Guv reopens construction, jousts with solons over extension
By N3 News Team
During her Wednesday news conference Governor Whitmer stated she would sign an order Friday allowing both residential and commercial construction to resume beginning May 7th.
The Legislature is considering her request to extend the state of emergency, set to expire on Thursday, 4 more weeks to May 28th but there looks to be resistance from the Republican majority in the House and Senate who did not vote on the issue during session today.
“They are acting as though we are in the middle of a political problem," she said of Republicans critical of her orders during the coronavirus pandemic. "This is not a political problem we have. It’s a public health crisis.”
The Governor believes the extension is necessary because the coronavirus emergency remains but added her executive orders and emergency powers would not be affected if the Legislature doesn't approve the extension.
“As we reengage, we have to do so slowly. This is not a political conversation, this is not political negotiation, this is about the public health,” she said. “That’s precisely what these emergency powers are all about.”
The Governor recognized the strain her decisions have put on workers and small business owners, but said she is making decisions aimed at keeping people safe and getting the economy moving again.
"I am completely focused on saving lives. I'm not going to engage in political negotiations with anybody," Whitmer said. "We don't have time for politics and games when people's lives are on the line."
"I believe in science and the need to protect public health, however, I firmly believe that the preventative measures taken to slow the spread of this illness have gone too far and gone on for too long,” said 100th District State Representative Scott VanSingel. “This is not a partisan position or belief, rather, I have seen the economic devastation this shutdown has caused and believe that we need to reopen our economy as soon as possible while being conscious of best practices in regards to sanitation health.
“House and Senate leadership teams are working closely with the governor to arrive at a reasonable balance, but there seems to be a large divide. At this point I will find it difficult to continue extending emergency powers to the governor if we cannot achieve some very reasonable concessions such as evaluating restrictions by region rather than statewide and evaluating industries based on risk, not just whether they are essential."
“We will never forget those of you who stepped up and sacrificed their own health during this crisis.”
LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced a series of initiatives to help Michigan workers and their families during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the "Futures for Frontliners” program to provide a tuition-free pathway to college or a technical certificate to essential workers who don’t have a college degree. This includes workers like the ones staffing our hospitals and nursing homes, stocking the shelves at grocery stores, providing child care to critical infrastructure workers, manufacturing PPE, protecting public safety, picking up trash, or delivering supplies.
“The Futures for Frontliners program is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who have risked their lives on the front lines of this crisis. This program will ensure tuition-free college opportunities and give these dedicated Michiganders an opportunity to earn a technical certificate, associate degree or even a bachelor’s degree,” Governor Whitmer said. “I want to assure all of our workers we will never forget those of you who stepped up and sacrificed their own health during this crisis. You’re the reason we’re going to get through this.”
The “Futures for Frontliners” program is the first of its kind in the country, and was inspired by the federal government’s support of soldiers returning from World War II by providing educational opportunities. Frontline workers who take advantage of this program will help us reach Governor Whitmer’s goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a technical certificate or college degree from 45% to 60% by 2030. The Governor stated that she looks forward to working on enacting her proposal with the bipartisan legislative coalition that helped pass Reconnect last month, the program to offer adults over 25 without college degrees tuition-free access to community college.
Governor Whitmer also announced that she is expanding the state’s Workshare Program to allow employers to reduce employee hours to receive weekly unemployment insurance (UI) benefits as well as the additional $600 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) weekly benefit. Both benefits will be funded through federal dollars. Through July, the program can act as supplemental pay for critical infrastructure workers by allowing them to collect the extra $600 per week.
Governor Whitmer also called on leaders in Congress to support Sen. Gary Peters' Heroes Fund to provide hazard pay for frontline workers putting their lives on the line to ensure access to life-saving care, food, and other critical services during the pandemic. It is estimated that more than three million of these essential workers are currently on the job in Michigan. Supported by Sens. Stabenow and Peters, the Heroes Fund proposal would provide these workers with an additional $13 per hour, up to $25,000, with an additional potential recruitment incentive of up to $15,000 for essential medical workers.
