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Indoor dining in Michigan reopens Feb. 1


The Huron Hub | Posted Friday, Jan. 22, 2020Michigan COVID update

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released an order today reopening indoor dining begenning Monday, Feb. 1.

The order will allow for indoor dining at restaurants with certain requirements; concessions at casinos, movie theaters and stadiums; personal services requiring mask removal; and non-residential gatherings of up to 10 people from two households.

The new order will last three weeks, until Sunday, Feb. 21.

“The pause has worked. The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and hospitals have dramatically reduced cases and we have saved lives. Now, we are confident that starting February 1, restaurants can resume indoor dining with safety measures in place,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Michigan continues to be a national leader in fighting this virus, and we must continue working to keep it that way. One of the most important things Michiganders can do is to make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it’s available to you. And as always, mask up and maintain six feet of social distancing. We will end this pandemic together.”

“We are pleased to see the improvements in case rates, hospitalizations and percent positivity that have allowed us to reopen more activities,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “However, we must remain vigilant, especially since we now have a new more easily transmitted variant of this virus present in our state. This is not the time to let our guard down and Michiganders should minimize their risk by avoiding gatherings, wearing masks properly, social distancing and making a plan to get their vaccine when it is their turn.”

MDHHS says it has been closely monitoring three metrics for stabilization or declines over the past several weeks.

Michigan continues to see improvements in these metrics which has allowed for additional relaxing of protocols and reopening of activities. In recent days:

• Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients has been in seven-week decline, with current capacity at 9.9% for beds with COVID-19 patients. Peaked at 19.6% on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
• Overall case rates: Currently at 225 cases per million. Peaked at 740 cases per million on Saturday, Nov. 14, plateaued after a decline to 239 on Friday, Dec. 25 and has been in decline for 11 days.
• Positivity rate: currently at 6.8% and declining.

Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity with up to 100 people.

Tables must be six feet apart with no more than six people per table. Outdoor tents with four sides are permitted under these same rules.

Bars and restaurants must close by 10 p.m., and contact information must be collected from diners for contact tracing purposes.

“Today’s announcement is possible because of our progress over the last two months,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director. “Even so, the science is clear that unmasked, indoor activities like dining and drinking are still a source of high risk around COVID-19. The safest course remains to support your favorite restaurant with carryout, delivery or outdoor dining. If individuals choose to eat out, there are two things they can do to make it much safer: go out only with members of their own household and choose a restaurant participating in the MI COVID-19 Safer Dining certification program.”

The voluntary MI COVID-19 Safer Dining program allows food service establishments to become certified by having their ventilation system inspected and submitting their inspection report to the state indicating they are optimizing airflow. Once certified, businesses will be featured on the Michigan.gov/covidsaferdining website and receive a copy of their certification to post at their establishment to alert diners of their participation.

Funding is proposed for food service establishments to participate as part of the $10 million included in the recent supplemental budget request for restaurant supports administered by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Two webinars will be hosted on Monday, Jan. 25 to provide additional information about the Safer Dining certification program – one at noon for HVAC contractors interested in conducting inspections and one at 3 p.m. for food service establishments interested in becoming certified. More information will be available at Michigan.gov/covidsaferdining.

Indoor residential and non-residential gatherings are limited to 10 people and two households. MDHHS continues to urge families to avoid indoor gatherings or to pick a single other household to interact with consistent with guidance already released by the department.

Families are encouraged to stay home as much as possible to maintain momentum and to protect loved ones, and are also encoured to wear masks in public.


MDOT is naming snowplows, and everyone can help

A Wayne County snow plow clears the downtown New Boston area during a recent snow. (Photo by Scott Bolthouse—The Huron Hub)

Posted by The Huron Hub — Jan. 18, 2020

Michigan Department of Transportation snowplows will have a special and personal touch on the department’s interactive Mi Drive map.

Inspired in part by TrafficScotland.org, MDOT has started giving snowplows unique and creative names on the Mi Drive map.

