Category Archives: COVID-19 coronavirus

The Huron Hub’s current coverage of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

Whitmer signs order requiring mask use in all indoor public spaces

(Photo/Pexels)


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| July 10, 2020

Governor Whitmer signed an order Friday that requires the use of face coverings in crowded outdoor spaces.

The order also reminds residents that they are required to wear a face covering whenever they are in an indoor public space.

The order requires any business that is open to the public to refuse entry or service to people who refuse to wear a face covering, with limited exceptions.

Governors in the states of Kansas, Maine, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Washington have imposed similar requirements on businesses.

Whitmer said she signed this executive order in response to rising COVID-19 cases in Michigan and across the country.

Executive Order 2020-147 amends and replaces the governor’s previous Executive Order 2020-114.

“The heroes on the front lines of this crisis have gone hours without taking their masks off every day – doctors, nurses, child care workers, grocery store workers. We owe it to them to wear our masks when we’re on a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Masks can reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 by about 70 percent. By wearing masks, we can save lives and protect our family, friends, and neighbors from the spread of COVID-19. And by wearing masks now, we can put our state in a stronger position so our kids can return to school safely in the fall. For the sake of your loved ones, let’s all mask up, Michigan.”

Officials say every region in Michigan has seen an uptick in new cases, and daily case counts now exceed 20 cases per million in the Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Lansing regions.

“Research confirms that a big part of the reason is spotty compliance with the governor’s requirement, issued in prior orders, that individuals wear face coverings in public spaces,” Whitmer said.

Health experts say studies show that wearing a mask can save lives and significantly lover an individual’s chance of spreading COVID-19.

A study on different regions in Germany, for example, suggests that the adoption of mandatory mask ordinances decreased the daily growth rate of COVID-19 infections by 40%.

Modeling from the University of Washington similarly indicates that more than 40,000 lives would be spared nationwide if 95% of the population wore a mask while in public. Furthermore, a study conducted by Goldman Sachs concluded that a federal mask mandate could save the U.S. economy from taking a 5% hit to our GDP.

“Michigan’s fight against COVID-19 is nowhere near over, which is why it’s so important that we all do our part and wear masks when we’re out in public,” said Chief Medical Executive and DHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “Wearing a mask or face covering can significantly decrease the chance of spreading COVID-19 and save lives. It’s important that all Michiganders wear masks properly – not down around the neck, not only over the mouth, but correctly over the mouth and nose. Please everyone stay patient, and remain vigilant.”

Under the governor’s order, businesses that are open to the public must refuse entry and service to individuals who fail to comply, and must post signs at all entrances instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering while inside.

Those who are exempt from wearing a mask in Michigan businesses include people younger than five-years-old, those who cannot medically tolerate a face covering, and those who are eating or drinking while seated at a food service establishment.

The executive order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, July 13.

“A willful violation of the order is a misdemeanor subject to a $500 criminal penalty, but no term of confinement may be imposed on individuals who violate the mask requirement,” Whitmer said. “No individual is subject to penalty under the order for removing a mask while engaging in religious worship at a house of religious worship, although consistent with guidance from the CDC, congregants are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings during religious services.”

To view Executive Order 2020-147, click here.


You can view a special COVID-19 (coronavirus) news section on HuronHub.com by clicking on this link.

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Yankee Air Museum cancels 2020 air show

Photo courtesy of the Wayne County Airport Authority.


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| July 6, 2020

The Yankee Air Museum said today they are canceling the 2020 Thunder Over Michigan Air Show that was planned for August 29-30 at Willow Run Airport, home to the Yankee Air Museum.

“In the current environment, we are unable to produce the world-renown Thunder Over Michigan Air Show event for which we are so well known,” said Kevin Walsh, event director.

According to air show organizers, they explored various socially responsible models but none of them fit the demands of a major air show.

“It is hard to take a proven model of 21 years and make it work responsibly in an era of global pandemic” Walsh said. “We take the health, safety and well-being of the seven hundred plus volunteers, the hundreds of aircrews and the tens of thousands of air show fans very seriously.”

Because the event “has a strict no refund policy,” according to organizers, 2020 ticket holders who bought tickets through the air show EventSprout ticketing system will receive a complimentary equivalent package for the 2021 Air Show, and also will receive an additional complimentary package for the 2022 Air Show.

