Whitmer Could Extend Michigan Stay-at-Home Order

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said that she expects to extend the stay-at-home order originally expected to end April 14.

Whitmer originally instituted the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order on March 24, saying that the stay-at-home order would stay in effect for the three weeks. Just days before, on March 22, Whitmer had also ordered that “public accommodation” like bars, theaters and gyms to close, as well as restricted restaurants to take-out or delivery only. That order is slated to end on April 13.

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Emergency Order Accelerates Notification to the State of Coronavirus Deaths in Michigan

An emergency order was issued late Saturday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) that shortens the length of time coroner and funeral staff have to notify state officials when someone dies of COVID-19 to 24 hours.

“MDHHS is committed to protecting the public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why I am issuing this emergency order,” MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said said in a statement.

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Michigan National Guard Prepares COVID-19 Response at TCF Center

The Michigan National Guard is helping Detroit prepare additional space to care for COVID-19 patients.

About 20 members of the Michigan National Guard will help the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) form a Federal Medical Station (FMS) at TCF Center in Detroit from Tuesday through today.

Those members will manage inventory to prepare for the care of those with COVID-19.

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Michigan Lawmaker Asks Governor to Allow Some Businesses to Reopen If They Adhere to Social Distancing Guidelines

State Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona) asked Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to allow some nonessential businesses to reopen if they follow social distancing guidelines.

Cole sent a letter to Whitmer on Monday, claiming her stay-at-home order hurt small businesses, including those in the construction and landscaping industry. Both of those industries, said Cole, allowed workers to work safely while staying apart from each other.

“I certainly understand where our governor is coming from. Public safety must always be the main priority,” Cole said in a statement. “However, keeping people employed and businesses operating must also be a priority.”

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CARES Act Extends Michigan’s Unemployment Benefits to Self-Employed, Independent Contractors, and More

The state and the U.S. Department of Labor agreed to expand unemployment benefits to Michigan workers who previously didn’t qualify.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the agreement Monday. The benefits extension will be funded by the $2 trillion federal CARES Act President Donald Trump signed into law on Friday.

The extension includes self-employed, 1099-independent contractors, gig, and low-wage workers who can no longer work because of temporary business closures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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Michigan Has Third-Highest Rate of Infection in Country at 35.3 Percent

Michigan is keeping pace with some of the most-infected states in the country, with more than 35 percent of tests coming back with confirmed positive cases of the coronavirus, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

As of Monday evening, Michigan has 6,498 confirmed positive cases out of 18,391 total tested — an infection rate of 35.3 percent. By comparison, New Jersey has an infection rate of 39.7 percent with 16,636 confirmed cases and New York has an infection rate of 35.7 percent with 66,497 confirmed cases. New York and New Jersey are the top two most-infected states in the country, followed by Michigan. California is currently the fourth most-infected state with 6,447 confirmed cases and an infection rate of 21.5 percent.

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Gov. Whitmer Suspends Michigan Water Shut-Offs

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order to reconnect residents’ water services that had been shut off.

The governor signed the $2 million Water Restart Grant Program on Saturday. The suspension of the public utility shut-offs were mandated effective immediately.

“This is a critical step both for the health of families living without a reliable water source, and for slowing the spread of the Coronavirus,” Whitmer said in a statement. “We continue to work to provide all Michiganders – regardless of their geography or income level – the tools they need to keep themselves and their communities protected.”

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Trump Admin Plans to Identify COVID-19 Hotspots So Low-Risk Areas Can Reopen

President Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration is working on a county-level approach to the coronavirus that will enable the government to identify hotspots across the nation.

Doing so will allow social distancing measures to be relaxed or tightened based on the number of confirmed cases in each county, Trump said in a letter sent Thursday to the nation’s governors.

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Commentary: Coronavirus Exposes Just How Antiquated and Unworkable the Michigan Education System Really Is

The coronavirus has thrown our entire society in disarray, and no less poignant an example exists than our K-12 public schools. The closure of schools across the country has stopped the normal learning process dead in its tracks.  In a valiant attempt to continue, many districts have sought to leverage long distance learning. Unfortunately, weaknesses in the law, technological infrastructure, and teacher preparation, as well as inequities among students, are barriers to success. For example, the Michigan Department of Education has announced that under the law, virtual learning will not count for funding purposes as “seat time.”