“No Michigander should have to worry about how to feed their family or pay rent during a crisis. And no Michigander should be scared to go to work,” said Governor Whitmer. “From the beginning, my team and I have been working around the clock to solve those problems for working families. And I will continue to fight for our working people long after this crisis is over.”
Program returns Monday; Hours change at Brooks site
By Lola Harmon Ramsey
After a five week shut down, the Newaygo County Recycling drop off centers are set to reopen beginning Monday, May 4, 2020. The closure began on March 27 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and health concerns for the staff at the Kent County Material Recovery Facility and local recycling staff.
With new social distancing rules and adequate personal protective equipment, both Kent County and local staff feel recycling can begin again in Newaygo County.
There is one significant change for the Newaygo County Recycling program at the Brooks Township site in the Newaygo area. The containers at the site have now been placed in a fenced-in area on the original property. This change was scheduled before the unexpected closure and not due to COVID-19. Recyclers that use the Brooks Township site will now have to visit this site during their open hours which are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, 9am-3pm. This new schedule will help prevent the misuse and contamination that has plagued the Brooks location and other local recycling sites in the past.
Many residents have been storing their recyclables during this shut down. Recycling rules still apply which means your items cannot stay in trash bags or any other plastic bags. Plastic bags of any kind are not accepted in this program. Please pour your items into the containers to ensure they are able to be recycled. Items in bags cannot be accessed or sorted when they are secured in a bag.
Newaygo County Recycling is asking residents to limit the loads being brought to the sites With the closure you may have a garage full, but so does everyone else. The hauling company will be working hard to keep the sites from overflowing, but they cannot be at every site at once. If a container is full please do not leave items next to the bin or on top of it. These items fly away or end up in ditches instead of being properly recycled. Break down your cardboard boxes so they are flat in the bin and always check the back of the recycling bin if the front seems full. Sometimes there is a lot of room towards the backs of the containers.
Here are the locations and hours for the recycling drop-off centers in Newaygo County:
Fremont: 5510 56th Street, at the Fremont Mini Storage site. Hours: M-W-SAT, 9-12pm.
Garfield Township Hall: 7180 S Bingham, Newaygo, open 24/7.
Brooks Township: 490 Quarterline St, Newaygo. This site is now fenced with open hours. Hours: TUE-THU-SAT, 9-3pm.
Grant: 160 East State Street, Open 24/7.
White Cloud: Behind City Hall, off Pine Hill Rd, Hours Mon-Sat 8am-4pm.
Croton: 5600 East Elm Street (transfer station). Open when the transfer station is open.
By Scott Kroepel
Near North Now:
Well, plans for the Tulip Festival never bloomed, Electric Forest has already pulled the plug and there won’t be any pit spitting contests happening in TC with the Cherry Festival unable to come to fruition this year.
And now one of the best loved local summer celebrations has become the latest casualty of COVID 19, the pandemic blamed for wreaking havoc on an ever growing number of spring and summer festivities.
We asked Hesperian historian Scott Kroepel to provide bit of perspective on what looks to be a much quieter 4th in Hesperia and he also shared some intriguing photos of past celebrations.
For the first time in nearly three decades, Hesperia’s downtown streets, parks, and skies will be silent on the 4th of July. The Hesperia Chamber of Commerce, who hosts the annual event, made the tough decision to cancel the 2020 Hesperia FunFest due to the ongoing Covid-19 concerns, and the probability that large gatherings will continue to remain discouraged throughout the summer months.
On the Chamber’s Facebook page, President Scott Rumsey wrote “Our board also considered the difficulty we might have in fund raising for the 2020 fireworks. While we had a balance in our fireworks fund left from last year, we feel it would be unreasonable to ask local businesses to donate to this year’s event considering many of them have been closed due to the current state order.”
Hesperia has a long history of Independence Day celebrations. The earliest known event was discovered from a poster found in the basement of the local bank, dating back to 1885. And from a photo of a balloon ascension at Webster Park, printed in the 1966 Hesperia Centennial Book, dating back to the early 1900’s. Hesperia hosted an annual Free Fair from 1949-1978. Governor G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams was a speaker in the late 1950’s, and it’s carnival rides and games drew crowds from all around. The Hesperia FunFest was formed in the early 1980’s, known for its Art Fair, Parade, Street Bands, Horse Pulls and Fireworks, among other events for all ages.
