Coronavirus / Covid-19

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services logo
MI.gov

The Michigan health department is being sued over its refusal to release more information about COVID-19 deaths tied to nursing homes.

The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, which often takes aggressive action to get public records, filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of Detroit journalist Charlie LeDuff, who is seeking ages, dates of death and whether the person became ill at a long-term care facility.

The health department told LeDuff that the information is exempt under the state’s public records law.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Feb. 9, 2021 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed at least $2 billion in COVID-19 relief spending while vetoing $650 million after Republicans didn't negotiate with her and tied aid to legislation that would have curbed her administration's authority to order pandemic restrictions. Whitmer's move Tuesday is the latest in a dispute between the GOP-led Legislature and the Democratic governor over her pandemic response. Whitmer vetoed legislation that would have ceded the state health department's power to close schools and prohibit sports to local health departments.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun photo
Michigan Office of the Governor / Associated Press

The first known case of a new variant of the coronavirus has been reported in Michigan, in a boy living in Jackson County.

The B.1.351 strain, first detected in South Africa in December, is believed to be more infectious and is now in at least 20 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It shares some mutations with B.1.1.7, a more easily spread variant that was first identified in Britain late last year and was found in Michigan in January. It is in 47 states.

  

As the number of positive COVID-19 cases continues to drop in Ottawa County, health officials are urging the public to get educated on vaccine safety.

Health officials say the numbers have dropped now for seven weeks straight, and there now is a feeling of ‘cautious optimism’ among Ottawa County Public Health staff there is a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, as virtually all health care workers and residents over 65 have been vaccinated. At least, those who have wanted to be.

Kristina Wieghmink is Ottawa County’s Public Health Officer.

Michigan State University sign
MSU.edu

Michigan State University plans to offer in-person instruction in 75% of undergraduate classes in the fall, and spectators will be welcomed again at sports events and performing arts shows, the president said Friday.

“I am excited at the prospect of coming back together again, and I am greatly looking forward to seeing our vibrant community of students, faculty and staff fully engaged in on-campus life,” Samuel Stanley Jr. said in a letter.

Stanley encouraged staff and students to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they qualify.

Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration logo
MIOSHA twitter

Business groups are urging Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to let employers reopen their offices for in-person work during the coronavirus pandemic rather than extend a restriction set to expire in mid-April. In October, after a court ruling upended the Democratic governor's orders, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued six-month emergency rules to keep intact a requirement that employers prohibit in-person work to the extent that employees' activities can feasibly be completed remotely.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, January 22, 2021 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday announced the further loosening of Michigan’s coronavirus restrictions, easing capacity limits in restaurants and a host of other businesses while also allowing for larger indoor and outdoor gatherings.

The revised state health department order will take effect Friday and last through April 19.

Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing exterior photo
Patrick Center / wgvunews.org

The U.S. now has a third vaccine preventing COVID-19. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration over the weekend is manufactured in Grand Rapids.

“It’s great news for, you know, our country. Great news for the world. And it’s certainly great news for West Michigan.”

From its state-of-the-art Grand Rapids-based facility, Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing is filling the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Selected in August by Operation Warp Speed, the two were paired and a deal finalized in September.

Give Seniors A Say logo
leadingagemi.org

A not-for-profit representing 270 senior communities says its time the state of Michigan begins rolling back some of its COVID-19 visitation restrictions.

LeadingAge Michigan says the COVID-19 visitation restrictions imposed by the Michigan Department of health and Human Services exceed nursing home guidance issued by the federal government.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Feb. 9, 2021 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says her administration will announce the further loosening of Michigan's coronavirus restrictions in coming days. She did not elaborate much in a Wednesday news conference, in which she again pressed the Republican-controlled Legislature to pass a multibillion-dollar COVID-19 relief funding plan.

Empty classroom photo
wiki commons

More than 80% of Michigan school districts planned to offer some form of in-person instruction in February, a 20-plus point rise over the previous month amid a decline in the coronavirus’ spread.

Michigan State University’s Education Policy Innovation Colloborative said it was the largely monthly increase since the start of the academic year. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has strongly encouraged schools to provide a face-to-face option by March 1.

  

Muskegon County health officials say a resident has tested positive for the new, more contagious variant of COVID-19. The news comes from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, who earlier this week announced that nearly 70 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19, had been confirmed in Michigan, with the first known positive case in Muskegon County.

Kathy Moore is Muskegon County’s Public Health Officer. She says the news is cause for concern, but hope remains as well.

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