Category Archives: State & Region

MDHHS updates guidance on COVID-19 quarantine period based on new CDC findings


Posted by The Huron Hub
Friday, Dec. 4, 2020

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has updated guidance on COVID-19 quarantine periods based on scientific findings released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

The CDC presented findings describing options to reduce the required number of quarantine days for individuals with known exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case. The existing 14-day recommendation was based on earlier data that estimated the COVID-19 incubation period. At the national level, estimates of the COVID-19 incubation period have been refined based on a review of case data for hundreds of thousands of cases.

Data from that assessment indicates that 99% of all infections will develop within 10 days of exposure. While a 14-day quarantine period is still standard, under certain conditions the CDC has presented an option for reducing the quarantine period for exposed individuals to 10 days after exposure.

Based on the evaluation of the CDC information, MDHHS is updating guidance to allow modifications to the quarantine period for Michigan residents in specific situations. While the standard 14-day quarantine period remains, it can be reduced to 10 days if the following two conditions exist:

• The individual does not develop any symptoms or clinical evidence of COVID-19 infection during daily symptom monitoring for the 10 days after the last exposure.
• Daily symptom monitoring continues through day 14 after the last exposure.

“We are basing this recommendation on scientific data from CDC and offering the opportunity to reduce the quarantine period to 10 days in certain circumstances,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Public health officials can still require the 14-day period as this option most greatly mitigates the possibility of transmission. We strongly urge the continued use of masks, social distancing and hand washing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

With consideration for existing and potential limitations on the availability of testing resources and concerns of increased turnaround time for lab results, MDHHS is currently reviewing options for further reduction of quarantine periods based on diagnostic testing results. MDHHS guidance may be updated at a later date based on that review.

Article source: state of Michigan


Officials urge Michigan residents not to panic buy during ongoing pandemic

(Photo/Wesley Tingey/Unsplash.com)


Posted by Scott Bolthouse
The Huron Hub
Nov. 24, 2020

Michigan officials are urging residents not to panic buy during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Supply chain officials are responding to recent reports that consumers are buying larger quantities than necessary at stores.

Panic buying, especially items like toilette paper and sanitizing products, is on the rise in the U.S., according to a Nov. 20 report from Reuters.

“Michigan has an ample supply of food products and other items. But, when shoppers panic buy products like toilet paper, paper towel and other items, it creates a ripple effect within the supply chain,” said Gary McDowell, director of Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Buying what your household will use for the week keeps the supply chain moving, ensures everyone has access to what they need and allows the stores to replenish shelves for your next shopping trip.”

According to McDowell, COVID-19 has changed everything about how people come together, especially with the holidays right around the corner.

“The impact of this pandemic has not been easy, and it is not over as we see rampant community spread,” he added. “One thing we can all do to help each other during this time is buying only what you need. This ensures your friends and neighbors have access to food and other necessary products during this pandemic.”

Signaling evidence of consumers starting to panic shop at levels first seen during the early months of the pandemic, William Hallan, CEO and president of Michigan Retailers Association, urges Michiganders to limit purchases to a week’s worth of supply.

“Retailers across the state continue to work hard to restore and maintain product levels in stores to meet the demand in communities,” said Hallan. “Consumers need to know that stores, particularly grocery stores, will remain open. Consumers should plan for essentials in weekly increments to ensure that supply levels remain steady over the next few weeks. As retailers continue to do their part to keep retail environments safe to shop, we are asking consumers to do their part by limiting quantities to ensure there is enough for everyone.”

If consumers are leery about shopping in person, Hallan encourages consumers to consider using services like curbside pick-up and home delivery.

Meijer, which has 120 Supercenters and grocery stores throughout the State of Michigan, continues to focus on keeping ample supply for its customers.

“Our goal is to have everything our customers need, and our supply chain and store teams are working very hard to keep our shelves stocked during these busy times,” said Todd Weer, senior vice president of Meijer stores. “As long as shoppers buy the number of items they normally would, then everyone should be able to check off the items on their grocery list when they visit the store.”


