Gov. Whitmer bans all events of more than 50 people, and a West Bloomfield senior living home encounters the virus.

Coronavirus cases in Michigan continue to creep upward, with the total of confirmed COVID-19 cases at 65 as of Tuesday, March 17. The majority of cases are in Southeast Michigan.

In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Mayor Mike Duggan said the state is processing roughly 125 COVID-19 test kits a day, when it should be closer to 2,000-3,000. He placed blame on the federal government for not providing enough test kits.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that beginning today, March 17, they will share the latest COVID-19 case numbers through a daily online update at 2 p.m. of the number of cases and deaths in each county, in addition to cases by age and sex. The updates can be found at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Local health departments and health care providers may publicly share cases or deaths prior to their inclusion in the statewide updates. Local public health departments are good resources for information, as well.

Read on for more of the latest updates here in Michigan:

Whitmer Executive Order Temporarily Bans Events with More than 50 People

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Order on March 17 prohibiting all events or indoor meet-ups with over 50 people until April 5 at 5:00 p.m. Exceptions include health care facilities, workplaces not open to the public, mass transit, the state legislature, the purchase of groceries, consumer goods and agricultural or construction work.

“These aggressive actions are aimed at saving lives,” Whitmer said in a statement. “My administration will continue to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of the disease and ensure our children, families, and businesses have the support they need during these challenging times. We are going to pull through this together, just as Michigan has done in the past.” 

President Trump advised yesterday to the public that people should not gather in groups over 10. Trump also went after Whitmer on Twitter today, saying she “must work harder and be more proactive.”

Whitmer Expands Unemployment Benefits

On March 17, the governor signed another Executive Order to expand eligibility for unemployment benefits until Tuesday, April 14 at 11:59 p.m.

Unemployment benefits will be extended to the following individuals:

  • Workers who have to care for a family member, including those who have childcare responsibilities as a result of school closures, or those who are need to care for family members who become ill. 
  • Individuals who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and without access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off. 
  • First responders in the public health sector who become ill or are quarantined as a result of being exposed to COVID-19. 

The governor is also requesting that President Trump issue a Major Disaster Declaration in order for Individual Assistance and Disaster Unemployment Assistance through FEMA to become available if additional Michigan residents are affected by COVID-19.

Eligible employees should apply for unemployment benefits online at Michigan.gov/UIA  or 1-866-500-0017. A factsheet on how to apply for benefits can be found here.  

2 Coronavirus Cases at All Seasons in West Bloomfield

An elderly male resident at All Seasons, an independent senior living facility in West Bloomfield, tested positive Sunday for COVID-19 and is being treated offsite.

On March 17, the Oakland County Health Department advised All Seasons management that a second resident also tested positive for COVID-19.

The facility has 156 individual residences for senior living and is a popular option for Jewish seniors. The Oakland County Health Department has been working with All Seasons to keep residents and staff safe, including the implementation of daily wellness checks for all residents. 

Meals are being delivered to residents’ rooms rather than in public dining spaces, and there is a strict no-visitor policy except for caregivers, who are subject to established screenings. The same protocols are also being taken at All Seasons in Birmingham.

Danette Stenta, senior vice president of marketing at Beztak Properties, which manages All Seasons, said in statement, “We continue to work very closely with the health department and will follow their direction as we take all measures necessary for the well-being of all those that choose to call us home.” 

Detroit Buses Halted on Tuesday; Service to Resume Wednesday

The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) released a public advisory that due to a driver shortage related to coronavirus concerns, there will be no bus service today, March 17.

The Detroit Free Press noted that Mayor Duggan met with drivers over their concerns, and plans to increase cleaning services add additional staff. Bus service will resume Wednesday at 3 a.m. Rides will be free to the public. 

Hillel Day School, Farber Hebrew Day School Shift to Virtual Learning

Hillel Day School informed the JN they will provide morning announcements each day on its Facebook page, and online classes will begin tomorrow, March 18. Hillel also shared that the staff member who previously tested positive for COVID-19 is making improvements.

Farber Hebrew Day School uses a platform called Schoology, a cross between social media and a Learning Management System. Director of Advancement Shana Kantor explains that through Schoology teachers can post assignments, have class discussions and post assessments (quizzes or hand-in assignments). Students have been staying active by creating music playlists and communicating via group chats.
“Distance learning” will start Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20.  After these two days, classes will be held Monday – Thursday. There will be no “live” classes on Fridays. The school will remain closed until April 20.

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