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Your connection to northern Michigan news.

Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

 

Epidemiologists say the coronavirus is slowing its spread in southeast Michigan and the state could see its peak number of cases soon. But COVID-19 is still appearing in northern Michigan and its peak may come later, some say.

 


Macie Bixby

Schools across the state are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning high school seniors like Macie Bixby had their final year cut short.

As part of IPR's new series School’s Out, hear how Bixby’s graduating class may never get the chance to say goodbye.

The 'Silver Fox' of fencing

Apr 13, 2020
Leslie Hamp

It’s a Sunday in early March, and Julia Kline slips into her fencing gear at Three Swords Fencing in Traverse City. The 56-year-old with spiked graying hair warms up, bouncing like a boxer and jabbing a target box with her sword. 

Before the coronavirus outbreak, she spent every Sunday at the fencing club.


The Moon is waning through the morning sky this week, acting like an emotional tuning fork as she moves past Pluto, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.


Sarah Allis works at Leland Mercantile in Leland. Essential businesses like grocery stores are now required to screen their employees for symptoms of COVID-19 and take proper social distancing measures.
Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

County health departments are asking businesses that remain open to step up their efforts to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

Add Elk Rapids to the list of northern Michigan communities worried about the influx of travelers coming north amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Village President Jim Janisse wrote a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this week, asking her to give people a “one-time choice” between staying at their first and second homes and banning future travel between the two. Janisse says there are currently some people coming to the area just for the weekends. 


Mark Brush/Michigan Radio

On Wednesday, Enbridge submitted an application for a permit to build the Line 5 tunnel.

The planned bedrock tunnel would encase the replacement for 67-year-old oil pipelines that currently sit on the lakebed beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

Last week, tribal leaders raised the alarm about the state reviewing permits, holding public comment or engaging in tribal consultation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribal governments in the Straits area are unilaterally opposed to the tunnel.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

The coronavirus pandemic means Michigan schools are closed for the rest of the academic year.

Many districts are switching to online learning and it’s a big adjustment. It’s also a gamble because some families may not be able to access it.

 

School is still in session

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

 

One employee who works for Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons, a senior living facility in Traverse City, tested positive for COVID-19. 

The coronavirus diagnostic was announced Tuesday, April 7 by the Grand Traverse County Health Department.

 


Groundworks Center for Resilient Communities

A new food relief fund in Northwest Michigan links farmers and food pantries, helping both persist through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local farmers are struggling to sell their produce right now, especially if they used to sell to schools, restaurants or farmers’ markets.

At the same time, demand at food pantries has grown.

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

 

Inmates inside the North Lake Correctional Facility — an immigrant prison in Baldwin — allege conditions are so unsafe that some have been put in prolonged solitary confinement. 

They further allege prison guards are segregating the facility by race, and the amount of food that they’ve been getting recently hasn’t been enough, specifically citing a lack of protein.  

Interlochen Public Radio graphic

 

Two more positive COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Grand Traverse County, and the health department is reporting a possible exposure site at the Holiday Station Store on South Airport Road in Traverse City.
 

A man in his 30s caught the virus through community transmission, health officials say. A woman in her 20s had contact with someone who tested positive case. 

 

The Grand Traverse County Health Department is also telling those who

Otsego County EMS/Rescue/Hazmat Facebook

 

On one particularly bad day, Otsego County EMS responded to six COVID-19 emergency calls. Later, paramedics started getting sick. 

Right now, about 20 percent of Otsego County’s 36 EMS staff are out because of the virus. That includes those in quarantine, those sick, and an employee on voluntary leave for health concerns.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer gives an update on Michigan's repsonse to the COVID-19 pandemic on April 6, 2020.
Michigan Executive Office of the Governor

The Legislature will meet Tuesday to vote on a resolution to extend the emergency powers Governor Gretchen Whitmer invoked to address the COVID-19 outbreak.

The House and the Senate have adopted special rules for in-person voting while adhering to health protections.


Noelle Riley / Interlochen Public Radio

People are flooding into Leelanau County since COVID-19 hit Michigan last month, according to several local business owners.

Health departments in northern Michigan have asked those visiting to self-quarantine, and essential workers in the county are concerned about the increased foot traffic.


Artists across northern Michigan are scrambling to find ways to make up for lost income due to the COVID-19 crisis.

 

With many events and large gatherings canceled through spring and into the summer, artists have lost out on gigs and other opportunities they were depending on to make ends meet. 


   

Connor Desilets / Interlochen Public Radio

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people across the state are working remotely from home — or not at all. But on April 7 the State House of Representatives will go back to work in Lansing.

Monday, April 6 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of master artist of the High Renaissance Raphael, celebrated in his own day as a genius, for his countless, beautiful Madonnas, for the Disputa and School of Athens, and for his final painting, The Transfiguration, which towered over the bed in which he died in Rome in 1520. It was Good Friday, and, coincidentally, his 37th birthday. 

Health Department of Northwest Michigan Facebook

 

Local businesses in some northern Michigan counties are now required to screen employees and ensure social distancing measures are taken.

Interlochen Public Radio

On Saturday, the Grand Traverse County Health Department reported another death and one more positive case of the coronavirus. That brings the county total to 3 deaths and 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Morgan Springer

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer suspended in-person learning for the remainder of the school year under an executive order, on Thursday, April 2.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan public school buildings will be closed but districts will recieve most, if not all, of their alloted funding from the state. 

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

  Last week, hospitals in the Detroit area reported being at full capacity.

 

The state asked hospitals to make room for any COVID-19 patients that might need to be transferred. It suggested hospitals to increase the number of Intensive Care Unit beds to 10 to 20 percent and prepare an emergency plan.

 

 

Now, some northern Michigan hospitals are making room for possible transfers.

 

Record Eagle/Pete Rodman

Enbridge Energy will not delay submitting permits for its controversial Great Lakes Tunnel Project because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tribal governments that oppose the project want Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to slow the process down. They say it’s impossible to prepare for public comment and official tribal consultations when most tribal staff are sheltering in place.

Non-profit organizations in northern Michigan are among those hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Dave Mengebier is the president and CEO of the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation. He says more people depend on nonprofits for essentials during this crisis, but it’s a really tough time for those organizations to raise money. 

 


Interlochen Public Radio graphic

An employee of the East Jordan Family Health Center tested positive for the coronavirus. 

But Rachel Krino with the health center says the employee had no direct contact with patients.

"As soon as he showed symptoms on March 25 he went into self quarantine and self-monitoring," Krino said. "In terms of test results, we just found out yesterday.”

According to a press release from the health center that employee had recently traveled downstate. Now he's are feeling well and recovering.

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