Preliminary Audit Results Find 800 Michigan Unreported COVID-19 Deaths

Preliminary results from Auditor Doug Ringler’s analysis  of Michigan’s long-term care facility COVID-19 death data found about 800 additional confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths than the state initially counted overall statewide between Jan. 1, 2020, and July 3, 2021. 

Ringler responded to a request from the Oversight Committee to investigate the accuracy of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ (MDHHS) COVID-19 death data in long-term care facilities. The request followed questions about the accuracy of MDHHS COVID-19 death data.

Ringler told Johnson he used death certificate information from the Electronic Death Record System and COVID-19 case and death data from the Michigan Disease Surveillance System (MDSS). The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services counts total COVID-19 deaths on their pandemic website using data from MDSS.

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Michigan Changes COVID-19 Guidance for School Children

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Wednesday released new COVID-19 guidelines for students in public schools. 

The guidelines are not mandatory, and schools may choose whether to follow them. 

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Whitmer Vetoes Bill Exempting High Schools from Capacity Limits at Graduation

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) will not allow full capacity at high school graduation ceremonies this year, despite rapidly declining COVID-19 cases and deaths nationwide. 

Thursday, she vetoed legislation that would have exempted high schools from the state’s 50 percent capacity limit on indoor gatherings, according to Detroit News.

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Whitmer Orders Two-Year-Olds to Wear Masks

As COVID-19 cases surge in Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) is expanding her mask mandate order to include toddlers.

“The mask requirement previously exempted children younger than the age of 5. Expanding the mask rule to children ages 2 to 4 also requires ‘a good faith effort to ensure that these children wear masks while in gatherings at childcare facilities or camps,'” according to The Detroit News.

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House Committee Subpoenas Former MDHHS Director over Secret Settlement

The saga over the departure and confidential settlement agreement between Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and the former head of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) continued Thursday. 

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Steve Johnson (R-MI-72) announced in a press release that his committee has subpoenaed former MDHHS Director Robert Gordon, who received a $155,000 severance package from the state and signed a non-disclosure agreement after he left his post under murky circumstances late February. 

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Whitmer Makes Excuses as COVID Cases in Michigan Keep Soaring

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) appeared Sunday on NBC’s’ “Meet the Press” to make excuses about why cases of COVID-19 in Michigan are soaring while they decline across most of the rest of the country. 

“We’re now in a much different position,” Whitmer said. “On top of that, in the waning months, I have been sued by my Legislature. I have lost in a Republican-controlled Supreme Court. And I don’t have all of the exact same tools.”

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Michigan: ‘Strongest Public Health Order in the Midwest’ Now Requires Masks for 2-Year-Olds

The Michigan state government this week directed state residents as young as two years old to begin wearing masks in the hopes that doing so will help bring down the state’s coronavirus numbers.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said in a press release on Friday that the state will expand its COVID-19 response — what the state DHHS calls “the strongest public health order in the Midwest” — to apply its masking requirement “to children ages 2 to 4” in order to “further protect the state’s residents.”

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Whitmer Vetoes Bill That Would Have Curbed Agency’s Emergency Powers

Embattled Michigan Gov. Gretchen Wilson (D), facing scrutiny for secret deals made with departing state employees and her COVID-19 nursing home policies, vetoed a bill that would have limited the executive power of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

Senate Bill 1 would have capped emergency pandemic orders by MDHHS at 28 days, causing them to automically expire unless they were ectended by the legislature. But Whitmer, who was long ago stripped of her emergency pandemic powers by the Michigan Supreme Court, veteod the bill, ensuring that her executive branch has unfettered power to give mandate emergency orders. 

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Whitmer Executive Order Says Secret Severance Pay Packages for State Employees Can Continue

In defiance of calls for transparency from state lawmakers, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, is doubling down on the state’s policy of providing secretive severance packages to state officials.

In an executive directive, Whitmer states that agreements and payments can be used for a variety of purposes:

Separation agreements are used for many purposes, including to define the terms of employment during a period of transition; to secure the return of state property; and to mitigate legal exposure and potential costs to taxpayers through a release of claims against the state. (emphasis added)

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Michigan Republican House Rep Calls for Transparency in Former MDHHS Separation Deal

A Republican member of the state House of Representatives is calling for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to reveal to the public the agreement it had with former director Robert Gordon, who abruptly resigned on February 22. 

“I am calling on the Department today to release to the public the separation agreement between Governor [Gretchen] Whitmer’s administration and former MDHHS Director Robert Gordon as well as any other similar agreements made with other public officials,” state Rep. Steve Johnson (R-MI-72) said in Tuesday letter to MDHHS. 

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Entertainment Venues File Federal Takings Lawsuit Against Michigan Over 212-Day Shutdown

(The Center Square) – For the past 83 years, Peter Tomassoni’s family has run Recreation Lanes and the Antoin Room Banquet and Convention Center in Iron Mountain.

Less than one year under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, however, it could die, through no fault of the family.

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Governor Coy on if She Will Extend ‘Pause’ After Next Week

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday addressed an interim report on the Michigan COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities, but would not provide a direct answer to the question of whether she would extend the three-week pause on economic activity in the state.

More than two weeks after imposing a second lockdown of Michigan’s indoor dining facilities, theaters and bowling alleys, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services-imposed pause is due to expire next week.

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Fact-Checkers Rate Viral Video Alleging Whitmer Used Health Officials to Block Poll Challengers As ‘Partly False’

Fact-checkers have ruled a viral video “partly false” after it alleged that Governor Gretchen Whitmer sent health officials to bar poll challengers. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) was present during ballot counting at TCF Center on Wednesday.

It is reported that Whitmer sent MDHHS because the 40,000 square foot building was at capacity for COVID-19 restrictions. In the video, the woman stood alone on the second floor of the building. On camera, MDHHS officials were removing and barring entry to poll challengers.

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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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