Current names include Plowasaurus Rex, Sir Salts-A-Lot, and Snowboni, and were chosen from hundreds of public offerings.

Yes, Plowy McPlowface is on the list.

Among the submissions were three special names: Tiger, Chill Bill, and Frosty, all from Roxane Gilbert’s 5th Grade students at Fair Plain East Elementary in Benton Harbor. Tiger, the school’s mascot, is now the name of one of the plows along M-63 near the school.

“We are excited that these snowplows will reflect our students’ creativity,” Fair Plain East Principal Brian Litten said. “Going forward, this partnership with MDOT will open the doors for our students to recognize career opportunities.”

To see each snowplow’s name, visit Mi Drive at http://www.Michigan.gov/Drive and activate the MDOT snowplow tracker map layer. By hovering over an icon, the plow name will appear. Clicking on the icon will show the name and a description of what the truck is doing, as well a driver’s seat view of current road conditions through the snowplow cameras.

Starting with several snowplows in MDOT’s Southwest Region, MDOT is hopeful to name each of the more than 250 MDOT plows statewide in the near future.

“This idea really was driven by people who reached out to us and wanted to know how they could name our plows like those in other places,” Nick Schirripa, MDOT spokesman, said. “There was so much positive energy and excitement generated so quickly for this idea, it was contagious. We couldn’t help but give the idea some legs and get some fantastic ideas for names.”

To see each snowplow’s name, visit Mi Drive at http://www.Michigan.gov/Drive and activate the MDOT snowplow tracker map layer. By hovering over an icon, the plow name will appear. Clicking on the icon will show the name and a description of what the truck is doing, as well a driver’s seat view of current road conditions through the snowplow cameras.

“We hoped this could be both fun and instructive and we’re thrilled with the participation from students and others in the community,” said MDOT Director Paul C. Ajegba. “I love many of the suggestions, and I can’t wait to see more.”

School and community groups are encouraged to submit ideas as an organization, in essence adopting a snowplow as their own and creating opportunities to learn more about snowplowing operations, winter driving, and other transportation-related safety topics.

More names are needed, and everyone is welcomed to participate. Go to http://www.Michigan.gov/NameMISnowplow and submit your ideas. There are a few guidelines. To be considered, suggestions must be G-rated and family friendly, and submissions that include famous, character, or brand names cannot be used. Staff from each of MDOT’s seven regions will be able to select their own plow names from the list.


First case of new COVID-19 variant identified in Michigan


Posted by The Huron Hub — Jan. 16, 2021

The first Michigan case of new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7. was identified in an adult female living in Washtenaw County by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Bureau of Laboratories today.

The person recently traveled to the United Kingdom, where this variant originated. Close contacts of this individual have been identified and are in quarantine. At this time two new cases have been identified from close contacts with the person, but it is not known if they are infected with the variant.

B.1.1.7. is believed to be more contagious, but there has been no indication that it affects the clinical outcomes or disease severity compared to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has been circulating across the United States for months.

However, a higher rate of transmission could increase the number of people who need to be hospitalized or who lose their lives to COVID-19 should the new variant begin circulating widely in Michigan, health officials said.

To date, the virus has been identified in at least 16 other states and jurisdictions in the U.S.

This is the only known case in Michigan at this time, however it is possible that there are more that have not been identified.

“The discovery of this variant in Michigan is concerning, but not unexpected,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and end this pandemic as quickly as possible. We continue to urge Michiganders to follow a research-based approach by wearing their masks properly, socially distancing, avoiding crowds, washing their hands often, and making a plan to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once it is their turn.”

Based on available evidence, current tests and vaccines for COVID-19 also work against this new variant.

Protective actions that prevent the spread of COVID-19 will also prevent the spread of the new variant, B.1.1.7. Michiganders should:

• Get vaccinated for COVID-19.
• Wear a mask around others.
• Stay 6 feet apart from others.
• Wash hands often.
• Ventilate indoor spaces.

Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. MDHHS’s Bureau of Laboratories is a national leader in whole genome sequencing for SARS CoV2.