Hesperia recently celebrated its Sesquicentennial in 2016, with events throughout the summer, in conjunction with the annual FunFest.
President Rumsey continued, “Our board is currently working on the possibility of some type of community event that might be held in the fall. We are hopeful that things will return to something closer to normal by the end of summer, and a gathering of our community would be welcomed by all as we all look forward to putting this pandemic behind us.“
New Data Source Delivers COVID-19 Info
April 27, 2020 – District Health Department #10 announces the launch of a COVID-19 Data Dashboard to our website where individuals can go to see the progression of the virus throughout our ten-county jurisdiction. Dashboard data includes confirmed cases, probable cases and deaths by county, age range, gender, and zip code. Also displayed are total recoveries, contact tracing, and two charts showing total counts by date and cumulative counts by date.
“As we begin the sixth week since the announcement of our first COVID-19 case, DHD#10 has worked very hard to gather the data that will show a true picture of the impact of COVID-19 in each county we serve,” said Jeannine Taylor, Public Information Officer for DHD#10. “The public has been asking for this information and it took us a while to get it to a point where we felt it was sufficient and accurate enough to release.”
District Health Department #10 is the largest geographic local public health department in the state, covering ten counties and approximately 64 zip codes. Developing the processes for pulling and analyzing the data took time primarily because of the sheer size of the jurisdiction. The data is pulled from the Michigan Disease Surveillance System (MDSS) and the Outbreak Management System (OMS) daily in the afternoon to coincide with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services timeline for releasing data. The data covers only individuals who reside in a county served by DHD#10, including Crawford, Kalkaska, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Newaygo, Oceana, and Wexford.
As data evolves by the minute in real time, it is important to keep in mind that DHD#10’s data dashboard is just a snapshot of the numbers based on a moment in time. At any given time, the actual numbers may be different, and may not match what the state is displaying due to the timing of when the numbers are pulled from MDSS and OMS. It is also important to understand that, while several hospital systems have data dashboards on their websites, their numbers may include individuals that do not reside in one of the counties served by DHD#10, thus may not match DHD#10’s numbers.
DHD#10’s data dashboard can be found at www.dhd10.com/coronavirus.
Stay home, stay safe extended to May 15. Some restrictions lifted, eased up.
LANSING, Mich. Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed executive order 2020-59, extending her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through May 15. The new order will require people to wear homemade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. It will also lift some restrictions on outdoor activities and allow some workers who perform previously suspended activities to go back to work.
“Data shows that most Michiganders are doing their part by staying home and staying safe. That’s good, but we must keep it up. Social distancing is our best weapon to defeat this enemy,” said Governor Whitmer. “With new COVID-19 cases leveling off, however, we are lifting some of the restrictions put in place in the previous order. I want to be crystal clear: the overarching message today is still the same. We must all do our part by staying home and staying safe as much as possible.”
“The numbers we’ve seen in the past week have shown a plateau in positive cases, but Michiganders must continue doing their part to fight this virus and protect their families,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “The governor has taken a number of critical steps to protect Michigan families, and this order today will allow that work to continue. We will keep monitoring the data closely and work with our partners across state government to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
The order will require people to wear homemade, non-medical grade face coverings when they enter enclosed public spaces. It will also require employers to provide at least cloth face coverings to their employees. People won’t have to wear face coverings when they’re taking a walk in the neighborhood, but when they go to the grocery store, they should be wearing one. Under the order, however, no one will be subject to criminal penalty for going without a mask.
The new executive order will also allow some workers who perform very previously suspended activities to go back on the job. Landscapers, lawn-service companies, and nurseries can return to work, subject to strict social distancing. Retailers to that do not sell necessary supplies may reopen for curbside pick-up and for delivery. Big box stores can reopen “closed areas,” like garden centers. And bike repair and maintenance can come back online.
