Coronavirus / Covid-19

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According to the Muskegon County Health Department, vaccine hesitancy is continuing to be a problem, as many still refuse to get the shot. Officials say that the county is no where near meeting President Joe Biden’s goal of having at least 70% of residents at least partially vaccinated by the Fourth of July holiday, despite the fact that those reluctant to get the shot are extremely vulnerable to the new Delta variant of the coronavirus which is emerging out of India.

Kathy Moore is Muskegon County’s Public Health Officer.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services logo
michiganhhs / michiganhhs

Michigan’s top health official said Thursday that nursing homes are accurately reporting the number of coronavirus-related deaths, amid questions over whether the tally is low.

Health care professional tests person staying at Mel Trotter's Ministries for coronavirus
Mercy Health Saint Mary's

Michigan crossed a threshold in the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday with a lifting of certain restrictions at outdoor events and inside bars and restaurants.

Masks no longer are required outdoors, and capacity limits are extinguished at outdoor sports events and concerts.

Restaurants and bars can operate indoors at 50% capacity and can stay open past 11 p.m. There’s no limit on the number of people at one table. Full capacity returns on July 1.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine distribution photo
Jake May/The Flint Journal / Associated Press

Michigan Republicans have advanced a bill that would prohibit state and local health officials from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for children under age 18. They also are poised to vote to ban governments from mandating vaccine passports. Neither concept is under consideration in the state. But GOP lawmakers say they want to be proactive. Democrats call the bill needless and note that if the COVID-19 vaccine was added to the list of immunizations children must have to attend school, Michigan allows for exemptions.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File

Moderna said Tuesday its COVID-19 vaccine strongly protects kids as young as 12, a step that could put the shot on track to become the second option for that age group in the U.S.

With global vaccine supplies still tight, much of the world is struggling to vaccinate adults in the quest to end the pandemic. But earlier this month, the U.S. and Canada authorized another vaccine — the shot made by Pfizer and BioNTech — to be used starting at age 12.

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration on Monday loosened COVID-19 workplace safety rules so fully vaccinated employees can go without a mask and disregard distancing requirements.

Industry-specific regulations were rescinded. Restaurants and bars, for instance, can reopen pool tables and dance floors. Cleaning standards were softened.

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Michigan's health department will urge schools to continue making students, teachers and other staff wear masks for the rest of the academic year even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Spokesman Bob Wheaton says the pending recommendation could be issued later Wednesday. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration recently lifted a mask mandate for people who are outdoors - regardless of their vaccination status - and exempted those who are fully vaccinated from an indoor mask requirement. Wheaton says the forthcoming state guidance will "keep students and families safe."

Randell Jones receives Pfizer vaccine at DeVos Place photo
Patrick Center / WGVU.org

Kent County’s goal for reaching herd immunity is vaccinating 362,000 residents age 16 and older.

“Right now, we’re at about 50% of total population in that 16+ age group who’s been fully vaccinated. So, we definitely have a long way to go to reach that 70%.”

Brian Hartl is supervising epidemiologist with the Kent County Health Department.

“We’re definitely seeing a fall-off in the numbers of people entering the vaccination process. We’re still administering quite a few vaccines each day, about 4,500.”

Novel coronavirus graphic
PBS

A records review has added 91 previous deaths to Michigan’s COVID-19 pandemic total, state health officials said Saturday.

The state Department of Health and Human Services also reported 16 new coronavirus deaths, pushing the statewide toll to 18,607.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, April 12, 2021 photo
Lon Horwedel/Detroit News / Associated Press

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s private round trip to Florida to see her ailing father was paid for from a fund that’s used for travel not covered by tax dollars, her chief of staff said Friday.

The cost was $27,521, with Whitmer personally paying $855 of that amount, according to the Michigan Transition 2019 website, which lists donations and expenses. The nonprofit was initially formed for inauguration events. The lack of details has dogged Whitmer since the March trip was revealed in April.

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michiganhhs / michiganhhs

People in Michigan who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 don’t need to wear a mask any longer, and people who aren’t vaccinated don’t have to wear one outdoors, officials said Friday, also declaring that the state’s indoor mask requirement will expire in July.

The announcement from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state health department came a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people.

Michigan’s revised order will take effect at 9 a.m. Saturday.

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michiganhhs / michiganhhs

A state Senate committee has issued a subpoena to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for documents related to its COVID-19 response.

Specifically, the Senate Oversight Committee wants documents dealing with the management of COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes and other congregate care facilities.

Senator Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) is the committee chair. McBroom said he’s frustrated with foot-dragging to get documents he requested two month ago.

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