MDHHS identified the variant in this individual’s sample and will continue to conduct whole genome sequencing to quickly identify any variants of interest, including B.1.1.7.

Whole genome sequencing allows scientists to examine the genetic material of pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2. Over the past 10 months, laboratories across Michigan have been submitting samples to the state public health laboratory for surveillance to help monitor the emergence of any variants of concern.

MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories prioritizes additional specimens for whole genome sequencing when there is increased concern for a new variant of the virus, such as in people with a travel history to places where the variant is known to be circulating.


Michigan reopens certain sectors of the economy; points to Feb. 1 for indoor dining


Posted by The Huron Hub
Posted Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021

–Gatherings remain limited, group exercise and non-contact sports now open 

–State  says “working plan” is to open indoor dining with mitigation measures, capacity limits and a curfew on Feb. 1

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated its epidemic order today to allow re-opening of additional activities where Michiganders can remain masked and socially distanced.

This includes indoor group exercise and non-contact sports.

The new order is effective Saturday, Jan. 16 and will last until Sunday, Jan. 31.

“The efforts we have made together to protect our families, frontline workers and small business owners are working. While there has been a slight uptick in our percent positivity rate, our cases per million have plateaued and more hospital beds are becoming available. Today, we are confident that MDHHS can lift some of the protocols that were previously in place,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Michigan is once again standing out as a nationwide leader in fighting this virus, and we must continue working to keep it that way. One of the most important things Michiganders can do is to make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it’s available to you. And as always, mask up and maintain six feet of social distancing. We will end this pandemic together.”

Previously, MDHHS had identified stabilization or declines in three metrics as critical for relaxing protocols.

“We continue to make progress in our fight against this virus, and expanding vaccination to healthcare workers, long-term care residents and staff, some essential frontline workers and those age 65 and older is bringing us closer to ending the pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “It is important that everyone continues to do their part by avoiding gatherings, wearing masks properly and social distancing. This remains just as important, even as the safe and effective vaccine is being administered, to protect those who are not yet able to be vaccinated.”

Although Michigan saw improvements across all three following the “pause” implemented in mid-November, some numbers have plateaued or begun to increase in recent days:

-Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients has been in 13-day decline, with current capacity is at 12% for beds with COVID-19 patients. Peaked at 19.6% on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
-Overall case rates: increasing, currently at 266 cases per million. Peaked at 740 cases per million on Saturday, Nov. 14 and declined to a low of 239 on Friday, Dec. 25
-Positivity rate: plateauing; currently at 9.1% after reaching a low of 8.1% on Monday, Dec. 28 and increasing up to 10% since then.

“We are reopening cautiously because caution is working to save lives. The new order allows group exercise and non-contact sports, always with masks and social distancing, because in the winter it’s not as easy to get out and exercise and physical activity is important for physical and mental health,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We are glad that we made it through the holidays without a big increase in numbers, but there are also worrying signs in the new numbers. We need to remain focused and continue to see declines in hospitalizations and to bring case rates and percent positivity down by doing what we know works.”

Indoor residential gatherings remain limited to 10 people and two households. MDHHS continues to urge families to avoid indoor gatherings or to pick a single other household to interact with consistent with guidance already released by the department.

Families are encouraged to stay home as much as possible to maintain momentum and to protect loved ones. Families are also encouraged to Mask Up, Mask Right, using guidance for what masks to wear and how to wear them.

The epidemic order continues to temporarily pause indoor dining in bars and restaurants, but they can continue to offer outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery.

The working plan is to open indoor dining with mitigation measures, capacity limits and a curfew on Feb. 1, but the ultimate decision depends on data continuing to stabilize. Additional details on the reopening pathway are expected next week.

Colleges and universities can have students return to campus for the winter semester and restart in-person courses as of Jan. 18.

As before, employees who work in jobs that cannot be performed from home can continue to go to work, while employees who can work from home should continue to do so. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; andpersonal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment.


