Category Archives: COVID-19 coronavirus

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

Whitmer lifts Michigan’s face mask mandate for fully vaccinated residents

Posted by The Huron Hub | Friday, May 14, 2021

Governor Whitmer today announced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is updating the “Gatherings and Mask Order” to align with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidance on face coverings.

The new order will go into effect on Saturday, May 15.

“For more than a year, we’ve been following the best data and science to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Whitmer. “The vast majority of us have trusted the scientists and experts to keep us safe during the pandemic, and it has worked. With millions of Michiganders fully vaccinated, we can now safely and confidently take the next step to get back to normal. The message is clear: vaccines work to protect you and your loved ones. If you have not yet received your vaccine, now is the time to sign up. This pandemic has been one of the toughest challenges of our lifetimes, but we came together as a state to persevere. We have all been working incredibly hard toward getting back to some sense of normalcy, and today’s news makes all of that work worthwhile.”

On Thursday, the CDC released updated guidance recommending “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” 

“It’s critical that eligible Michigan residents who have not yet been vaccinated schedule their appointments as soon as they can,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and MDHHS chief deputy director for health. “Getting shots in arms is the best way to end the pandemic. If you have not yet been vaccinated, it is important to continue to mask up to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”

Under the updated MDHHS Gatherings and Mask Order, Michiganders who are outdoors will no longer need to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. While indoors, fully vaccinated Michiganders will no longer need to wear a mask, but residents who are not vaccinated, or have not completed their vaccinations, must continue to wear a mask or face covering to protect themselves and others. After July 1, the broad indoor mask mandate will expire.

“The safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and all the hard work that Michiganders have done allows us to take a big step in returning to normal,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “This updated order keeps Michigan in alignment with CDC guidance that is based on the knowledge of health experts. I urge our residents to continue to be respectful of each other as we move forward.”

To date, Michigan has administered 7,875,785 vaccines. According to CDC data, 55.6% of Michiganders ages 16 and older have received at least one dose, with more than 43% percent of Michiganders ages 16 and older being fully vaccinated. The state has also administered the vaccine to 927 Michiganders between the ages of 12 to 15 years old.


CDC says fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks indoors, with few exceptions

(Photo/Pexels)


The Huron Hub | Thursday, May 13, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a move to send the country back toward pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday eased indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to safely stop wearing masks inside in most places.

The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters but will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools, and other venues — even removing the need for masks or social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.

“We have all longed for this moment — when we can get back to some sense of normalcy,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC.

The CDC will also no longer recommend that fully vaccinated people wear masks outdoors in crowds. The announcement comes as the CDC and the Biden administration have faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people — people who are two weeks past their last required COVID-19 vaccine dose — in part to highlight the benefits of getting the shot.

Walensky announced the new guidance on Thursday afternoon at a White House briefing, saying the long-awaited change is thanks to millions of people getting vaccinated — and based on the latest science about how well those shots are working.

“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities – large or small — without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” Walensky said. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

The easing guidance is likely to open the door to confusion, since there is no surefire way for businesses or others to distinguish between those fully vaccinated and those who are not.

President Joe Biden was set to highlight the new guidance Thursday afternoon in a speech from the White House.

The new guidance comes as the aggressive U.S. vaccination campaign begins to pay off. U.S. virus cases are at their lowest rate since September, deaths are at their lowest point since last April and the test positivity rate is at the lowest point since the pandemic began.

To date about 154 million Americans, more than 46% of the population, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines and more than 117 million are fully vaccinated. The rate of new vaccinations has slowed in recent weeks, but with the authorization Wednesday of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 15, a new burst of doses is expected in the coming days.

Just two weeks ago, the CDC recommended that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks indoors in all settings and outdoors in large crowds.

During a virtual meeting Tuesday on vaccinations with a bipartisan group of governors, Biden appeared to acknowledge that his administration had to do more to model the benefits of vaccination.

“I would like to say that we have fully vaccinated people; we should start acting like it,” Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican, told Biden. “And that’s a big motivation get the unvaccinated to want to to get vaccinated.”

“Good point,” Biden responded. He added, “We’re going to be moving on that in the next little bit.”

Walensky said the evidence from the U.S. and Israel shows the vaccines are as strongly protective in real-world use as they were in earlier studies, and that so far they continue to work even though some worrying mutated versions of the virus are spreading.

The more people continue to get vaccinated, the faster infections will drop — and the harder it will be for the virus to mutate enough to escape vaccines, she stressed, urging everyone 12 and older who’s not yet vaccinated to sign up.