At the same time, the order will ease up on some restrictions on members of the public. It will, for example, allow motorized boating and golf (but no golf carts), consistent with sound social distancing. It will also permit individuals to travel between their residences, though such travel during the epidemic is strongly discouraged. And it will clarify that state parks remain open, as they have been throughout the emergency.
The governor’s actions today are in close alignment with other Midwest states. On April 16, Governor Whitmer announced that she and Governors Mike DeWine (OH), Tony Evers (WI), Tim Walz (MN), JB Pritzker (IL), Eric Holcomb (IN), and Andy Beshear (KY) will work in close coordination to reopen the economy in the Midwest region. The governor is committed to continuing to work closely with other governors to protect families and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Facility to be used as shelter for COVID Frontliners.
On 4/23/ N3 received this info from Nick Smith Newaygo County Parks and Recreation Director:
The Newaygo County Parks and Recreation Commission has been working in conjunction with our Local Health Officials and Emergency Services Department on a contingency plan to help ensure the safety of Front-Line workers and, ultimately, their families. As many of you know, First Responders and Healthcare Workers who work on the front lines are exposed to this virus daily. For this reason, some of these individuals cannot go home, as doing so may put their families and loved ones at risk of contracting the Coronavirus. Newaygo County Parks has several campground facilities that could provide housing for these front-line workers until they can safely return home to their families.
To assist in this mission, White Cloud County Park was strategically selected as an optimal location and may be used for this Non-Congregant Sheltering mission in conjunction with Newaygo County Emergency Services. We regret to inform the community and our customers that, at this time, we will not be opening White Cloud County Park to the public as scheduled and until further notice. We may open later in the summer if the Coronavirus pandemic subsidies and demand for camping is significant. We understand this is disappointing news for some of our campers, but ultimately it is for the safety and health of our front-line workers and the community.
All Campers with reservations impacted by this decision are be contacted by our office and offered alternative camping options, including the option of a full refund. Currently, all camping reservations before July 1 and facility reservations before June 1 are being canceled or rescheduled. All other campers with reservations at White Could Park may call at any time and receive a full refund for any 2020 reservation.
We know our campers understand the importance of this decision, and we thank them for their patience and understanding during these unprecedented times. If you have any additional questions, please contact the Newaygo County Parks Office at 231.689.7340.
At this time, COVID-19 is spreading community-wide across the State of Michigan. District Public Health Department #10 states you should assume that it is in your community and should take the necessary precautions to avoid exposure. Please follow the CDC Guidelines and monitor your symptoms. If symptoms become severe, please contact your medical provider for further instructions or follow the guidance below.
“As COVID-19 spreads throughout our region, there is the possibility that individuals may have been exposed to the virus in public places,” said Kevin Hughes, DHD#10 Health Officer. “We urge our communities to work together, take all public health executive orders seriously, and stay home to stay safe and save lives.”
As of Tuesday, April 21, 2020, District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) reported the twelfth lab confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in Newaygo County. As of 04/21/2020 there are now 105 positive cases in DHD#10’s ten county jurisdiction and 8 deaths. Statewide there are 32,967 lab confirmed positive cases and 2,700 confirmed deaths. The first pediatric death from COVID-19 in the state was reported on April 19, 2020.
“We recognize that due to a limited number of test kits available locally, not everyone that is symptomatic is being tested,” said Abby Watkins, Newaygo County Emergency Services Director. “There are strict COVID-19 testing guidelines in place which our healthcare providers are following. We ask that you follow all the State guidelines closely and do not go out unless absolutely necessary.”
COVID-19 testing will be performed on individuals with COVID-19 symptoms* and are included in one of the following groups to qualify for testing at this time:
Total Confirmed Cases
Total COVID-19 Deaths
Tuesday Confirmed Cases
Tuesday COVID-19 Deaths
793,361 Confirmed Cases
Spectrum Health Hospitals Adapt to Longer Timeline for COVID-19
Triage tents removed for now; testing continues
FREMONT, Mich., April 20, 2020 – With effective social distancing slowing the surge of COVID-19 patients in West Michigan, Spectrum Health has changed workflows for patients showing COVID-19 symptoms.