 

Amazon announces ‘Pinnacle Park’ developments in Huron Township; cites 1,000 local jobs to be created

Warehouse structures can be seen being constructed at the Pinnacle Aeropark property on Nov. 12, 2020. (Photos by Scott Bolthouse — The Huron Hub)

Posted by Scott Bolthouse
The Huron Hub
Jan. 12, 2021

Amazon officially announced their footprint in Huron Township on Monday, dubbing the area off Vining Road “Pinnacle Park.”

The massive warehouses on Vining Road where the defunct Pinnacle Race Course once stood will be fulfillment and sorting warehouses for Amazon, according to the company worth over $1 trillion.

“Huron Township welcomes the creation of approximately 1,000 jobs the Amazon facilities offer. This Amazon project will serve to jump-start additional economic growth that will make up a much larger comprehensive mixed use development planned for this area,” said David Glaab, Huron Township supervisor. “This investment will serve to bolster and compliment the efforts of the Detroit Region Aerotropolis in its mission to attract advanced manufacturing, next generation mobility and emerging technologies to this region.”

Amazon says 1,000 jobs will be available soon at the Huron Township locations.

“With this deal, we are able to appropriately redevelop the Pinnacle property – adding roughly 1,000 new jobs for local residents while expanding our tax base at the same time,” said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans. “When I took office, I made it a priority to repurpose the land in a more productive way that made sense for the location. Working in collaboration with Huron Township leaders and Detroit Aerotropolis, my team identified a new approach for the site that was both economically viable and consistent with the community’s vision. I’m pleased that Amazon agrees that Pinnacle is a prime location for a world-class logistics and distribution facility that will put Wayne County residents to work.”

Photos: From race course to warehouses: Photos of current construction at Pinnacle Aeropark site

In addition, Amazon has announced other key developments in the Metro Detroit area.

In 2021, Amazon’s new fulfillment and sortation centers in Detroit include:

  • Detroit – Amazon Robotics Fulfillment Center.
  • Hazel Park – Sub-Same-Day Fulfillment Center.
  • Pinnacle Park – Amazon “XLFC” Fulfillment Center.
  • Pinnacle Park – Amazon Sort Center.
  • Plymouth – Amazon Sort Center.
  • Pontiac – Amazon Robotics Fulfillment Center.

At one of the five new sites, Amazon plans to open a new 823,000 square-foot fulfillment center, creating 1,200 new full-time jobs when it launches in 2021.

The site will be the fourth fulfillment center in the state using Amazon robotics to help associates pick, pack and ship smaller items to customers.

The other four sites include a same-day facility, XL fulfillment center and two sortation centers that play critical roles in the fulfillment of large products and “middle mile,” or the process of transporting packages between Amazon sites before last mile delivery for customers.

Packages are shipped to sort centers from Amazon Air hubs, gateways and fulfillment centers to be sorted by zip code before being transported to delivery stations or last-mile delivery partners for customer delivery

“We’re excited to be expanding our network to better serve our customers in the great city of Detroit,” said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment. “We are grateful for the strong support we’ve received from local and state leaders as we broaden our footprint throughout Michigan. We look forward to bringing more than 2,000 good jobs to Metro Detroit and contributing positively to the community.”

Amazon currently operates 10 sites in Detroit that support customer fulfillment and delivery operations, including four facilities that launched in 2020.

Amazon says it offers a $15 per hour wage, and that the company offers full-time employees comprehensive benefits including full medical, vision, and dental insurance as well as a 401(k) with 50 percent match starting on day one.

The company said it also offers up to 20 weeks of maternal and parental paid leave and innovative benefits such as Leave Share and Ramp Back, which give new parents flexibility to support their growing families.

AMAZON IN MICHIGAN

  • Since 2010, Amazon says it has created more than 13,500 jobs in Michigan and invested more than $2.5 billion across the state, including infrastructure and compensation to its employees.
  • Amazon’s says its investments have contributed more than $2.1 billion in GDP to the Michigan economy and have helped create over 10,000 indirect jobs on top of Amazon’s direct hires – from jobs in construction and logistics to professional services.
  • More than 42,000 independent authors and small and medium businesses in Michigan are selling to customers in Amazon’s store, creating thousands of additional jobs across the state.

