Coronavirus

Executive Office of the Governor

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has toughened the rules that require masks in public to slow the spread of COVID-19. Her latest Executive Order says businesses must deny service to people who refuse to wear masks indoors. It also says customers must remain at least six feet from others outdoors.  

Courtesy of Munson Healthcare

 

Reversing the trend of many rural hospitals across the country, Munson Healthcare’s Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital is offering inpatient services to Benzie area residents again.

Executive Office of the Governor

A few weeks ago, IPR reported on the problems facing rural schools in northern Michigan before next fall. Now, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has provided a roadmap for them to reopen.

But there is still a lot of uncertainty on what next school year will look like.

Interlochen Public Radio

 

The coronavirus is starting to creep back into northern Michigan. 

Taylor Wizner

 

Munson Healthcare says it will cut 25 administrative jobs, alter services and cut capital projects, as it deals with financial losses incurred during the pandemic.

Courtesy COVID Act Now

Update 6/22/20: Northwest Michigan Health Services corrected numbers it shared with IPR. 

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Michigan schools are preparing for some of the deepest funding cuts in nearly three decades. Some small rural school districts Up North hope to avoid layoffs or cut programs.

They’re more worried about the basics, like bussing, hiring and cleaning.

Megan Madion

More than a decade ago, Megan Madion had a severe bike crash that shattered her pelvis. To get moving again, she developed a workout, called Modus. Greek for “the method,” the workout philosophy is: a well functioning core and glutes are the foundation for healthy total body movement.  Since then, she’s opened the gym Modus 45 in Traverse City, hired instructors and grown a loyal following. 

Taylor Wizner

 

In the early days of the pandemic Munson Healthcare administrators were in a flurry of panic.

 

 


Pandemic Stories: New York dream deferred

Jun 11, 2020
Courtesy of Analise Buhr

Analise Buhr dreamed of studying fashion design in New York and moved to the city near the end of 2019 to pursue her dream.

All of that was swept away in a day due to coronavirus.

 

“I was working in Manhattan in ABC Kitchen, that’s a Jean George Restaurant in the City,” Buhr said. “They closed on March 14th.”

 

She had to decide quickly what to do.

 

Pandemic Stories: Coming home from India

Jun 11, 2020
Heather Aldridge

When the world   started to shut down in mid-March, Heather Aldridge was in India helping her friend Mohit Shukla feed the poor. She didn’t think much about a pandemic, until she was in a packed overnight train without much circulation.

“It started to dawn on me; oh, this could be a concern,”  Aldridge said.

 

She started looking for flights home, but everything was booked. Then India mandated a national lockdown.

 

Governor's Office

 

A new order signed Friday by Governor Gretchen Whitmer will soon allow Michiganders to get their hair cut or styled – as well as head to the gym or a movie theater – with certain precautions.

The restrictions will be lifted first in the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula starting Wednesday -- followed by southern Michigan starting June 15th.

In northern counties, indoor gatherings of 50 people will be permissible.

Interlochen Public Radio

 

There continues to be few new COVID-19 cases reported in northwest lower Michigan. No positive diagnoses were added to the region Tuesday. This weekend, the state only revealed a new diagnosis in Wexford County and two in Otsego County. 

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Parts of Traverse City's Front Street will be closed to vehicles to make more room for pedestrian foot traffic this summer. The City Commission approved the proposal at a virtual meeting Monday night.

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

 

An inmate at North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin has died after contracting COVID-19.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons indicated the death on its website, Friday.

The site shows 27 inmates are currently confirmed sick with COVID-19, while 56 inmates have recovered from the disease.

The prison holds 1,560 immigrants who have been convicted of federal crimes and will be deported following their sentence.

 

  The Michigan National Guard will be on site at two Northern Michigan locations this weekend to assist health departments in administering free COVID-19 tests.

 

The coronavirus testing will be available to any Michigan resident, regardless of symptoms. No appointment is necessary. 

 

Grand Traverse Mall reopens to the public

May 28, 2020

The Grand Traverse Mall is welcoming customers for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic shut down businesses across the nation. 

 

Safety measures have been added, including hand sanitizing stations and frequent cleaning of “high touch areas” by janitorial staff. 

 

Markings on the floor have been added to help customers keep the six foot distance while in line at the food court. But that's not the only change at the food court, according to the Grand Traverse Mall general manager Jonathan Pittman.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Some businesses in northern Michigan reopened Friday, with restrictions, under an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

While many welcomed the news, some businesses are playing it safe.

Owners of private campgrounds Up North eager to reopen

May 19, 2020
Taylor Wizner

Ahead of the partial reopening of restaurants, bars and retail businesses in northern Michigan, some private campground owners feel that Governor Gretchen Whitmer doesn’t understand the safety of camping.

"Camping is an extremely safe way to travel and get around, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be out there enjoying the sunshine and the fresh air,” said Cathy Kuebler, owner of Traverse City Kampgrounds of America. “It should totally be allowed."

Recreational camping for individuals who otherwise have a primary residence is not permitted at this time.

Executive Office of the Governor

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says some rural regions of the state can partially re-open Friday, May 22 due to low COVID-19 infection rates. Restaurants and bars will be able operate at 50 percent seating capacity in the Upper Peninsula and 17 counties in the northern Lower Peninsula.

Michigan National Guard

 

Michigan is working with the National Guard to test all inmates in state prisons. It’s one of the first states in the country to do widespread coronavirus testing in prisons, which have become hot spots for the virus.

University of Michigan

The Bay Mills Indian Community announced Tuesday it will intervene in Enbridge’s application to build a tunnel underneath the straits of Mackinac. 

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

Update 5/14/20: IPR has learned the inmate hunger strike mentioned in the following story ended on May 13. 

As several hundred prisoners from California saturate North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin, more than 100 inmates started a hunger strike, refusing food until they’re tested for COVID-19.

All of this is happening as cases of coronavirus double at the immigrant prison.

Northwest Michigan Health Services, Inc.

 

Correction: In a previous version of this story IPR inaccurately reported that 22 people tested positive for COVID-19 and 14 were asymptomatic, as earlier reported to IPR by the Northwest Michigan Health Services, Inc. Please read the following story for the accurate information.

More COVID-19 testing is available in Northwest Lower Michigan, even for those without symptoms.

Pure Michigan campaign

Mackinac Island, one of Michigan’s largest tourist destinations, is still over a month away from opening for business due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials say.

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