“So far, here in Newaygo County, we are seeing social distancing practices help keep the spread of COVID-19 in check and we are thankfully seeing less demand for Gerber Memorial’s triage tent,” said Shelly Johnson, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s interim market leader and chief operating officer. “Should the need arise for rapid and extensive testing, Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial and our staff are prepared to ramp back up, collect specimens for testing and care for our community.
"We hope together, as a community, we can flatten the curve even as Gerber Memorial remains fully prepared for whatever may come next. On behalf of Gerber Memorial and all our staff who work here and live in the community, I cannot emphasize enough how critical we continue to practice social distancing, minimize contact as much as we can and observe personal hygiene All the science and evidence shows that these measures are steadily helping to flatten the curve in West Michigan, which buys us much-needed time, and we encourage everyone to continue these difficult yet necessary precautions.”
As a result, COVID-19 triage tents at the regional hospitals are now in the process of being removed. The tents are used as a strategy to rapidly assess and cohort large volumes of patients presenting with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
COVID-19 triage tents remain open in Grand Rapids at Butterworth, Blodgett and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital as well as at the drive-up specimen collection site located at 1300 Michigan St. NE.
Spectrum Health offers free virtual COVID-19 screenings to anyone with symptoms and may be concerned they have the virus. The purpose is to prevent the spread of illness by enabling people to seek the information they need from their homes, while making it easy and convenient for them. People in the state of Michigan who are experiencing symptoms can call the Spectrum Health hotline at 833.559.0658 to be scheduled for a free virtual screening. Anyone with severe or life-threatening symptoms should call 911. Testing requires an appointment so screening is the first step in the process.
Spectrum Health has posted downloadable materials, travel tips, videos and other information on its website as a means to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Community members, churches, schools, businesses and others are encouraged to visit www.spectrumhealth.org/covid19 to access the resources.
Total Confirmed Cases 31,424
Total COVID-19 Deaths 2,391
Sunday Confirmed Cases 633
Sunday COVID-19 Deaths 83
Confirmed Cases 746,332
Deaths 35, 676
Go to https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/ for updated information
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has launched the Save Small Business Fund, which is a collective effort to provide $5,000 grants to as many small employers as possible. The supplemental funds were made available to help bridge immediate financial gaps for small businesses in geographical areas with the greatest need.
To qualify, your business must:
Click Here To Be Notified When Applications Open!
United Way of the Lakeshore-Newaygo County has partnered with Fremont Area Community Foundation to support the Community Response Fund and address the impact of COVID-19 in our community.
The Community Response Fund was created last month to rapidly deploy resources to nonprofit organizations serving children, older adults, and other vulnerable populations impacted by COVID-19. Grants have already been awarded to meet needs for food, emergency shelter, childcare, mental health services, and more.
Supporting the organizations on the front lines of the local response is a priority for United Way-Newaygo County, said James Rynberg, the organization’s director.
“We know that many local organizations are experiencing a sudden surge in the need for services that they could not have predicted and may not be financially prepared to handle, especially as closures and fundraiser cancellations have strained already tight budgets,” said Rynberg. “We believe it is vitally important that these partners are able to stay open and continue serving the community members who need them. The Community Response Fund is a way that all of us—from individuals and families to the business community—can support them and the people they are serving.”
“We need to be here to meet immediate needs but also prepare for the long-term effects of this pandemic on our community,” said Carla Roberts, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “We’re grateful for United Way’s partnership as we work together to mitigate the impact on local organizations and residents, now and in the days to come.”
Community members who wish to support relief efforts can donate to the Community Response Fund at facommunityfoundation.org/covid. Donors can designate their gifts for a specific county.
On Wednesday a demonstration in Lansing brought the gridlock organizers hoped for, with vehicles piling into the streets and large groups congregating near and around the capitol building in a protest against the orders issued by Governor Whitmer causing the closure of non essential services and businesses.
That same day four northern Michigan Sheriffs sent out a news release announcing they would not be strictly enforcing the stay at home order and would “deal with every case as an individual situation and apply common sense in assessing the apparent violation.”
They spoke of responding to calls but handling them on a case by case basis.
The news release garnered a lot of attention on a number of news sites as well as providing the usual plethora of social media responses.