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Michigan’s Gov. Whitmer Asks Trump for Major Disaster Declaration

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has submitted a request to President Trump to ask him for a major disaster declaration, which would allow the state to aid its residents in a variety of ways.

If granted in full, the declaration would allow the state to provide meals for families in need, rental assistance and temporary housing, as well as funding for field hospitals and mental health support.

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Michigan Unemployment Claims Reach Record High

The economic fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic includes massive unemployment caused by government-mandated shutdowns of businesses throughout Michigan.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reported 129,298 Michigan employees filed unemployment claims last week. Government figures indicate that number has increased from nearly 5,338 people filing unemployment claims reported March 14, a difference of more than 123,960.

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Whitmer Extends Canvassing Deadline for Michigan Primary

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the deadline to tally the votes from the Michigan primary by executive order on Wednesday due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state.

The canvassing deadline for the March 10 primary was originally March 24, according to a guideline from the state of Michigan. Whitmer’s order has pushed it back to April 24.

“I am grateful to Governor Whitmer for ensuring our democracy will remain robust during this public health crisis,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson in a statement. “Providing more time to canvass the recent election will provide certainty for Michiganders that our elections are accurate and worth everyone participating in.”

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CVS Will Hire 50,000 Workers, Company Announces

CVS Health plans on hiring 50,000 employees to fill full-time, part-time and temporary positions as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the United States, the company announced on Monday.

Available roles include store associates, home delivery drivers, distribution center employees and customer service employees. CVS said many roles will be filled by employees from current CVS Health clients that have had to furlough workers, such as Hilton and Marriott.

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Whitmer Orders ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ Lockdown for Three Weeks

Michigan residents have been ordered to stay inside their homes as part of a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Monday.

The order, effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 24, prohibits people leaving their home unless they are engaged in an outdoor activity, performing necessary tasks like going to a hospital or grocery store, or are part of an industry deemed essential. The lockdown will be in place for three weeks.

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Connecticut Relents, Orders All Labs to Report Negative Coronavirus Test Results, Leaving Ohio One of Two States to Fail to Comply With Federal Law

The State of Connecticut has gotten on board with the CDC to report negative test results to help the agency better track the spread of the coronavirus, leaving Ohio and Maryland as the only holdouts in complying with federal law.

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Is the Ohio Department of Health Refusing to Release Coronavirus Test Data to Conceal Lower Than National Average Percentage of Positive Tests?

  During the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Amy Acton have taken a number of actions, some controversial, designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Just in the last ten days, DeWine has closed bars and schools, postponed primaries and banned mass gatherings.…

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Whitmer Suspends Parts of Open Meeting Act, Faces Pushback

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order temporarily suspending parts of the Open Meetings Act (OMA), so public groups can meet electronically through April 15.

“We are taking every measure we can to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and protect Michigan families, but recognize that public bodies still have an obligation to conduct business as usual,” Whitmer said in a news release.

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Whitmer Orders All Bars, Restaurants, Theaters and More to Close

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a sweeping executive order Monday that orders the closure of several public places in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Under the executive order, the following places of public accommodation were required to close: restaurants, cafes, coffee houses, bars, taverns, brewpubs, distilleries, clubs, movie theaters, indoor and outdoor performance venues, gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, spas, and casinos.

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Michigan Coronavirus Cases Up to 53

Michigan currently has 53 confirmed cases of the coronavirus after 20 more cases were recently confirmed, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced on Sunday.

The virus, identified by medical professionals as COVID-19, has been confirmed in seven different counties: Washtenaw County, Oakland County, Macomb County, Kent County, Wayne County, Ottawa County and St. Clair County. It has also been confirmed in the city of Detroit.

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Whitmer Expands Unemployment Benefits for Those Impacted by the Coronavirus

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued an executive order extending unemployment benefits for Michigan workers impacted by the spread of the coronavirus in the state.

Under the expanded eligibility, unemployment benefits are available to workers who are sick, quarantined or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid time off; workers who have “unanticipated family care responsibility” such as ill family or additional childcare responsibility due to school closures; and first responders who are ill or quarantined because of the coronavirus. The extended eligibility is in effect until April 14.

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