Coronavirus

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Updated 12/21/2020 10:30 a.m.

The Michigan House has approved a COVID-19 relief bill that includes a pay boost for workers on the front lines of dealing with COVID-19; funding for vaccine distribution; and extending unemployment benefits. There’s also money to help small businesses that have been hurt by the continuing health crisis. The bill now goes to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for her signature.  


Courtesy Kandace Day

 

It happened so fast. 

Mancelona resident Kandace Day took her 4-year-old son, Charlie, to the Emergency Room for some medicine and the next thing she knew, he was being flown to a Grand Rapids hospital, where 15 doctors were waiting to rush him to the ICU.

Jessyca Stoepker

 

When winter hits northern Michigan, there’s usually a bump in the number of people who don’t know where their next meal will come from. But this year, the pandemic has made food insecurity in the region much worse. 

As winter approaches, some Michiganders are still weathering the pandemic without a home.  

Ashley Halladay-Shmandt, director for Northwest Michigan Coalition to End Homelessness, says anyone unhoused is at a huge risk of catching and spreading the virus, especially during the winter.

“People who are experiencing homelessness are doing community exposure at a different rate than the rest of us,” she said.

Halladay-Schmandt spoke with IPR's Kendra Carr about the current state of homelessness in Northern Michigan and how COVID-19 has impacted housing. 

Interlochen Center for the Arts

The Iron Pig Smokehouse in Gaylord and Friske’s Farm Market in Antrim County have repeatedly defied health and safety protocols during the pandemic despite enforcement from their local health department.

Steve Ioya / Flickr

A group of Christian high schools claims Michigan’s COVID-19 restrictions violate religious freedom rights. The schools have filed a federal lawsuit in west Michigan to block the continuation of the restrictions.

On Monday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced an extension of the restrictions put in place three weeks ago.
Michigan Executive Office of the Governor

Citing continuing concerns about hospital capacity and “alarmingly high” death rates, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a 12-day extension of the COVID-19 restrictions initially put in place three weeks ago.

Interlochen Public Radio

The number of new coronavirus cases reported in northern lower Michigan appears to be falling, after surging to record highs last month. 

MAXIM JENKINS / WKAR-MSU

After a lot of action in the Spring, the state legislature has been quiet on COVID-19 for months. Instead many have focused on legal and political battles.

Now legislators on both sides say that gridlock over the pandemic is likely to continue.

Taylor Wizner

Hospitals across northern Michigan say they have enough beds, ventilators and PPE for this surge in COVID cases — the most of the pandemic.

Their problem now is having the staff to care for these patients, especially as the virus spreads through communities and healthcare workers themselves fall ill.


Charles Dawley

One northern Michigan county reeling from COVID-19 is Emmet County. It’s counted almost 800 cases and 27 deaths from the disease.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Starting Wednesday, restaurants in Michigan are again limited to delivery and takeout, high school and college classes can only be online, and non-professional sports games are cancelled. That’s under an order from Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s public health director.

Taylor Wizner

 

Hospital leaders from across Michigan say COVID cases are rising in rural and urban communities alike, straining the state's healthcare system.  

Interlochen Public Radio

Update 11/13/20: Traverse City Area Public Schools will keep the middle and high schools listed below closed through Friday, November 20, according to the district.  

Traverse City Area Public Schools will close East Middle School, West Middle School, Central High School, West Senior High School, and Traverse City High School for the rest of the week due to COVID-19. However, all elementary schools will remain open.

Charles Dawley

 

Emmet County has reported over a hundred new COVID-19 cases since Saturday and two deaths.

 

Most of the cases come from an outbreak at a nursing facility in Petoskey — Villa at the Bay — where more than 50 residents have tested positive, along with additional staff members. 

Taylor Wizner

 

Northwest lower Michigan is seeing a rapid rise in the number of COVID cases. Until recently, the region has largely avoided COVID spikes.

But as temperatures drop, residents are having to shift practices and behavior. 

In late May when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted the stay-at-home order for northern Michigan, Traverse City local Tyler Harkert braced for a rush of downstaters. 

Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services is lowering the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings and sending the Traverse City region back to Phase 4 of the MISafeStart Plan. The move comes as the state sees record-high COVID cases.

Morgan Springer

 

Update 10/22/30: TCAPS says TC Central High School  will return to in-class learning on Friday. The district says the health department completed its contact tracing efforts.

Traverse City Area Public Schools has closed TC Central High School for two days after positive COVID-19 test results from someone at the school were reported Tuesday. Depending on how many were exposed, or how long the health department needs to contact trace, the school may have to continue virtual instruction for longer, possibly for 14 days, TCAPS Superintendent John VanWagoner says.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer answers questions from reporters in Traverse City on October 9, 2020.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

The legislative committee looking into the state’s COVID-19 response meets again Monday – where top health officials in Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration will face questions from lawmakers.

This will be the first committee hearing since the state Supreme Court struck down the governor’s continued use of emergency powers and encouraged the Legislature and Whitmer to strike a bargain.

Interlochen Public Radio

 

Thursday marked the highest single day of reported COVID-19 cases in Michigan. The state reported 2,030 new cases and 32 deaths. 

A partial reason that number is so high is due to a slowdown in the reporting of electronic lab results from the previous day, according to the Michigan State Police.

But on Tuesday, state Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said we may be in the second wave of the virus.

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