“While a global pandemic is very much out of our control, we still want to give our current ticket holders a special consideration for being so loyal and dedicated,” Walsh said. “Our goal is to always exceed expectations.”

Organizers stated that they will be contacting individual general admission ticket holders to arrange the two-year complimentary package.

Plans are well underway for the 2021 show, which is slated for August 7-8, 2021.

“We built a reputation on being one of the top shows in the world and we look forward to keeping that place in the aviation community in 2021,” Walsh said.

The Thunder Over Michigan Air Show is a primary fundraiser for the Yankee Air Museum, a 501(c)3 charitable organization. To learn more visit YankeeAirMuseum.org.


 

Over a dozen coronavirus cases linked to Romulus adult club

A total of 13 COVID-19 cases have been traced to the Playhouse Club, 13201 Middlebelt Road in Romulus, according to the Wayne County Public Health Division. (Photo/Google)


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| July 6, 2020

More than a dozen coronavirus cases have been linked to an adult club in Romulus, Michigan health officials said.

13 COVID-19 cases have been traced to the Playhouse Club, 13201 Middlebelt Road in Romulus, according to the Wayne County Public Health Division.

Of the 13 reported cases, 12 are either employees or patrons of the club.

One case was an employee of a nearby Checkers restaurant.

Health officials ask anyone who visited or worked at the Playhouse Club between June 17 and July 1, or went to Checkers in Romulus between June 27 and July 4, to contact Wayne County Health Division at 734-727-7078.

Anyone who visited either location in that window of time, symptomatic or not, is encouraged to call the health division to report the contact, get tested and self-quarantine at home.

“It is imperative all people who visited these two establishments during the exposure window call and cooperate with our communicable disease team so that we can understand the extent of the outbreak,” Carol Austerberry, Wayne County Public Health Officer, said in a news release.


 

Public Safety Department keeps community spirit alive by participating in over 150 parades during pandemic

The Huron Township Department of Public Safety helped celebrate hundreds of birthdays, milestones, 2020 graduation, and escorted funerals, all during the pandemic. 


Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| July 1, 2020

The parades began on Easter, when the pandemic lockdown was fresh in everyone’s minds, and due to required social distancing, children were unable to see the Easter Bunny.

“We recognized that due to the COVID Pandemic, many little ones may not have had an opportunity to see the Easter Bunny. It was important to us to find a way to bring our community together during a difficult time while respecting safety concerns,” said Everette Robbins, director of public safety.

Since Easter, the Huron Township Department of Public Safety has been involved in hundreds of parades around the township to help celebrate various birthdays and milestones, as well as honoring the lives of community members who have died recently.

The parades, staffed by volunteers, celebrated children’s birthdays, senior citizen birthdays, military hero homecomings, front-line worker appreciation, and ended with a special drive-by for honorary Firefighter Bobby Kamin.

The department participated in funeral escorts for Huron Township families that were unable to have proper services for their loved ones due to the ongoing pandemic; an initiative organized by the department’s Police Officer Reserve Program.

Robbins thanked Reserve Officer Anthony Joquico and Reserve Commander James Dufour for their roles in the escorts.

Reserve Commander James Dufour and Reserve Officer Anthony Joquico

“These celebratory parades began as just a couple vehicles, usually one police car and maybe
one fire truck,” Robbins said. “After a few times out, Chief Hinojosa came to me and said his staff approached him and wondered why they were not able to be more involved in the celebratory parades. The answer was simply that we could only use volunteers. The response from the fire staff was that they wanted to volunteer and volunteer they did. For most parades, we would have so many of our fire staff volunteering that we would have to turn some of them away. We had 3 or 4 firefighters, using all pertinent safety precautions, in multiple vehicles because they wanted to be part of the community experience. Some of these parades ended up having upwards of 10 vehicles in the procession. I am immensely proud of the way all of our public safety staff stepped up to represent our community.”

On June 26, the department escorted Huron High School’s class of 2020 during a special parade for the graduates.

“I want the Class of 2020 to know how proud we are of them. They have lost so many things due to the pandemic. We expect them to do great things. Congratulations to the graduates and their families,” Robbins said. “It never gets old seeing this community come together. Hands down, this is my favorite thing I get to be involved with while serving. You can’t put a price on seeing the downtown or one of the villages filled to celebrate something special or seeing the smile of a child’s face as they see the lights and hear the sirens in front of their house as they celebrate their special day.”

