data-driven approach to reopening our economy in a way that protect families from the spread of COVID-19.
“Our number one priority when analyzing when best to reopen our economy is the health and safety of our citizens. We will make decisions based on facts, science, and recommendations from experts in health care, business, labor, and education.
“We will closely examine at least these four factors when determining when best to reopen our economy:
Sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations.
Enhanced ability to test and trace.
Sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence.
And best practices for social distancing in the workplace.
“Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region. This doesn’t mean our economy will reopen all at once, or that every state will take the same steps at the same time. But close coordination will ensure we get this right. Over time, people will go back to work, restaurants will reopen, and things will go back to normal. We look forward to working together as one region to tackle this challenge together.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced 1,204 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 29,263.
Tech Startup Stabilization Fund
Lt. Governor Gilchrist II shared that the state announced the creation of a $3 million Tech Startup Stabilization Fund to help stabilize early-stage tech startups in Michigan that are being impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Happening Across State Government
- The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency created a video to explain how to file a claim using the Michigan Web Account Manager.
- The Michigan Economic Development Corporation how Michiganders can help support small businesses during COVID-19.
This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. Below is an update as of 10 p.m. on April 13, 2020.
Monday, April 13, 2020 Update
State’s Response to Crisis
Yesterday, Governor Whitmer, Chief Medical Executive Dr. Khaldun and Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio gave an update on the state’s response to COVID-19. The governor talked about her extension of the Stay Home, Stay Safe order which she issued last Thursday and the importance of following the science to protect the lives of Michiganders and prevent a possible resurgence of COVID cases.
She also outlined the two crises that Michigan is confronting; a public health crisis and an economic crisis. She stressed that in order to re-engage the economy safely, Michigan must examine the following factors:
The governor knows that these unprecedented times are creating an incredible hardship for Michiganders. But as she said yesterday, Michiganders must be smart, have grit, pay attention to the science, and stay united in this effort.
Extended Executive Orders
Governor Whitmer extended three Executive Orders signed last month. The Executive Orders:
- Confirm that various places of public accommodation remain closed to the public for the time being and that restaurants must continue to limit service to carry-out and delivery orders;
- Maintain relief from weight and other delivery-related restrictions for vehicles carrying essential supplies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19; and
- Continue to allow certain state administrative hearings to be held by video conference or phone in place of in-person hearings.
“By extending these Executive Orders, we ensure that our state continues to do all it can to suppress the spread of COVID-19 by limiting in-person interactions and services as much as possible right now, while also ensuring that vital goods and supplies get to the people who need them most as quickly and safely as possible. The orders also ensure that certain agencies and commissions can continue their important work remotely during the continuing crisis,” Governor Whitmer said. “By working together and doing our part, we can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of all Michiganders.”
New Executive Orders
The governor also signed Executive Order 2020-46, tasking the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) with initiating a spirits buy-back program to offer financial relief to bars and restaurants with on-premises liquor licenses affected by Executive Order 2020-9 during the continuing COVID-19 crisis.
The order empowers the MLCC to use its revolving fund to buy spirits remaining in inventory from bars and restaurants that purchased the spirits prior to March 16, 2020, for their full purchase price. Liquor licensees approved for the program have until 90 days after the state’s emergency and disaster declarations are lifted to re-purchase the spirits from the MLCC.
“Michigan’s 8,500 on-premises liquor licensees continue to make unprecedented sacrifices to help slow the spread of COVID-19 across our state,” Governor Whitmer said. “This buy-back program will help our bars and restaurants critical to Michigan’s economy weather the storm through this challenging time in our history.”
Finally, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-47 yesterday, which temporarily extends the expiration of valid driver’s licenses, state identification cards and commercial vehicle registrations that would otherwise expire during the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration.“
“In times of crisis and uncertainty, the last thing you want to think about is having to renew your driver’s license or state ID card,” Gov. Whitmer said. “It is my sincere hope this order gives all Michiganders with expiring identification some peace of mind as we continue our united front to slow the spread of COVID-19 across our state.”
Action for the Federal Health Care Exchange
Governor Whitmer, along with a coalition of governors from Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin sent a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma to ask that the Administration reconsider its decision and take swift action to allow for a special enrollment period of at least 30 days on the federal health care exchange. In the face of the worst public health crisis in modern history, it is imperative that every step is taken to expand access to affordable health care for those in need.
“Too many of our constituents are uninsured or underinsured despite the steps we’ve taken at the state level,” the governors said. “As a result, far too many of our residents are choosing to forgo coronavirus testing and treatment out of fear of the potential costs to themselves and their families. It is essential that we remove every barrier as quickly as possible to ensure those in our states and across the country are able to access the treatment they need. One of the most effective ways this can be done is by opening up a federal special enrollment period to give everyone the chance to enroll in a health plan that offers the coverage they need with access to any qualifying subsidies.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced 997 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 25,635.
Happening Across State Government
- Yesterday, MDHHS launched a statewide warmline for Michiganders living with persistent mental health conditions. At 888-733-7753, the line will connect individuals with certified peer support specialists who have lived experiences of behavioral health issues, trauma or personal crises and are trained to support and empower the callers.
“The warmline will help individuals with long-term mental health challenges find someone to talk to – someone who has lived these challenges themselves – and do it while staying safe and staying home,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director. “COVID-19 is a grave threat not just to physical health, but also to mental health, and we are doing everything we can to offer supports for everyone.”