 

Romulus Fire Department donates 1,500 cloth masks to churches

The Romulus Fire Department, with support from the Romulus Ministerial Alliance, delivered 1,500 cloth masks to four churches in the city of Romulus over the weekend. (Photos courtesy city of Romulus)

Posted by Scott Bolthouse
The Huron Hub
Nov. 23, 2020

The Romulus Fire Department, with support from the Romulus Ministerial Alliance, delivered 1,500 cloth masks to four churches in the city of Romulus over the weekend.

In addition, the fire department plans to distribute 2,500 masks to Romulus’ ministerial community, for a total of 4,000 masks.

The Romulus Fire Department participates in the “Mask Up, Michigan” campaign as a community action agent, allowing the department the opportunity to provide free masks to the community.

In August, the fire department acquired 3,000 cloth masks and delivered throughout the community to senior centers, the Romulus Public Library and City Hall.


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Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Metroparks announce multi-year partnership at Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and Huron-Clinton Metroparks announced Nov. 12 a multi-year partnership that focuses on widening access to new programs and recreation for city and suburban families. Seen here is a rendering of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park along the Detroit Riverfront, which is slated for 2023. (Image courtesy of detroitriverfront.org)


Posted by Scott Bolthouse
The Huron Hub
Nov. 18, 2020

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and Huron-Clinton Metroparks announced Nov. 12 a multi-year partnership that focuses on widening access to new programs and recreation for city and suburban families, and leverages the world-class parks, greenways and public spaces managed by the two organizations.

Through the partnership, Metroparks will establish a physical presence in Detroit and contribute $6 million over seven years to the Conservancy for expanded programs and operations at the future Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park on the West Riverfront.

The Huron-Clinton Metroparks Board of Commissioners approved the partnership agreement which will begin immediately with two years of combined robust programming and joint outreach efforts leading up to the opening of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park along the Detroit Riverfront, which is slated for 2023. Once the park is open, the agreement includes another five full years of partnership that leverages the strengths of each organization.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to expand our collaboration with such a great organization like the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, build more relationships within the city and with all those who call it home, and have the opportunity to contribute in one small way to the dynamic energy and spirit that are the essence of Detroit,” said Amy McMillan, Director of Huron-Clinton Metroparks. “This partnership will allow us to build upon our commitment of providing exceptional recreation and educational opportunities and better, more equitably serve the city, its neighborhoods and surrounding communities, all while complementing the world-class ring of 13 regional parks in southeast Michigan.”

“We are excited by the opportunities of growing our partnership with Huron-Clinton Metroparks,” said Mark Wallace, President and CEO, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. “The ecosystem of parks and public space becomes stronger when we work together in partnerships like this one. We can do more and serve more people by embracing a truly regional perspective and leveraging our shared commitment to equity and diversity in recreation.”

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Centennial Park is one of the most significant projects on the horizon for the Conservancy and a major step forward in completing its goal of developing 5.5 miles of revitalized riverfront. It will dramatically change the landscape along the downtown riverfront, and it is expected to significantly boost economic benefit in the area as well. The 22-acre park will feature a water component, Sport House with basketball courts, the Delta Dental Play Garden with an array of animal structures for kids to climb in and around and a large lawn that will be used for special events and programming.

The organizations first began working together in 2015 with programs at special events along the riverfront that educated thousands of Detroiters on wildlife and the outdoors. Teams for each organization are working to finalize details on future programs starting as early as 2021. One of the most ambitious goals is to develop a swimming program to teach Detroiters how to swim. Currently, 70 percent of Detroit children do not know how to swim.

Metroparks and the Conservancy are both reporting significant increases of visitors during 2020. The Detroit Riverfront attracts 3.5 million visitors annually and has remained open every day during the coronavirus pandemic. Since March, use of the Detroit Riverwalk has increased 20 percent and Dequindre Cut usage has increased by 40 percent. During the first decade of the riverfront revitalization project, more than $1 billion in public and private investment has occurred. To date, the Conservancy has invested more than $169 million in the revitalization of the Detroit Riverfront.

Metroparks attracts 5.6 million visitors to its 13 parks comprising 25,000 acres annually and a recent study by the Trust for Public Land found the Metroparks generate more than $90 million in direct visitor spending as well as millions more in other economic, environmental and health benefits each year across the five counties and hundreds of communities it serves – even before the pandemic hit. Since COVID-19 first hit, the Metroparks has reported a 28 percent increase in attendance and remained open, but with precautions and capacity monitoring in place. Both organizations have found that during the pandemic access to nature and public spaces are more important than ever for the physical and mental health of our communities.