Robbins said that having a partnership between public safety and the community is the most important part of the job.

“There is nothing more important to us than community partnerships,” he said. “While we realize the importance of providing quality service to our residents, we feel it is equally important to be a part of the community as well. I am thankful for the support we continue to be given.”

If you have photos or video of any parades from the past few months that have happened in Huron Township, you can share your them on our Facebook and Twitter pages.


 

Whitmer creates bipartisan task force to protect nursing home residents and staff from COVID-19


Posted by The Huron Hub on Friday, June 26, 2020

Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed executive orders to protect Michigan Nursing Home residents and staff from the spread of COVID-19. Executive Order 2020-135 creates the bipartisan Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The governor also signed Executive Order 2020-136, which extends existing safety measures to maintain restrictions regarding entry to care facilities designed to protect vulnerable populations. Since it was first issued on March 14, this order has prohibited entry into a nursing home without undergoing a rigorous screening protocol designed to protect facilities from COVID-19.

“We have taken great strides here in Michigan to protect families from the spread of COVID-19 and lower the chance of a second wave, but it’s crucial that we stay vigilant and work around the clock to protect our most vulnerable residents and those who have dedicated their lives to caring for them,” said Governor Whitmer. “These actions will help our state protect more nursing home residents and staff in the case of a second wave. Moving forward, I will work closely with the task force and with everyone who wants to help us protect our most vulnerable communities, the heroes on the front lines, and our families from this virus.”

The Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force will be charged with, among other things, analyzing relevant data on the threat of COVID-19 in nursing homes, and making recommendations to the governor on improving data quality, and releasing periodic reports to the governor on its findings and recommendations. The task force must produce a recommendation to the governor for an action plan on how to prepare nursing homes for any future wave of COVID-19 cases by August 31, 2020.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a particularly dire threat to the health and safety of residents and employees of long-term care facilities across the country,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “This task force will help us continue to work to protect our most vulnerable residents and the caretakers serving on the front lines.”

“The impact of COVID-19 on nursing home residents has been especially tragic,” said Paula D. Cunningham, State Director of AARP Michigan. “I am optimistic this bi-partisan Taskforce will identify best practices to ensure that nursing home residents and staff are better served and protected going forward.”

“SEIU Healthcare Michigan’s nursing home workers are essential and continue to put their lives at risk by going to work daily,” said Andrea Acevedo, President of SEIU Healthcare Michigan. “We believe that every nursing home worker deserves the support, resources and protections to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe throughout this pandemic and beyond. The Michigan Nursing Homes COVID-19 Preparedness Task Force is one of many steps needed to ensure that protection, health and safety standards across the nursing home industry are met. And the most transformative work we can do to ensure the highest quality of care for residents and for workers, is by allowing our frontline nursing home workers to have a voice and seat at the decision making table.”

The Task Force will consist of leaders across state government, including representatives from DHHS and LARA. The task force will also include a representative of the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, bipartisan representation from both houses of the legislature (2 members from each house), and thirteen other members appointed by the governor, including individuals with a personal or professional interest in the health, safety, and welfare of nursing home residents and workers.

Executive Order 2020-136 maintains restrictions on visitation to health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities, but authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services to gradually re-open visitation as circumstances permit. This order has been in place since March, and consistently prohibited entry into a nursing home by a person exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. The order is effective immediately and continues through July 24, 2020.

Source: State of Michigan


Whitmer sets guidelines for return of pro sports


Posted Friday, June 26, 2020 | The Huron Hub

Governor Whitmer on Thursday signed Executive Order 2020-133, which sets guidelines for the safe return of professional sports, without a live audience. The order follows Major League Baseball’s announcement that a shortened 60-game season would begin on July 24 with players reporting for spring training at their home ballparks by July 1.

“Good news, sports fans,” Governor Whitmer said. “We are now ready to gradually and safely allow professional sports to resume in Michigan. While this is an encouraging step in the reopening of our economy, it is critical for athletes to continue social distancing and taking precautions to stay safe. We want to keep our momentum going and keep moving forward, so it’s incumbent on everyone doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Under Executive Order 2020-133, professional sports training and competitions can resume as long as the activities are conducted pursuant to a COVID-19 safety plan that is consistent with any guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Participants must also maintain six feet of distance from one another to the extent compatible with the sport.