To view The Huron Hub’s complete coverage of the Pinnacle property, including the defunct race track through the recently announced proposed development, please visit this archive on HuronHub.com.

Whitmer, Snyder call on Americans to pray for unity, healing following riots in DC

 


 

The Huron Hub
Posted Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021

Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer and former Republican Governor Rick Snyder joined today in calling for national unity after rioters stormed the US Capitol, resulting in at least one person reportedly being shot and damage to property inside the building.

The Associated Press is reporting that the rioters were loyal to President Donald Trump.

The National Guard and state and federal police in DC were called in for control, and the mayor of Washington imposed a rare evening curfew.

One person was reported to have been shot during the rioting.

Whitmer and Snyder released a joint statement Wednesday evening.

“What is unfolding today in our nation’s capital is truly appalling. Violence, vandalism, and insurrection have no place in this great country of ours. We are a nation of laws, not mobs,” Whitmer said.

“While we come from different backgrounds and political parties, Governor Whitmer and I share a deep love for our country,” Snyder said. “We must always remember that we are Americans first, and we are not one another’s enemy. That’s why I join with Governor Whitmer in calling on people of goodwill across America to pray for peace, calm, and healing.”

“Now is the time to put this election behind us once and for all,” Whitmer added. “We must unify as one nation to defeat our real enemy, which is the pandemic that has taken far too many of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones. As Americans, there is no problem we can’t solve, and no challenge we can’t meet. Let’s all stay safe. Let’s take care of each other. And let’s move forward together, as one United States of America.”


Huron School District to resume in-person learning on Jan. 11

By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
Posted Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021

The Huron School District will resume in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 11.

Huron Schools Supt. Donovan Rowe informed the community about the decision in a letter posted today.

“Given the trend data, the regional health situation, and the change of recommendation from the Wayne County Health Department, we are planning to return students to face-to-face instruction on Monday, January 11, 2021. We will be returning to the modified face-to-face model that we have been using during this school year, and we will continue to provide our remote options for students who have chosen to participate remotely,” Rowe said in the letter.

“Transportation schedules will return to their previous times and pick-up locations. We will also continue to implement our mitigation strategies and protocols that have been largely successful for students and staff during this school year,” he said.

You can read the entire letter by visiting this link.

Rowe said he is pleased that the trend data has vastly improved and that Wayne County Health Department representatives are supporting the return to in-person learning.

“We are eager to return students to in-person learning on Monday, January 11, 2021, and we are excited to continue providing the safest and most purposeful learning environment possible,” he said.


Related article: Huron School District Food Service program supplies food to students amid COVID-19 shutdowns

Whitmer to host 1:30 p.m. live stream Wednesday on coronavirus in Michigan


The Huron Hub
Posted Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021
10:15 AM EDT

Gov. Whitmer will host a 1:30 p.m. live streaming update Wednesday afternoon on Michigan’s coronavirus response.

Whitmer will be joined by Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The live stream will be broadcast on the governor’s Facebook and Twitter pages and on local TV news networks.


Winter weather advisory: freezing rain, ice accumulation possible Friday


Winter Weather Advisory for Wayne County

Issued by National Weather ServiceDetroit, MI
2:53 PM EST Thu, Dec 31, 2020

…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM NOON FRIDAY TO MIDNIGHT EST FRIDAY NIGHT…

* WHAT…Freezing rain expected. Total ice accumulation up to a tenth of an inch.

* WHERE…Wayne, Lenawee and Monroe Counties.

* WHEN…From noon Friday to midnight EST Friday night.

* IMPACTS…Paved surfaces will be icy, including untreated roads. The hazardous conditions will impact afternoon and evening travel.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…A brief period of snow and sleet is possible as the precipitation overspreads the area Friday afternoon. The precip will then quickly transition to freezing rain. Temperatures will slowly inch above freezing Friday evening as the freezing rain diminishes to drizzle.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

Slow down and use caution while traveling.