Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Unemployment Insurance Claims Office photo

Claims for unemployment benefits continued to skyrocket in Michigan last week during the coronavirus pandemic, when 311,000 people filed initial applications — more than double from the previous week.

The number of applications shattered the previous high of 128,000, which was set the prior week. The weekly record for new claims had been 77,000 in January 2009, during the Great Recession, which hit the state especially hard.

The unemployment system has been deluged. The website went down Tuesday before being restored.

Novel coronavirus

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan is probably a month away from reaching the apex of the coronavirus outbreak that already has infected at least 9,300 people and contributed to the deaths of 337. She said Thursday that everyone must act as though we could be carrying the virus and stay home because just one person with it can infect another 40. The state's top health official says the trajectory of the spread of COVID-19 means there likely will be a need for additional field hospitals for Michigan patients beyond one being established at the TCF Center in Detroit.

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Michigan students will not return to K-12 school buildings the rest of the academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic but will learn remotely, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday.

All public and private schools are more than halfway through a four-week shutdown ordered by Whitmer to combat the outbreak.

She said face-to-face instruction will not resume this spring. Districts will create distance learning programs, with flexibility on how they do so — whether is is online or with printed materials sent to homes or some other option.

President Donald Trump portrait
White House

President Donald Trump's allies are trying to contain a politically risky election year fight with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as he struggles to navigate presidential politics during a global pandemic. Both sides have tried to de-escalate this week. Trump's supporters in particular sought to downplay tensions that ratcheted up after Trump called the Democratic governor "Gretchen 'Half' Whitmer" and charged she "doesn't have a clue" how to handle the health crisis. Whitmer has criticized the federal response to the pandemic.

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign an executive order this week with more details on the state’s plans for schools amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Schools have been closed since March 16th.

The closures keep one and a half million Michigan students at home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. But with no word on exactly when or if classes will resume. Whitmer says a final decision on whether to close schools for the year is complicated. She says every school district has different resources and different needs.

Michigan facing medical supply shortage

Mar 30, 2020
Novel coronavirus

Michigan is now the state with the third most cases of COVID-19—behind New York and New Jersey. The states’ top doctor says Michigan is weeks away from peak infection rates, and the state is already facing severe shortages of equipment and health workers.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan received 112,000 N95 masks from the national stockpile over the weekend, but it’s nowhere near enough.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, says Michigan is several weeks away from the highest number of cases and will need thousands more ventilators.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer portrait

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed onto a $150 million funding package to fight the coronavirus pandemic while vetoing $167 million she says should be saved as Michigan confronts likely plummeting tax revenues amid the pandemic's economic fallout. Just weeks ago, the Democratic governor and Republican-led Legislature agreed to additional mid-year spending to fund their priorities after a budget impasse last fall.

Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO of Spectrum Health, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and GVSU President Dr. Philomena Mantella photo

Area hospitals are preparing for a spike in COVID-19 cases in West Michigan coordinating with area partners adding hospital bed capacity.

Grand Rapids “Medical Mile” neighbors Spectrum Health and Grand Valley State University have been preparing for a public health crisis. A plan 10 years in the making.

Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Governor photo
Daniel Boothe

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued a statewide stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with an exemption for certain workers, outdoor exercise and trips to the grocery store or hospital. The order, which will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, will allow essential employees necessary to sustain and protect life to continue going to work. Businesses also can exempt workers needed to conduct minimum basic operations. Michigan has more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Nine deaths have been reported.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer portrait

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is backing Joe Biden for president days before the state's Democratic primary. Whitmer's endorsement gives the former vice president another boost after his Super Tuesday success. Whitmer had not planned to endorse a candidate but told The Associated Press on Thursday that Biden "showed up for the people of Michigan" when they needed him. Whitmer cites Biden's work with President Barack Obama to add health coverage for millions of people and to rescue from financial ruin two of the Detroit Three automakers, General Motors and Chrysler.