U.S. Court of Appeals bans opening of gyms amid coronavirus

(Photo/Pexels)


Posted Wednesday, June 24, 2020 | The Huron Hub

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted Gov. Whitmer’s request for a stay of a lower court ruling declaring her order closing gyms in southern Michigan because of COVID-19 should be lifted Thursday, June 25.

“Today three Republican-appointed judges got it right: in the fight against a global pandemic, courts must give governors broad latitude to make quick, difficult decisions. The governor will continue to take the actions necessary to save lives,” Whitmer said.

The court was made up of one judge nominated by President Donald Trump and two judges nominated by former President George W. Bush.

QUOTES FROM THE COURT’S RULING:

“Shaping the precise contours of public health measures entails some difficult line-drawing. Our Constitution wisely leaves that task to officials directly accountable to the people.”

“Enjoining the actions of elected state officials, especially in a situation where an infectious disease can and has spread rapidly, causes irreparable harm.”

“Crises like COVID-19 can call for quick, decisive measures to save lives. Yet those measures can have extreme costs—costs that often are not borne evenly. The decision to impose those costs rests with the political branches of government, in this case, Governor Whitmer.”


Schools face $1 billion in new costs before safely reopening in the fall, says Tri-County Alliance


Posted by The Huron Hub | June 24, 2020

The Tri-County Alliance for Public Education (TCA) shared cost projections and considerations with Governor Whitmer and legislative leaders that outline requirements and regulations schools will likely need to adhere to in order to reopen safely in the fall. The expected requirements, based on preliminary guidance from federal and local health departments, will add more than $1 billion in new costs for school districts statewide for the upcoming school year. Without additional support, this equates to $665 per-pupil that would be diverted from students’ education.

“We are hearing loud and clear from parents that they want their kids back in the classrooms this fall, and that they will, understandably, demand schools meet or exceed health and safety guidelines in order to do so,” said Mark Greathead, Superintendent of Woodhaven-Brownstown Schools and TCA President. “Schools, as it stands, are not prepared to take on new costs related to COVID-19 and are in critical need of immediate funding from the state and federal government.”

In order to implement safe reopening plans while adhering to guidelines from the CDC, state and local health departments, TCA estimates schools must plan to take on the following additional health and safety costs:

  • Personal Protective Equipment
    • Masks: Recommend two per day for every student and staff
      • $14 million – $17 million per month for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb
      • $35 million – $47 million per month statewide
    • Gloves: Recommend 100 disposable gloves available daily per school
      • $4 million – $8 million per month statewide
    • Thermometers:
      • $2.2 million for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb
      • $6.3 million statewide
    • Cleaning and Sanitization Supplies:
      • $9 million per month for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb
      • $25 million statewide
  • Online Connectivity: Equity periods of remote learning means ensuring students are on a level playing field by providing every student with a device on connectivity to keep on pace with peers
    • $125 million – $200 million statewide
  • Continued food distribution if students are not in school all day, every day
    • $24.5 million for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb
    • $67.8 million statewide

Beyond resources and funding, TCA urged the Governor and legislative leaders to allow for flexibility in operations. The student evaluations, requirements and regulations schools traditionally adhere to—such as the third grade reading law, teacher evaluations and how per-pupil counts will be determined—will  likely not reflect how schools will deliver services this upcoming year and will, more than likely, take time and resources away from schools when they are already struggling to meet requirements and costs related to COVID-19. Yesterday, Georgia became the first state to seek federal approval from the U.S. Education Department to waive standardize testing for the 2020-2021 school year. TCA encourages Michigan’s Governor and legislative leaders to make that same request.

“It is our recommendation that certain student and teacher evaluations and related requirements for the upcoming year be suspended or waived in order for schools to focus their efforts on serving students in the manner that best fits the needs of their local communities,” Greathead said. “We also continue to call on Congress to provide additional stimulus dollars and greater flexibility in the funds already provided.”

View the full list of considerations and cost projections for fall 2020 here.

The Tri-County Alliance for Public Education is a coalition of education leaders “committed to fighting for strong K-12 schools across Michigan,” according to the alliance. Comprised of Superintendents from every district in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, they are collectively responsible for educating over 500,000 students.