The partnership also aims to spur better outcomes for health and wellness through expanded exposure to the outdoors both in the city and the surrounding five counties.


 

Here is a breakdown of the new coronavirus restrictions announced Sunday

Here is a breakdown of the new coronavirus restrictions announced Sunday:

Posted by The Huron Hub

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a new emergency order today that enacts a three-week pause targeting indoor social gatherings and other group activities in an effort to curb rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates.Under this order, indoor residential gatherings are limited to two households at any one time. However, MDHHS strongly urges families to pick a single other household to interact with over the next three weeks, consistent with new guidance released by the department. The order is aimed at limiting residential and non-residential gatherings where COVID-19 spreads rapidly. Bars and restaurants will be open for outdoor dining, carry-out and delivery only. Gyms will remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place. Casinos, movie theaters and group exercise classes will be closed. Professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation may continue without spectators, however all other organized sports must stop. Colleges and high schools may proceed with remote learning, but must end in-person classes.

Today’s order, which takes effect Wednesday, Nov. 18, is not a blanket stay-home action like in the spring. The order leaves open work that cannot be performed from home, including for manufacturing, construction and health occupations. Outdoor gatherings, outdoor dining and parks remain open. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks are still allowed: retail shopping; public transit; restaurant takeout; personal-care services such as haircuts, by appointment; and individualized exercise at a gym, with extra spacing between machines

Posted Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020 — 6:15 p.m.


Whitmer to host 6 p.m. press conference on Michigan coronavirus response

Posted by The Huron Hub 

Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020 — 2:40 p.m. EST

Governor Whitmer, MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, and MDHHS Director Robert Gordon will provide an update regarding COVID-19 and make an announcement regarding “the continued efforts to slow the spread of the virus” a statement said.

The press conference is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will likely be aired by all major news networks as well as streamed on the governor’s Facebook page.

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Whitmer is expected to announce new coronavirus restrictions.


Wayne County offers COVID-19 tests, flu shots at weekend drive-thru sites

Posted Nov. 11, 2020

To help safeguard residents from COVID-19 and the flu during the Holiday months, Wayne County will now offer flu vaccine in addition to its continued weekend drive-thru COVID-19 testing. The remaining drive-thru testing sites, coordinated through the Wayne County Public Health Division, has been a pro-active point of service for Wayne County residents during the pandemic; with the addition of flu shots, more residents can get all basis covered in one stop.

“To push back the combined health risk of COVID-19 and the Flu, our Public Health Division has ramped up its response to provide additional opportunities to safeguard the health of our residents and reduce spread of COVID-19.” said Wayne County Executive, Warren C. Evans.

The upcoming Weekend Drive-Thru sites include:

· INKSTER, November 14 and 15, 10 am – 3 pm, Dozier Recreation Center, 2025 Middlebelt Road

· WOODHAVEN, November 21 and 22, 10 am – 3 pm, Woodhaven Recreation Center, 23101 Hall Road

· HARPER WOODS, December 5 and 6, 10 am – 3 pm, Harper Woods High School, 20225 Beaconsfield Street

The free COVID-19 testing offered at the drive-thru sites offer a minimal-contact experience with diagnostic, nasal swabs administered with individuals remaining in the vehicle. The sites are open to all residents over the age of five-years of age for COVID-19 testing and over two-years of age for the flu shot. Minors must be accompanied by a guardian. No pre-registration is needed to receive testing. Also, no insurance or doctor’s order is required.

This COVID-19 testing plan serves as a complement to the weekday testing hosted by Garden City Hospital. This test site has been open and operational since early June. The testing hours are Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 2:30 PM.

“We are stepping up to prevent spread of COVID-19 and Flu during the holiday months with enhanced drive-thru offerings,” said Wayne County Public Health Officer, Carol Austerberry. “We also will provide recommendations to celebrate Thanksgiving safely.”

“Both COVID-19 and Flu have similar symptoms, so if you must gather, please wear your masks and socially distance to keep safe from both flu and COVID-19.” said Austerberry.

For more information residents can call 734-287-7870, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM or 2-1-1 for information 24-hour, 7-days a week or by visiting the COVID-19 information page at http://www.waynecounty.com/covid19.