Interestingly enough, N3 posed a question to Newaygo County Sheriff Bob Mendham nearly 2 weeks ago, soon after the order was issued on April 2nd, as to what the order would mean to local residents.
His response seemed to be similar to what the quartet of lakeshore Lawmen issued.
“We won’t be actively searching for violations but will respond if there is a complaint,” said Sheriff Mendham . “We will take a complaint when given and make a determination. A verbal warning will be issued if we feel the business is in violation. A second complaint (violation) would go to the prosecutor.”
Today the NCSO posted this on their facebook page:
We have received many phone calls, text messages and emails regarding Governor Whitmer's Executive Orders and the Sheriff's Office position on those orders.
The women and men of the Newaygo County Sheriff's Office have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of Michigan. It is our responsibility to serve and protect the citizens of Newaygo County and protect your rights as described in the Constitution. We will respond to all calls for service and will address each call with common sense. Our goal is to ensure that everyone is safe and treated fairly.
It is our opinion that the people of Newaygo County will use good judgement and be considerate of their friends and neighbors. We will all get through this by working and communicating with each other. Please take care of each other and let us know if you need our assistance.
Sheriff Bob Mendham
Newaygo County Sheriff's Office
We caught up with Sheriff Mendham, a busy guy running a really busy department these days, for a couple of questions.
N3 Why today’s fb response?
Sheriff Mendham:We were and are receiving many questions about how we are enforcing the governor's order, we were just trying to clarify and calm some nerves.
N3 Getting a lot of calls?
SM: No, we have not received a lot of complaints involving the executive orders.
N3 The statement released right after the order came down...still hold?
SM: Yes. We will, as always, serve and protect the citizens of the county and their constitutional rights while exercising common sense in each situation.
-Ken DeLaat N3 News
Antibodies in blood of fully recovered patients may aid in recovery of others
Grand Rapids, Mich., April 16, 2020 –Spectrum Health, in collaboration with Versiti Blood Centers, has begun treating COVID-19 patients with blood plasma from patients who have recovered from the disease, providing an additional treatment option to the most severely affected COVID-19 patients.
Historically, hospitals have used the treatment, known as “convalescent plasma therapy,” when a new disease spreads rapidly and no other treatments or vaccines are available. Spectrum Health has treated three patients with the therapy as of today.
To be considered as donors, patients who have had test-confirmed COVID-19 must be symptom free for at least 14-days. They can then be scheduled for a second nasal swab test to verify that they are free of the COVID-19 virus. If patients have been symptom free for greater than 27 days, no nasal swab is needed. Then, a donation of blood plasma from this patient can be used to treat other patients with COVID-19.
Patients who are interested in donating plasma and had a positive COVID-19 test from Spectrum Health do not need to take any action. They will be contacted by the Spectrum Health research team to discuss potential eligibility. Interested patients who had a positive COVID-19 test from a health system other than Spectrum Health should contact the research department at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Patients who have not had a formal COVID-19 positive test are not eligible to donate plasma at this time, but researchers are working to potentially achieve this.
“At a time where a treatment for COVID-19 is on the forefront of our minds, Spectrum Health is excited to introduce convalescent plasma therapy to our patients,” said Gordana Simeunovic, MD. “The possibilities presented by this new treatment are encouraging – it is affordable, easy to administer and rarely has side effects.”
Spectrum Health is part of the National Convalescent Plasma Project for COVID-19 patients, which includes physician-scientists, universities and hospitals throughout the nation studying the use of convalescent plasma therapy on COVID-19 patients. Spectrum Health has partnered locally with Michigan State University to further this cause.
For more information on donating convalescent plasma, see the Convalescent Plasma Donation tab on this web page: https://www.spectrumhealth.org/covid19/giving-opportunities
Financial Relief for Bars and Restaurants With On- Premises Liquor Licenses
LANSING, Mich. — On Monday Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-46, tasking the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) with initiating a spirits buy-back program to offer financial relief to bars and restaurants with on-premises liquor licenses affected by Executive Order 2020-9 during the continuing COVID-19 crisis.