And while some people still get COVID-19 despite vaccination, Walensky said that’s rare and cited evidence that those infections tend to be milder, shorter and harder to spread to others. If someone who’s vaccinated does develop COVID-19 symptoms, they should immediately put their mask back on and get tested, she said.

There are some caveats. Walensky encouraged people who have weak immune systems, such as from organ transplants or cancer treatment, to talk with their doctors before shedding their masks. That’s because of continued uncertainty about whether the vaccines can rev up a weakened immune system as well as they do normal, healthy ones.

Article courtesy of The Associated Press.
View source article here


 

The Waltz Inn restaurant announces closure after 37 years in business

The Waltz Inn has closed its doors for good. Photo by Scott Bolthouse — The Huron Hub


By Scott Bolthouse | THE HURON HUB
Posted Monday, May 10, 2021

A popular local restaurant announced Monday that it is closing its doors for good.

The Waltz Inn, 28080 Waltz Road in Waltz, made a post on Facebook May 10 saying the business will close after being owned and operated by the current owners for 37 years.

The restaurant closed its doors at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and after giving some thought to reopening according to their recent social media posts, the business will in fact not reopen.

The business posted to Facebook and thanked the loyal customers who have frequented the restaurant over the years.

Here is their Facebook post:

Whitmer to host afternoon update on coronavirus response


The Huron Hub
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2021
9:00 AM EST

Gov. Whitmer will host a 3 p.m. live streaming update Wednesday 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.


Whitmer to host 10 a.m. press conference on coronavirus response

 


The Huron Hub
Posted Friday, April 9, 2021
9:00 AM EST

Gov. Whitmer will host a 10 a.m live streaming update Friday 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.

First P.1 variant case identified in Bay County; variant associated with increased transmissibility


Posted By The Huron Hub | April 1, 2021

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has been notified of a case of the P.1 or “Brazil variant” in a Bay County resident.

The case was reported by commercial lab Quest, and MDHHS was notified March 31.

The Bay County Health Department has been notified and is investigating the individual’s exposure history to attempt to identify the source of the infection.

The county is also confirming appropriate isolation measures, recontacting identified contacts and requiring a full 14-day quarantine period for all close contacts.

“We are concerned about the discovery of another variant in Michigan,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “It is now even more important that Michiganders continue to do what works to slow the spread of the virus 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. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of COVID-19 and end this pandemic as quickly as possible.”

“This is the second new variant of COVID-19 to be identified in Bay County since last week, and the rise of these new variants definitely impact the progress we have made this year with vaccinations,” said Joel Strasz, public health officer of the Bay County Health Department. The Bay County Health Department has investigated three cases of the B.1.1.7 variant identified since the first case was identified in the county on March 261. No cases of the 1.351 (South African) variant have been identified in Bay County to date.

The P.1 variant was first identified in travelers from Brazil during routine airport screening in Tokyo, Japan in early January. This variant has been associated with increased transmissibility and there are concerns it might affect both vaccine-induced and natural immunity.

As of March 31, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 172 confirmed P.1 cases from 22 states. As of March 31, Michigan has also identified 1,468 cases of B.1.1.7 variant infections in 51 Michigan jurisdictions and seven cases of B.1.135 variant infections in six Michigan jurisdictions.

Based on available evidence, current tests can identify COVID-19 in these cases. The available COVID- 19 vaccines also work against this new variant. Protective actions that prevent the spread of COVID-19 will also prevent the spread of all of the variants that have been identified in Michigan.

Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time.

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.


Whitmer increases daily vaccination goal to 100,000 shots per day, Michigan increases testing to ‘slow spread of COVID-19’


Posted by The Huron Hub — March 31, 2021

Governor Whitmer raised Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccination goal from 50,000 to 100,000 shots per day in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Michigan.

The new goal is based on the state’s efforts to expand equitable and efficient vaccine administration by partnering with private and public organizations in communities across the state, and is made possible by continuous week-over-week increases in the number of vaccines allocated to the state of Michigan, the governor said on Wednesday.

Michigan is also ramping up testing in an effort to “slow the spread of COVID-19,” the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday.

According to MDHHS, testing plus masks and vaccines are the best tools we have to slow spread of the virus.

Michigan is facing a third surge in cases, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

Michigan reportedly had the nation’s second-highest infection rate over the past two weeks.