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Pedestrians more at risk of serious injury from motor vehicle crash in weeks following return to standard time


MDOT reminds motorists to be alert as clocks “fall back” on Sunday 

By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Published Oct. 30, 2020

Sunday marks the return to standard time, or known popularly as “falling back” an hour on the clock.

While many will enjoy an extra hour of sleep, MDOT is reminding drivers that it can be a dangerous time on the roadways.

Research from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute says that pedestrians are more at risk of serious injury from a motor vehicle crash in the weeks following a return to standard time.

The most dangerous time is the first hour of darkness.

“Drivers need to realize that after the time change it may be more challenging to see people walking, running, or bicycling as they will be much less noticeable,” said State Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba. “To ensure visibility, pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists are encouraged to wear brighter-colored clothing with reflective material. Drivers need to eliminate distractions, slow down, and focus fully on the task of driving.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic crashes in 2018 resulted in the deaths of 6,283 pedestrians and 857 pedalcyclists (bicyclists and riders of two-wheel, nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals). Unfortunately, these incidents increased by 3.4 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively, from the previous year.

Most pedestrian fatalities (76 percent) and pedalcyclist fatalities (50 percent) occurred during dark conditions between 6 p.m. and 8:59 p.m.


Study says Huron-Clinton Metroparks generates more than $90 million in visitor spending annually

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Redbud trees in full bloom at Lower Huron Metropark in this May 14, 2020 photo. A recent study shows that the Metroparks system plays a critical role in generating significant economic, health and environmental benefits and enhancing quality of life before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Scott Bolthouse — The Huron Hub)


Posted by Scott Bolthouse
The Huron Hub
Oct. 14, 2020

The 13 parks in the Huron-Clinton Metroparks system in Southeast Michigan generate more than $90 million in direct visitor spending each year, a new study by the Trust for Public Land (TPL) says.

In addition, millions more in other economic, environmental and health benefits are felt each year across the five counties and hundreds of communities the parks system serves.

The TPL study is the first study the organization has completed in Michigan.

TPL emphasized the value that the public lands and outdoor recreation activities hold during times like the coronavirus pandemic that crippled the state in Spring and early summer.

“We’ve seen people flock to outdoor spaces during the pandemic and we can all agree the substantial benefit that has provided just this year alone. This report helped us understand and quantify just how much these amenities, and access to them, benefit and matter to our communities and residents, now more than ever. The parks have incredible power to help improve our health and wellbeing and safely connect us with nature and each other, as well as bolster our local and regional economies,” said Amy McMillan, Director of the Metroparks, which commissioned the study. “We’re committed to doing everything we can to protect, preserve and enhance this regional treasure.”

TPL researchers and economists found that the Metroparks provides seven categories of major economic benefit throughout Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties. All were calculated using the most recent data and conservative methods available to ensure the most reliable report. These categories are:

  • Generating substantial recreational value
  • Enhancing property values
  • Boosting economic development
  • Providing healthcare cost savings
  • Attracting and retaining visitors/tourists and talent
  • Reducing stormwater management costs
  • Improving air quality

According to Jennifer Plowden, a senior conservation economist at The Trust for Public Land and the report’s lead author: “Our research unequivocally shows that the Huron-Clinton Metroparks are strong, smart investments, which provide significant returns to local residents, communities and businesses throughout the region. We hope that this demonstration of the enormous value of parks will encourage health advocates, business leaders and policy makers to continue to support their parks.”

Plowden pointed to the following key economic impact findings of the Metroparks study:

  • $92.4 million. The amount of annual direct spending by visitors to Metroparks in local communities and the tourism economy. Beyond being home to the parks, trails, facilities and programming that attracts visitors, the system hosts a variety of events, including fireworks shows, national fishing tournaments, marathons, farm festivals, outdoor concerts, and more.
  • $68 million. The overall amount nearby residential property values are raised, providing value to local homeowners.
  • $62.3 million. The Metroparks value of recreation ($32 million) and health benefits ($30.3 million) to residents annually. Popular activities include picnicking, visiting with family and friends, visiting playgrounds and beaches, walking, hiking, biking, paddling, taking photos, and observing wildlife.
  • $1,250. The health care savings each year of an average adult by being physically active in the park system. Those savings are doubled for those 65 and older.
  • $30.3 million. The amount of savings to the community due to Metroparks reducing storm water and contaminated runoff.
  • $2.25 million. The amount air pollution costs are lowered annually due to trees and vegetation in Metroparks.
  • $678 million. The total sales generated by 272 sporting goods stores in the region. This spending on recreation equipment, which is supported by but not exclusive to Metroparks, helps provide industry specific jobs (3,180 employees) and propel economic impact and development.