The order empowers the MLCC to use its revolving fund to buy spirits remaining in inventory from bars and restaurants that purchased the spirits prior to March 16, 2020 for their full purchase price. Liquor licensees approved for the program have until 90 days after the state’s emergency and disasters declarations are lifted to re-purchase the spirits from the MLCC.
“Michigan’s 8,500 on-premises liquor licensees continue to make unprecedented sacrifices to help slow the spread of COVID-19 across our state,” Governor Whitmer said. “This buy-back program will help our bars and restaurants critical to Michigan’s economy weather the storm through this challenging time in our history.”
The Michigan Liquor Control Commission is expected to meet on April 14, 2020, to take official action regarding this executive order.
Licensees must make their request no later than Friday, April 17, 2020, at 5 p.m., using the online form on the MLCC website.
MDHHS, local health departments contacting COVID-19 positive cases and their contacts
How to know if the calls being received are legitimate
LANSING, MICH. During the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan, local health departments and staff from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are reaching out to Michiganders who have tested positive as well as to the contacts of those individuals. These public health staff are calling to check on health status, provide information about COVID-19 and actions people should be taking, help locate needed services and track the spread of the infection in the community.
“We recognize many people do not like to answer the phone if they don’t recognize the number, but during this time this call could be someone offering you important information regarding your health,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We ask Michiganders to please answer these calls and return voicemails from the local health departments or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.”
Calls may be from area codes where residents typically do not receive calls from, including the 517 area code. To keep each person’s information private and to provide residents with information they need, it is important for health department staff to speak directly with impacted Michiganders.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recently issued a reminder to residents to be on alert for scammers spoofing numbers from local health departments. Spoofing allows it to appear as if the caller is dialing from a recognizable number to encourage you to pick up the phone. MDHHS wants residents to be aware of how to determine a scam call from a legitimate call from the health department.
Local health departments and MDHHS will not:
If you are concerned about a call you received from a local health department or MDHHS, please contact the COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136. This line is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
REMINDER: Current Testing Guidelines
COVID-19 testing will be performed on individuals with COVID-19 symptoms* and are included in one of the following groups:
People who are concerned about COVID-19 symptoms such as fever and cough, and with or without difficulty breathing, or have questions, are strongly discouraged from going to the hospital or their doctor.
A strict protocol is in place to be tested: A provider must order a COVID-19 test and approval for that test includes a collaboration between the provider and the local health department. Do not go to Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Hospital to request COVID-19 Screening. Please follow the Screening steps listed below.
READY: Visit spectrumhealth.org/covid19 to stay informed and review free screening options.
CONNECT: For people in the state of Michigan and experiencing symptoms, get screened by calling Spectrum Health’s hotline at 833.559.0659 or by using Spectrum Health’s virtual chat found on spectrumhealth.org/covid19.
GO: Spectrum Health providers will determine if a person needs further evaluation and, if so, provide instructions for specimen collection.
Calls Out DeVos on demonstration support
During Monday’s news conference Governor Whitmer responded to criticism of her measures by reasserting her decisions based on the available science to prevent the spread of the COVID virus.
“We have tough days ahead of us but those days when we will be able to come together again is on the horizon. While some people are grieving the loss of their freedom others are grieving the loss of their loved ones.”
Operation Gridlock is a demonstration planned for Wednesday with various groups opposing the level of quarantine in the state planning to circle the capital building at noon.
From their fb site:
People always say: “Conservatives never protest because they are too busy working.”
Well, guess what. You’re not working-- so it’s time to PROTEST.
Everyone, every citizen, every business owner needs to get out of their house, out of their chair and get in their car, or truck, or anything that is legal to drive on taxpayer funded roads. Then drive to Lansing to circle the Michigan Capitol Building at 100 N. Capitol Avenue at noon on April 15.
Come prepared for a traffic jam in Lansing! We WANT gridlock.
High NOON drive around the Capitol- honk horns, paint cars or bring signs. SHOW UP.
Do not park and walk - stay in your vehicles!
Governor Whitmer was asked about the planned event and while supporting the right to demonstrate also responded with hope the people involved would remain in their vehicles and not put first responders and others at risk.
