Category Archives: COVID-19 coronavirus

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

Don’t delay calling 911 during a health emergency, EMS providers say

Image/Michigan Association of Ambulance Services

Posted Saturday, May 9, 2020

Michigan residents should not risk their lives in a health emergency by avoiding calling 911 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan’s ambulance providers said recently.

The Michigan Association of Ambulance Services, and its member EMS agencies who serve 67 percent of Michigan counties, are seeing a troubling trend of people fearing to call 911 for heart attacks, strokes and other medical emergencies.

“We don’t want to see people develop a permanent medical disability or die needlessly due to fear of COVID or burdening the medical system,” said Jack Fisher, MAAS president and executive director of Medic 1 Ambulance in Berrien County. “Every minute counts in a medical emergency and people should still call for help, even during this pandemic.”

Michigan is not alone in this dangerous trend. Modern Healthcare reported that an American College of Emergency Physicians poll at the end of April found that 29 percent of those surveyed said they avoided medical care due to COVID-19 concerns. In another survey by Morning Consult, 75 percent of Americans surveyed said they avoided healthcare because they were concerned about stressing the system.

Michigan’s ambulance providers are prepared to safely care for patients with medical emergencies with protective gear and disinfecting protocols in place. EMS professionals are urging residents not jeopardize their health by avoiding calling for assistance.

“Individuals did not stop having heart attacks and strokes with the coronavirus appeared,” said Ron Slagell, president and CEO of Huron Valley Ambulance and past-president of MAAS. “While it’s important to take the pandemic seriously, signs of serious health problems should not be ignored or pushed off.”

The Michigan Association of Ambulance Services is a statewide trade association representing and advocating for ambulance services. Last year, MAAS members were responsible for more than 700,000 or 56 percent of ambulance transports in 2018. MAAS members also provide community paramedicine, ER diversion and 911.
services in several areas of Michigan.

For more information, visit

Source: Michigan Association of Ambulance Services


Order temporarily extends expiration of driver’s licenses, state ID cards, vehicle registrations

Posted by The Huron Hub | May 8, 2020

Gov. Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-78, to temporarily extend the expiration of state identification cards, driver’s licenses and operator endorsements, as well as suspends penalties for vehicle registration violations, and protects Michigan drivers.

The order also ensures that automobile insurance will continue to protect and cover Michigan drivers.

“Nobody should have to stress about renewing their drivers license or state ID card, or worry about their auto insurance coverage during a global pandemic,” Whitmer said. “By extending this executive order, we’re lifting that burden off Michiganders’ shoulders so they can focus on staying home and staying safe.”

The order protects Michiganders from penalties for driving on what would otherwise be expired driver’s licenses, learner’s permits and commercial driver’s licenses, and vehicle registrations. These protections do not apply to motorists with suspended or revoked driver’s licenses.

Those looking to renew their licenses should do so online at

View this link to read the entire executive order


St. Stephen Festival cancelled this year

By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub

Published May 8, 2020 

A realization is being felt across the country: spring and summer just aren’t going to be the same this year due to the coronavirus.

Festivals, celebrations, and just about anything involving large groups of people are being cancelled everywhere to slow the spread of the virus.

Every May for decades, the St. Stephen Polish Festival has been a popular spring tradition in New Boston.

Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival, which was scheduled for May 15-17, is cancelled.

(Photo courtesy

For fun, we’re sharing some past photos of the festival from The Huron Hub’s archive. Enjoy:

Slideshow: Past festival fun. 
Huron Hub archive photos 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



Whitmer details six-phase plan to restart Michigan’s economy

Whitmer says state is currently in phase three of plan

Posted by The Huron Hub | May 8, 2020

On Thursday, Gov. Whitmer detailed the six phases of her “MI Safe Start Plan” to re-engage Michigan’s economy.

“The governor has worked with leaders in health care, business, labor, and education to develop the plan, and announced today that Michigan is in phase three,” a statement from Whitmer’s office said.