The Trust for Public Land has measured the economic benefits of parks and trails across the country, from Los Angeles, California and Colorado Springs, Colorado to the Metroparks Toledo, Ohio most recently.

The report as well as an infographic summary can be downloaded at http://www.tpl.org/economic-benefits-hcma or http://www.metroparks.com/EconomicBenefits.


Whitmer signs bipartisan “Clean Slate” criminal justice reform bills


Posted by The Huron Hub 
Oct. 12, 2020

Governor Whitmer today signed bipartisan House Bills 4980-4985 and 5120 reforming Michigan’s criminal expungement laws making it easier for people who have committed certain felonies and misdemeanors to have their record expunged. Changes in the bills include allowing a person to set aside one or more marijuana offenses if the offense would not have been a crime if committed after December 6, 2018  when recreational marijuana use by adults became legal in the state,  due to the referendum that voters approved to legalize marijuana in 2018. During her 2018 campaign for governor, Governor Whitmer made expungement for marijuana convictions one of her key priorities, and today she is following through on that promise.

“This is a historic day in Michigan. These bipartisan bills are a game changer for people who are seeking opportunities for employment, housing, and more, and they will help ensure a clean slate for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders,” said Governor Whitmer. “This is also an opportunity to grow our workforce and expand access to job training and education for so many people. I am proud to sign these bills today alongside Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist and many of the bipartisan leaders who worked on them.”

Research conducted by the University of Michigan law school, which was recently published by the Harvard Law Review, found that people who receive expungements see a 23% increase in income within a year. This means more resources for families and communities, and a broader tax base, without any negative impact on public safety.   

The changes proposed by House Bills 4980-4985 and 5120 include the following:

  • Creates an automatic process for setting aside eligible misdemeanors after seven years and eligible non-assaultive felonies after 10 years.
  • Expands the number and revises the types of felonies and misdemeanors eligible to be set aside by application.
  • Revises the waiting periods before being eligible to apply.
  • Treat multiple felonies or misdemeanor offenses arising from the same transaction as a single felony or misdemeanor conviction, provided the offenses happened within 24 hours of one another and are not assaultive crimes, or involves possession or use of a dangerous weapon, or is a crime that carries penalty of 10 or more years in prison.
  • Expands expungement eligibility to various traffic offenses
  • Allow a person to petition to set aside one or more marijuana offenses if the offense would not have been a crime if committed after the use of recreational marijuana by adults became legal in the state.

“Thousands of Detroiters who want to work and be a part of Detroit’s comeback have been held back for too long because of mistakes they’ve made in their past,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Thanks to the Governor and our state legislators, more than 80,000 more Detroiters now will be eligible to have those past mistakes removed from their record and a chance at a new start. Detroit’s Project Clean Slate has helped hundreds of people get their records expunged already. It’s free, helps clients through the entire process and connects them to opportunities through Detroit At Work.”

Governor Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist have worked to enact criminal justice reforms since the day they took office, the governor says.

In April of 2019, Governor Whitmer created the bipartisan Michigan Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist and Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack, which  reviewed the state’s jail and court data to expand alternatives to jail, safely reduce jail admissions and length of stay, and improve the effectiveness of the front end of Michigan’s justice system. The task force has produced a report and made recommendations.

In May of 2019, Governor Whitmer signed into law, bipartisan bills reforming “Civil Asset Forfeiture,” limiting and in some cases ending the ability  of law enforcement agencies to seize a person’s property before that person has been judged and convicted. Additionally,  Governor Whitmer signed “Raise the Age” into law which was an 18-bill package that increased  the age of who is legally considered a juvenile or an adult in the criminal justice system from 17 to 18 years old With the passage of “Raise the Age,” Michigan joined 46 other states in ending the unjust practice of charging and punishing children as adults when they make mistakes.