- MDHHS encouraged people to protect others from getting sick or spreading the virus by Staying Home and Staying Safe.
This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. It was sent on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, at 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 8, 2020 Update
New Executive Orders
On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-40, which waives International Fuel Tax Association (IFTA) credentialing requirements and ensures emergency medical supplies, sanitary supplies, and key personnel can continue to flow into Michigan during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Right now, it’s more important than ever to ensure there are no disruptions in the flow of critical equipment and health care personnel coming into our state to help treat patients and reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Governor Whitmer said. “This Executive Order will help ensure urgently needed resources are delivered as efficiently as possible during this crisis.”
The governor also signed Executive Order 2020-41 to protect the health and safety of Michiganders by reducing unnecessary in-person contact, through the use of electronic signatures, remote notarizations, remote witness attestations and acknowledgments, and remote visitations.
“It is important that Michiganders take every precaution to avoid person to person contact,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Encouraging the use of e-signatures and alternative means of notarization will protect more people and help us slow the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan. I will continue to work around the clock to ensure we protect the most people we can from this virus.”
As a result of COVID-19, Michigan faces an unprecedented amount of unemployment claims and questions. The Unemployment Insurance Agency has extended its call center hours and increased staff to better respond to the needs of Michiganders.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced 1,376 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 20,346.
Red Cross Donation
The governor called on Michiganders to help the Red Cross who is currently looking for those who have recovered from COVID-19 to help current patients with life-threatening infections by donating plasma. If you’re fully recovered from a COVID-19 diagnosis, please click this link and fill out the Potential Donor form.
Two Important Topics For Kids
Michigan children can be assured that both the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are still essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis. They can take it from the governor!
Happening Across State Government
- Attorney General Dana Nessel joined 20 other attorneys general late last week in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), urging them to reconsider their decision to deny a special enrollment period on the official health care marketplace website during the current worldwide pandemic.
“At a time when so many Americans are facing uncertainty in every direction they turn, ensuring they have the opportunity to obtain health care coverage via a special enrollment period on healthcare.gov should be a major priority for the federal government,” said Nessel. “Regardless of how this administration feels about the current structure of the Affordable Care Act, it is the law and it provides health care services that millions of people need right now across this nation. The federal government should want to ensure all who live in this country have access to the care they need to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
- The Michigan Department of Transportation is doing its part to mitigate person to person contact by encouraging Michiganders to fill out their census online to ensure that Michigan gets the critical transportation funding needed from the 2020 Census count.
- The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy is gearing up to celebrate Earth Day at home by sharing some fun actions Michiganders can take while staying home and staying safe during COVID-19.
This information is from the Michigan Executive Office of the Governor’s email newsletter. It was sent on Monday, April 6, 2020, at 7:30 p.m.
Monday, April 6, 2020 Update
COVID-19 State Response
Yesterday, Governor Whitmer gave an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the collective work that still must be done to fight the virus. She talked about the urgent need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for our frontline health care workers. As well as noted that despite FEMA’s important contribution to PPE, it is still not enough.
The governor encouraged Michiganders to call on one another to do their part and stay home. She was joined by Chief Medical Executive Dr. Khaldun. She also pressed the need for people to stay home during this time. This will help to slow the spread of the virus and protect people across the state and nation.
Second Alternate Care Facility
Last night the governor announced that the State of Michigan selected the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi as the site of a second alternate care facility to expand medical capacity during the state’s response to COVID-19. This decision comes after she announced the state’s first alternate care facility at TCF Center in Detroit. After conversion, the Suburban Collection Showplace will provide 250,000 sq. ft. and bed space to accommodate up to 1,000 COVID-19 cases.
“This is more good news for Michiganders in our fight against COVID-19,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Having access to more medical facilities and more space for health care professionals to perform their life-saving work means we are more able to slow the spread of COVID-19. Fighting this virus is going to take all of us working together as Michiganders, and I want to thank everyone who has stepped up to volunteer at a health care facility or donate blood, money, or medical supplies. We will get through this.”
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced 1,503 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 17,221.
Happening Across State Government
- The Michigan Department of State launched a FAQ section to make it easier for Michiganders to get the answers they need during COVID-19.
- The governor knows that this pandemic affects everyone and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity is working to provide Michiganders with the tools and resources they need.
- While the COVID-19 public health crisis continues, the Trump administration refuses to confirm that accessing health coverage will not impair lawful immigrants’ abilities to stay in the country, asserts a recent letter from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and 17 other attorneys general. Following a contradictory and confusing alert from the federal government purporting to address the controversy, Attorney General Nessel has again joined a coalition calling on the Trump administration to delay its “public charge” rule while the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the nation.
“Michigan is home to tens of thousands of legal immigrants who have every legal right to receive health care benefits without facing consequences for accepting them,” said Nessel. “COVID-19 doesn’t care who it infects and that’s evident in its impact on our nation and around the world. The federal government should want to do nothing but ensure all who live in this country have access to the care they need to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I urge our U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services to do the right thing and suspend this rule at least while we’re in the midst of this crisis.”
If you have any questions or concerns, please visit one of these resource links below:
- State of Michigan Coronavirus Updates
- COVID-19 Hotline: 1-888-535-6136
Please use this post as an informative guide for the COVID-19 news coverage updates. Share with others through text messages, social media, and email.
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