“I support people’s rights to demonstrate and to use their voice. I hope when people are looking at social media they are dispelling and taking on the dissemination of demonstratively inadequate information.”
She also called out Secretary of Education Betsy Devos.
“I would also add that this group is funded in a large part by the DeVos family and I think it's inappropriate for a member of the President’s cabinet to be waging political attacks on any governor. I think they should disavow it and encourage people to stay home and be safe.”
As of 10am Monday there have been 25,635 confirmed cases in the state and 1,602 deaths.
There were 997 new cases reported today and 115 deaths.
Newaygo County is reported to have had 6 confirmed cases thus far.
As you are all aware, this evenings Township Board Meeting has been cancelled. Hopefully, we will regroup and meet on May 11th. (Please stay tuned)!
Rest assured that, even with our doors locked, we are continuing to conduct the business of the Township via the telephone and internet.
We will get through this painful time. In the meantime, stay safe and stay healthy. Perhaps even look for that "silver lining" that might accompany this epidemic.
Look forward to seeing you all again very soon,
Trustee, Croton Township
Community Foundation Awards First Grants from Community Response Fund
Fremont Area Community Foundation recently announced the first grants from the newly created Community Response Fund. The fund was established to rapidly deploy resources to organizations serving vulnerable populations impacted by COVID-19.
A total of $142,695 has been awarded so far to nine organizations serving Newaygo County residents. Grant funds will help these organizations address identified needs, including food insecurity, childcare, and mental health counseling.
TrueNorth Community Services received a grant to respond to a sharp increase in demand for food pantry supplies and weekend food packs for local students. The organization supplied pre-packed boxes of food to twice the usual number of households at its mobile food pantry on March 24. The organization’s PowerPack program supplies weekend shelf-stable food backpacks to students in Grant, Hesperia, and White Cloud and has significantly increased its supplies since schools closed on March 16.
Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency (NC RESA) received a grant to open new daycare spots for children whose caregivers are in essential workforce industries such as healthcare, postal services, and law enforcement. With many private, home-based childcare providers suspending service due to safety and social distancing practices, NC RESA’s disaster relief childcare centers allow parents to still fulfill their essential duties during the crisis.
“We know that many of our local nonprofit partners are facing challenges and an increased need for services right now that none of us could have predicted even a month ago,” said Carla Roberts, Community Foundation president and CEO. “These organizations are responding quickly, creatively, and compassionately to the needs facing our most vulnerable neighbors. The Community Response Fund is one important way that the Community Foundation and generous donors can support them.”
All information related to the Community Response Fund can be found at facommunityfoundation.org/covid, including a full list of grants awarded and information for organizations interested in applying for a grant.
Community members who are interested in making a donation to support the relief efforts in Newaygo County or in the counties served by FACF’s geographic affiliates—Lake, Mecosta, and Osceola—can give using the same link.
Lake County has first positive case, Newaygo now at 6.
April 11, 2020 – District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) received notification on the death of a Wexford County resident attributed to COVID-19. The individual is a male in his 60's who was hospitalized at Munson Healthcare Cadillac Hospital on April 4 where he died this morning.
“We wish to express our heartfelt sympathies to the family who lost their loved one,” said Kevin Hughes, DHD#10 Health Officer. “COVID-19 continues to pose a serious threat to our community members and we must all continue to follow all executive orders to help bring this deadly virus to a halt.”
DHD#10 also reports the first confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in a Lake County resident. DHD#10 is working quickly to investigate this case to determine potential close contacts to the individual.
The most recent report indicates 6 positive cases thus far in Newaygo County.
“We ask that individuals please follow Governor Whitmer’s orders for sheltering in place and strictly practice social distancing at this time,” said DHD#10 Health Officer Kevin Hughes. “As cases are increasing, it is important to understand that individuals may display symptoms differently and not all who are sick with COVID-19 will be sick right away.”
At this time and because of the rapidly evolving nature of this pandemic, DHD#10 suggests that everyone should assume they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 who may not have known they had it. Please follow CDC guidelines and monitor yourselves and your loved ones for symptoms. If symptoms do begin to appear, please contact your healthcare provider for further instructions.