The phases of the pandemic include:

1) UNCONTROLLED GROWTH: The increasing number of new cases every day, overwhelming our health systems.

2) PERSISTENT SPREAD: We continue to see high case levels with concern about health system capacity.

3) FLATTENING: The epidemic is no longer increasing and the health-system’s capacity is sufficient for current needs.

4) IMPROVING: Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are clearly declining.

5) CONTAINING: Continued case and death rate improvements, with outbreaks quickly contained.

6) POST-PANDEMIC: Community spread not expected to return.

“I am working closely with health care experts and epidemiologists to closely monitor Michigan’s progress in the fight against COVID-19,” Whitmer said. “As we move forward with the MI Safe Start Plan, I am working closely with partners in business, labor, and education to determine the best way to move forward each day. All of us know the importance of getting people back to work and the economy moving again. We’ve already reopened lower-risk sectors like construction, manufacturing, and lawn care.

“The worst thing we can do is open up in a way that causes a second wave of infections and death, puts health care workers at further risk, and wipes out all the progress we’ve made. That’s why we will continue to monitor the spread of this virus, hospital capacity, testing rates, and more as we work toward reaching the ‘improving’ phase.”

Visit this link to read the entire plan

Whitmer extends stay-home order through May 28, reopens manufacturing

Posted by The Huron Hub | May 7, 2020

Governor Whitmer signed an executive order Thursday that extends Michigan’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order to May 28.

The governor’s order will allow manufacturing workers, including those at Michigan’s big three auto companies, to resume work on Monday, May 11.

Under the order, Michigan residents are not to leave their homes except to run critical errands, to engage in safe outdoor activities, or to go to specified jobs.

Manufacturing facilities must adopt measures to protect their workers from the spread of COVID-19. That includes conducting a daily entry screening protocol for workers and everyone else entering the facility, including a questionnaire covering symptoms and exposure to people with possible COVID-19, together with a temperature screening as soon as no-touch thermometers can be obtained.

They must also create dedicated entry points at every facility, and suspend entry of all non-essential in-person visits, including tours.

Manufacturing facilities must also train workers on, among other things, how COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person, signs and symptoms of COVID-19, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or suspected or confirmed diagnosis, and the use of personal protective equipment.

All businesses in the state—including manufacturers—must require masks to be worn when workers cannot consistently maintain six feet of separation from others, and consider face shields for those who cannot consistently maintain three feet of separation from other workers.

“This is good news for our state, our businesses, and our working families,” said Whitmer. “We’re not out of the woods yet, but this is an important step forward on our MI Safe Start plan to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly. As we continue to phase in sectors of our economy, I will keep working around the clock to ensure our businesses adopt best practices to protect workers from the spread of COVID-19. When we all keep doing our part, we can reduce the risk of a second wave and re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”

To view executive order 2020-77, click this link

Whitmer signs order expanding unemployment benefits

Posted by The Huron Hub | Press release desk | May 7, 2020

Governor Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-76, extending and building upon her earlier executive orders expanding eligibility for unemployment benefits during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Executive Order expedites benefits for tens of thousands of Michiganders who have filed for unemployment benefits by allowing the state to review only an individual’s most recent job separation, which is the cause of the current unemployment, to determine the individual’s benefit entitlement.

“Nobody should have to worry about how to put food on the table or pay their bills, especially during a crisis. Michiganders everywhere have lost work because of COVID-19, and we must ensure they receive the benefits they’re entitled to as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Governor Whitmer said. “This Executive Order will take us one step closer toward that goal by temporarily eliminating red tape as we continue to flatten the curve of this deadly disease.”

The Executive Order also extends Executive Order 2020-57, which:
Expands the state’s workshare program, offering more tools to employers to reduce layoffs and restart their business.
Extends unemployment benefits to workers:

-Who have an unanticipated family care responsibility.
-Who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off.
-Extends unemployment benefits to workers who voluntarily left a job after accepting new employment but were unable to start their new position due to the pandemic.
-Allows anyone with an active unemployment claim to receive up to 26 weeks of benefits.
-Suspends the requirement for individuals seeking unemployment to request a registration and work search waiver from their employer.
-Allows Unemployment Insurance Agency retirees to keep their retirement benefits if they return to work to process unemployment claims or serve on the Occupational Health and Safety Commission.
-Expands cost-sharing with employers to reduce layoffs.