“Michigan is making great strides as our rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines continues ramping up,” Whitmer said. “The safe, effective vaccines are one of the best ways to protect you and your family from coronavirus, and they are essential to getting our country back to normal so we can hug our families, get back to work, send our kids to school, and get together again. These new, higher vaccine targets are a testament to what we can do together, and we need to meet them so we can keep rebuilding our economy. Thanks to capable leadership at the national level, heroic efforts by frontline workers who are working around the clock, and the dedication of millions of Michiganders, we will put this pandemic behind us. I urge everyone to continue doing their part with masks, social distancing, and hand washing, and when you are eligible, get your vaccine.”

To help slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout Michigan, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is increasing testing and urging Michiganders to continue mitigation practices that help slow the spread of the virus.

“Now is the time for us all to come together and do what’s necessary to end this pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We are making progress in the fight against the virus with more than 4 million doses administered and 2.6 million Michiganders having at least their first dose of the safe and effective COVD-19 vaccine. It is important, now more than ever, that we double down on the things that work: wearing masks, social distancing, getting tested and making plans to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

The presence of more infectious variants, such as the B 1.1.7 variant, threatens the state’s progress in controlling the pandemic and MDHHS continues to monitor the data closely.

“Our goal is to loosen restrictions while reducing public health risk which is why we move slowly to maintain progress and momentum with thoughtful public health measures,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “We are also increasing testing in key populations to help identify cases more quickly, and help prevent additional spread of the virus.”

As part of the state’s efforts to help fight the virus and keep Michiganders healthy:

-More than 1.4 million antigen tests have been sent to long-term care facilities.
-More than 72,000 free tests have been conducted at neighborhood testing sites in socially vulnerable communities and continue to provide testing. To locate a testing site near you, visit gov/Coronavirustest.
-Over 76,000 students, student-athletes and educators in K-12 schools have been tested in more than 500 school districts.
-Testing for student-athletes begins Friday, April 2. This testing program is vital to ensure school can remain open and students are able to be in the classroom.
-Free post-spring break testing pop up sites are planned for school districts in 34 communities.
-Testing sites at Welcome Centers and Michigan airports are in the works for returning travelers.

As April 5, all Michiganders age 16 and up who were not previously eligible will be eligible to receive a vaccine.

This is based on the anticipated amount of vaccines becoming available to the state and President Biden’s directive that all adults should be eligible by May 1.

As providers are scheduling appointments, they should consider an individual’s risk of exposure due to their employment and their vulnerability to severe disease in determining how to prioritize scheduling appointments. Vaccine providers with the capacity to vaccinate all individuals ages 16 years and older may do so at this time.

It is anticipated that it may still take several weeks beyond April 5 for everyone who wishes to receive a vaccine to have an appointment.

Michiganders are encouraged to be patient as supplies and appointments continue to expand. Those who want the vaccine will be able to get the vaccine.

In next week’s shipment, the Biden Administration will increase the state’s direct allocation by 66,020 doses for a total of 620,040 vaccines, a weekly record high for Michigan.

This allocation includes 147,800 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“The state is working hand-in-hand with health care systems, local health departments, Federally Qualified Health Centers, primary care providers and others to get Michiganders vaccinated with the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Providers have administered more than four million doses in just four months and we praise and appreciate their willingness to serve their communities, and are confident they will meet and exceed the new 100,000 shots per day goal.”


 

Renton Junior High, Brown Elementary move to virtual learning due to increase in COVID-19 cases


Posted by The Huron Hub—Friday, March 19, 2021

Renton Junior High and Brown Elementary in the Huron School District will move to virtual learning due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

A letter, posted below, was sent out Friday by the superintendent of schools explaining the situation.

In-person learning will be paused for the week of March 22- March 26, 2021. Students in Brown Elementary and Renton Jr. High School will follow remote learning schedules during that time. Students are scheduled to return to in-person learning following Spring Break on April 5, 2021.

The full letter is posted below, and at this link.


Huron Township COVID-19 vaccination information

File photo

Posted Thursday, March 4, 2021 — The Huron Hub

Huron Township COVID-19 vaccination information via Wayne County:

Belleville, Huron Township, Sumpter Township and Van Buren Township in collaboration with Wayne County still have a supply of the COVID-19 Vaccination to distribute to the four community’s senior population of 65 years of age and older. 

Spouses and Caretakers who are under 65 years of age are eligible but also must register with the below l ink (they should note in
the form that they are either a spouse or caretaker).

To register for the vaccination list citizens of each community can utilize the following form:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1vPcVlIc8G5yUIhKtLGeuFTOhbl5SYl27ts520kRXR0M/edit

Citizens will be called or emailed to confirm their appointment. We will continue our efforts with Wayne County in procuring more doses to accommodate our senior population. Staff will utilize the registration list to confirm additional appointments as more doses are expected to become available. 

