COVID-19 December Updates

POAM is sharing the latest COVID-19 December updates 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.

Friday, December 18, 2020 Update

Passing of Wayne County’s Sheriff

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II released the following statements after Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon passed away due to complications from COVID-19:

“I am heartbroken at the news of my dear friend Benny’s passing. Sheriff Napoleon’s love for the people he served was returned many times over. His quick Laugh, eager partnership, and candid counsel is what I will miss most. He was a truly special person. Sharon, Tiffani, and his whole family are in my prayers.” – Governor Whitmer

“Sheriff Benny Napoleon’s passing is a tremendous loss for the city of Detroit, Wayne County, and the entire state of Michigan. Benny was a pillar in the community—a model public servant who lead by example through conscientious words and selfless service. All throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Sheriff Napoleon stood tall on the front lines alongside members of his department to ensure that our community had what it needed to get through this crisis together. He was a progressive ally and champion for changing the justice system to better serve society. And he offered himself as a mentor at every opportunity, so that young leaders, like myself, can be, believe in, and become our greatest selves. Benny’s loss hits hard in the soul of so many people in southeast Michigan who had a chance to connect with him over his decades of service, and his legacy leaves our lives better because of his presence. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. Rest in power.” – Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II

Healthy Michigan Plan

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer announced that the Healthy Michigan Plan is now providing health care coverage to more than 850,000 low-income residents for the first time. Michigan instituted policies to help families access affordable health care coverage such as deciding to avoid terminating Healthy Michigan Plan coverage and freeze premiums for as long as the COVID-19 public health emergency exists.

“Every Michigander deserves quality, affordable health care, especially during a pandemic. As Senate Democratic Leader, I was proud to work across the aisle with a Republican governor and legislature to expand health coverage for Michiganders through the Healthy Michigan plan,” said Governor Whitmer. “Now, as we continue working to eradicate COVID-19 and with the Affordable Care Act under constant attack in the courts, it’s more important than ever that we protect the Healthy Michigan plan and ensure health care for Michiganders across the state. I will continue working with everyone who wants to protect and expand health care for Michiganders.”

New Appointments

The governor announced the appointments to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, Hispanic/Latino Commission of Michigan, and the Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs on Thursday, December 17.

New Cases

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 4,024 cases of COVID-19 from both Sunday and Monday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 450,776.

Happening Across State Government
  • A month after its statewide launch, the MI COVID Alert app has reached nearly 500,000 downloads. MDHHS and the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) announced there have been 461,192 downloads of MI COVID Alert. The state also rolled out a second option for users to receive the PIN required to anonymously share a positive COVID-19 test result.

“So much about fighting COVID is hard, but this is easy: Please download MI COVID Alert on your phone,” said Robert Gordon, director of MDHHS. “It protects your privacy, and it will help protect us all. If we hit even a million downloads by January 2021, we’ll be safer until a vaccine is available to the broader population.”

Even when just 15% of a population used an exposure notification app like MI COVID Alert, researchers from Oxford University found a potential to reduce infections and deaths. Already, nearly 9% of Michigan residents ages 18 to 64 have downloaded MI COVID Alert. When a person tests positive for COVID-19, they are eligible to receive a randomly generated PIN. This PIN allows people to share test results anonymously in MI COVID Alert.

  • MDHHS also announced that 350,000 Michigan families will continue to have access to additional food assistance benefits during December as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“No Michigander should have to worry about how they’ll put food on the table for themselves and their families, especially during a pandemic,” Gov. Whitmer said. “That’s why my administration is working hard to provide some support to families who need it most. I will continue working with MDHHS to help every Michigander get through this crisis.”

  • The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development awarded Value Added and Regional Food System grants to nine Michigan producers, processors, and community development organizations. The grants are designed to help retain, expand, attract, or develop agricultural processing in Michigan through targeted investments in technology and equipment, feasibility studies, healthy food access, regional food systems, and urban agriculture.

“When you look at these projects individually, the grants will help one operation with new equipment, expand processing capacity for others, and bring nutritious products to a local food desert,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Collectively over time, however, these grant projects strengthen our state’s food supply chain. Making targeted investments in businesses and community organizations ultimately helps diversify, expand, and improve Michigan’s entire food and agriculture industry.”


Tuesday, December 8, 2020 Update

12-Day Extension

Yesterday, Governor Whitmer discussed the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service’s (MDHHS) action to extended the current epidemic order that restricts indoor social gatherings and other group activities by 12 days. The additional 12 days will allow the department to determine the full impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on the spread of COVID-19 across Michigan.

“Hope is on the horizon, but we need an additional 12 days to determine the full impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “This is all about protecting our families and frontline workers until we eradicate this virus once and for all. With recent daily case counts averaging well above 6,000, the daily death toll at alarming levels and the risk of hospitals becoming overwhelmed, we must work together as Michiganders and listen to our health experts. This may be the most difficult time yet in our struggle with COVID-19, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

The governor was joined by Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun and DHHS Director Robert Gordon to continue urging families to avoid indoor gatherings, and encourage only two households to gather inside, with strict protocols recommended. As always, individuals should wear masks consistently whenever they are inside with individuals not in their household and are recommended to pick only a small group to see regularly.

Financial Empowerment Curriculum

Yesterday, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II announced that Henry Ford College and Dearborn Public Schools have launched the state’s first Financial Empowerment Curriculum that teaches our youth the basic principles of managing their money.

The pilot program represents the beginning of anticipated programs and partnerships between Michigan’s school districts and community colleges. Financial empowerment means having the skills and knowledge to make informed and effective decisions with available financial resources, like creating a budget, saving money, and paying bills.

“Empowering our youth with an understanding about money will pay dividends for our future,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II said. “This pilot program provides a roadmap so we can help our youth plan a budget, save money, plan for taxes, and buy insurance. Those students who take this class will have a better understanding to make well-considered financial goals and the knowledge necessary to achieve those goals.”

New Cases

MDHHS announced 9,350 cases of COVID-19 from both Sunday and Monday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 404,386.

Happening Across State Government
  • The deadline for the Futures for Frontliners program is December 31st and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity is encouraging Michiganders to apply soon and fill out their federal aid application. The program is the first of it’s kind, and offers tuition-free college to an estimated 625,000 Michiganders who provided essential, frontline services during COVID-19 Stay Home, Stay Safe orders between April – June 2020.
  • With the holidays fast approaching, Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning consumers against scammers. For more information and ways to protect yourself visit Michigan.gov/ConsumerProtection.
December Updates: Resources

If you have any questions or concerns, please visit one of these resource links below:

STAY ALERT

Please use this post as an informative guide for the COVID-19 December updates. Share with others through text messages, social media, and email.

Related Post: December Updates – Michigan Legislative Consultants’ COVID-19 Newsletter