Article source: The Tri-County Alliance for Public Education


 

Whitmer extends Michigan state of emergency through July 16 amid coronavirus


The Huron Hub
Posted Friday, June 19, 2020

Governor Whitmer on Thursday extended the state of emergency declaration related to the COVID-19 pandemic through July 16.

Whitmer joined nearly every state in the country in maintaining a state of emergency to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state of emergency allows Whitmer to put orders in place and take actions unilaterally.

It is not the same as the stay-at-home order, which was recently lifted.

The order will allow her to continue taking action to protect Michigan families and workers, the governor said.

“The aggressive measures we took at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have worked to flatten the curve, but there is still more to be done to prevent a second wave,” Governor Whitmer said. “We owe it to the heroes on the front lines to keep doing our part by wearing a mask when in public and practicing social distancing. Now is not the time to get complacent. We must continue to stay vigilant and flexible in order to reduce the chance of a second wave.”

Whitmer said a recent report released by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team shows the aggressive actions taken to protect Michigan families from the spread of COVID-19 have significantly lowered the number of cases and deaths that would have occurred had the state done nothing.

Without intervention, Michigan might have experienced 28,000 more positive cases before June 1, the report stated.

“The data backs it up: The Stay Home, Stay Safe Order undeniably saved lives,” Governor Whitmer said. “Very few states dropped their infection rate as low and for as long as Michigan has, and I want thank everyone who stepped up to do their part to protect our communities.”

With the reduction in COVID-19 case counts, Whitmer has relaxed restrictions over the last several weeks on business activities and daily life.

On June 1, she announced that most of the state would move to Phase 4 of the governor’s Start plan, allowing retailers and restaurants to resume operations. Hair salons and other personal care services followed two weeks later.

On June 10, the Upper Peninsula and the region surrounding Traverse City were moved to Phase 5 allowing for the reopening of movie theaters, gyms and bowling alleys. If current trends continue the rest of the state will be moved to Phase 5 by July 4.


 

Whitmer announces steps for school reopening in the fall

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Posted by Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub| June 17, 2020

Governor Whitmer announced Wednesday that Michigan schools may resume in-person learning in phase 4 of the MI Safe Start plan.

Schools in the state will have to follow strict safety measures for in-person learning.

A statement from Whitmer also announced that on June 30, she will release an executive order and document called “Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap” that will provide details on what will be required and what will be recommended for schools.

Whitmer said the need for support and flexibility from the federal government will help ensure resources for students and educators.

“Our students and educators have made incredible sacrifices these past few months to protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said. “Thanks to our aggressive action against this virus, those who have done their part to flatten the curve, and the heroes on the front lines, I am optimistic that we will return to in-person learning in the fall. Schools must make sure to enact strict safety measures to continue protecting educators, students, and their families. I will continue working closely with the Return to Learn Advisory Council and leaders in health care to ensure we get this right, but we also need more flexibility and support from the federal government. This crisis has had serious implications on our budget, and we need federal support if we’re going to get this right for our kids.”

The Return to School plan will align closely with the MI Safe Start Plan, she said.

Whitmer said districts, students, staff, and families must be nimble and be prepared to move backwards if there is evidence of community spread of the virus.

“The most important thing we can do when developing a return to school plan is closely examine the data and remain vigilant in our steps to fight this virus,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “I will continue to work closely with Governor Whitmer and the Return to Learn Advisory Council to ensure we continue to put the health and safety of our students and educators first. This is a big step, and we will remain flexible to protect everyone who steps foot in a Michigan school.”

The Roadmap will set the minimum health and safety requirements, although districts may choose to enact more aggressive ones in consultation with local public health officials.

These minimum requirements will apply to all schools, including traditional public, charter, private, and parochial schools.

On May 15, Whitmer signed Executive Order No. 2020-88 creating the COVID-19 Return to School Advisory Council.

“The Advisory Council was created to identify the critical issues that must be addressed, provide valuable input to inform the process of returning to school, and to ensure a smooth and safe transition back to school. The Council will act in an advisory capacity to the Governor and the COVID-19 Task Force on Education, and will develop and submit recommendations to the COVID-19 Task Force on Education regarding the safe, equitable, and efficient K-12 return to school in the Fall,” a statement from Whitmer said.

Related: Here is an end of school year update from Huron School District superintendent