Governor Whitmer has been recognized nationally for her efforts to ensure unemployed Michiganders have access to benefits during the ongoing public health crisis.

Under the governor’s leadership, Michigan is one of only a few states that have begun issuing the additional $600 pandemic benefit from the U.S. government, according to Michele Evermore of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit National Employment Law Project, as reported in the Detroit Free Press.

According to Roll Call, Michigan has the second-lowest percentage of claimants still awaiting a decision on benefits, with only New York having a lower percentage of undecided claims. And, Michigan is third behind Vermont and West Virginia in the percentage of claimants receiving benefits, according to a recent New York Times report.

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

For current and up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus, visit and

$10M in small business relief grants awarded to 2,700 Michigan businesses impacted by coronavirus

Posted by The Huron Hub | Press release desk | May 6, 2020

More than 2,700 small businesses around Michigan have been awarded a total of $10 million in grants by local economic development organizations through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

The program was launched to provide relief for small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

“The Michigan Small Business Relief Program grants were intended to provide critical capital to support the health and sustainability of the state’s small businesses, communities and workforce,” said MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton. “By collaborating with our local economic development partners, we were able to deliver vital resources to small businesses all across Michigan.”

The grants under the Michigan Small Business Relief Program are intended to support businesses facing drastic reductions in cash flow and the continued support of their workforce and may be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business.

The Michigan Small Business Relief Program grants, authorized by the Michigan Strategic Fund on March 19, were administered by 15 local and nonprofit economic development organizations (EDOs) around Michigan. The EDOs were selected through a competitive process based on capacity to administer the program and ensure coverage to small businesses in all 83 counties in Michigan.

Selected EDOs were responsible for reviewing applications of small businesses in their region and ultimately determining grant awards through the program. Each EDO established a review committee that could include representatives from local workforce agencies, local SBDC representatives, business and nonprofit leaders, among others. The full list of EDOs administering Michigan Small Business Relief grants, the counties they served, and the number of businesses supported is below.

Groovy Donuts of Lansing was awarded a $10,000 grant through the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), and the funds put the company in a much more stable position to meet its meet rent, utilities, and payroll obligations, according to founder Andrew Gauthier.

“Groovy Donuts is incredibly honored to have received a Small Business Relief Program grant. We are very relieved as well. The biggest concern for us remains the uncertainty of our world with COVID-19 as a part of our daily lives. Our way of life and how we are allowed to go about our daily routines can change by the hour and that sort of thing creates a lot of uncertainty for us, especially as small business owners,” Gauthier said. “While the grant we received isn’t a silver bullet solution to the financial impact of the pandemic, it is a huge help in the fight to stay open for our community and our team. It also provided a crucial bridge for us while we applied for PPP funds, which it looks like we will receive. We thank the MEDC and LEAP for considering and selecting Groovy Donuts for this grant. We look forward to a time when we can return to ‘normal.’ In the meantime, we’ll keep our doors open and make sure our staff and our valued customers are well taken care of.”

In addition to the $10 million in grant funds, the Michigan Strategic Fund also approved $10 million in loans through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program that are being referred to the MEDC from the local EDO partners. Those loan applications are currently being reviewed by a loan review committee including the Chief Business Development Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development Projects as referrals are made from local EDO partners. All loans made through the Michigan Small Business Relief Program will be approved through Michigan Strategic Fund delegated authority and announced as they are finalized.

“This grant means so much to our small, longtime family-owned business. With these funds, we will be able to afford our inventory and keep our employees paid,” said Bruno Gervasi, owner of Ralph’s Italian Deli in Ishpeming. “I am so grateful to the Lake Superior Community Partnership and the MEDC for making this possible during such a challenging time. This is a real difference-maker for us.”