Instructions: We ask that citizens refrain from calling their municipal offices unless they do not have online access to the above form. This will keep calls from overwhelming our phone systems.


Michigan loosens COVID restrictions, allows expanded capacity at restaurants and other venues


Posted by The Huron Hub – Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Today, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services updated two of its epidemic orders, allowing for increased capacity limits at various venues, larger residential and nonresidential gatherings and expanded visitation opportunities at residential care facilities.

“Changes are designed to balance reopening while controlling the spread of COVID-19 and save Michiganders’ lives,” a statement from Governor Gretchen Whitmer said. 

Although progress has been made in reduction of hospitalizations, officials say it is crucial that Michiganders continue to mask up and socially distance as we reopen.

“As we continue our vaccine rollout and make steady progress against the virus, we are taking additional incremental steps to re-engage to ensure we are protecting our families and frontline workers and saving lives,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Michigan is a national leader in the fight against COVID-19, and our fact-based, data-driven approach will help our state rebuild our economy and resume normal day-to-day activities. As always, mask up, maintain social distancing, and wash your hands. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of the virus so we can end this pandemic together. One of the most important things Michiganders can do is make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine when it’s available to you.”

“More than 2 million doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine have been administered and a third vaccine will soon be arriving here in Michigan to help us end the pandemic in our state,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “We continue to monitor the data closely, and based on current trends we are taking another step toward normalcy. We urge Michiganders to continue doing what works and wearing a mask, washing their hands and avoiding crowds.”

MDHHS had been closely monitoring three metrics for stabilization or declines over the past several weeks.  As with other states, Michigan’s metrics are mixed. The presence of more infectious variants, such as the B 1.1.7 variant, threatens our progress in control of the epidemic and MDHHS will be monitoring data closely. In recent days:  

  • Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 is now at 3.9%. This metric peaked at 19.6% on Tuesday, Dec. 4.  
  • Overall case rates: After declining for six weeks, this metric is plateauing at 91.2 cases per million. The rate is similar to what we were at the beginning of October.
  • Positivity rate: is now at 3.7% having increased slightly from last week (3.5%). This metric is similar to where we were at the beginning of October. 

With all residents at skilled nursing homes having been offered their first dose of COVID-19 vaccineand a vast majority having had their second dose, the Residential Care Facilities Order goes into effect immediately.

The order encourages communal dining and group activities for residents and allows indoor and outdoor visitation in all counties regardless of county risk level. Visitation is allowed as long as the facility has not had a new COVID-19 case in the last 14 days and all indoor visitors ages 13 and older are subject to rapid antigen testing.

Testing will help keep residents, staff and families safe while allowing for visitation and an increased quality of life for residents. Adult foster care homes licensed for 12 or fewer residents, hospice facilities, substance use disorder residential facilities and assisted-living facilities are encouraged to implement visitor and staff testing protocols.

Visitors will be required to wear face masks or other personal protective equipment when required by the facility at all times. In general, visitors will need to maintain six feet from residents.  

“While we continue to have virus very present across the entire state, our improvements in case numbers, test positivity, and vaccinations mean we can move forward with reopening in an incremental way,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “I am glad we continue to make progress, but that progress is fragile. Everyone should continue to do important things like wearing a mask, washing hands, avoiding large gatherings and getting one of the three safe and effective vaccines when it becomes available to you.”  

Changes to the Gatherings and Mask Order go into effect Friday, March 5, and remain in effect through MondayApril 19.

Capacity changes include:

  • Restaurants and bars are allowed to be at 50% capacity up to 100 people. Tables must be six feet apart with no more than six people per table. There is now an 11 p.m. curfew.
  • Indoor non-residential gatherings where people interact across households are permitted up to 25 people, allowing public meetings and other small indoor gatherings to resume.
  • Outdoor non-residential gatherings where people interact across households are permitted up to 300, allowing larger outdoor events to resume.
  • Indoor entertainment venues are allowed to be at 50% capacity, up to 300 people.
  • Exercise facilities are allowed to be at 30% capacity with restrictions on distancing and mask requirements.
  • Retail is allowed to be at 50% capacity.
  • Casinos are allowed to be at 30% capacity.
  • Indoor stadiums and arenas are allowed have 375 if seating capacity is under 10,000; 750 if seating capacity is over 10,000. 
  • Outdoor entertainment and recreational facilities may host up to 1,000 patrons. 

Indoor residential gatherings are now limited to 15 people from three households, while outdoor residential gatherings can include up to 50 people.  

The epidemic order continues to temporarily pause other venues and activities where participants have close physical contacts and are not consistently masked, like water parks. 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.