COVID-19 Case Update
Today’s cumulative total of positive COVID-19 cases is NUMBER with NUMBER deaths. Please visit www.michigan.gov/coronavirus for a county-by-county breakdown.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer calls for water reconnections statewide, establishes fund to help communities comply
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took strong steps today to ensure at-risk households have access to clean water for hand washing and sanitation through an executive order requiring the reconnection of service to residences that have had water service shut off. A $2-million Water Restart Grant Program will help communities comply with the order.
The order requires public water suppliers to immediately identify residences in their service area that do not currently have water service, and to make best efforts to restore service to homes where the service has been disconnected due to non-payment or damaged infrastructure. The order also includes reporting and accountability requirements.
The order is effective for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. It does not absolve anyone from responsibility for past-due bills.
To assist communities in complying with the order, a $2-million fund has been established through Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The Water Restart Grant Program will provide funding to local communities to help reconnect homes to their water supplies.
EGLE will provide limited grants to communities based on available funds. Grants will be provided to high-risk areas. Requirements for the grants will include the following:
- Communities must provide a preliminary spending plan, including the estimated number of homes to be reconnected and estimated average cost per home, prior to the grant being initiated.
- If lead lines are being replaced as part of the reconnection, the entire line must be replaced.
- EGLE will reimburse up to $5,000 for reconnection, line replacement, and restoration per home. Exceptions to the cap can be requested for homes needing more extensive work. Exceptions must be authorized by EGLE.
- The community must assure that the plumbers conduct appropriate flushing and provide communication to residents on the importance of flushing and use of filters if needed.
- A 25 percent local match is required.
- Grant funds will be provided on a reimbursement basis upon receipt of appropriate supporting documentation.
Communities interested in accessing the funding should email EGLE-RestartGrants@michigan.gov
Those reconnecting to municipal water must first thoroughly flush stagnant water pipes and clean filter screens to remove accumulations of lead and other bacteria that can accumulate in stagnant water. Step-by-step instructions on how to do so are available through this instructional video.
Michigan Launches COVID-19 Volunteer Website
As Michigan’s healthcare system faces tremendous strains due to the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are calling on medical professionals and everyday Michiganders to volunteer their talents and time to save lives.
Today Gov. Whitmer and MDHHS launched a new volunteer website, www.michigan.gov/fightcovid19, where trained medical professionals can register to serve their fellow Michiganders by assisting hospitals in fighting COVID-19. Other state residents also can use the site to find out how they can help in their local communities, give blood, donate money or needed medical supplies, or assist public health officials in tracking infections.
This website will serve as a single clearinghouse for Michiganders to join the fight against COVID-19. The state will work with hospitals and health systems that are short-staffed to fill gaps if and when necessary.
President Trump Approves Governor Whitmer’s Request for Major Disaster Declaration
Last night, President Trump approved Governor Whitmer’s request for a Major Disaster declaration in Michigan. The declaration means that Michigan is now eligible for participation in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) programming to provide relief for Michiganders impacted by the COVID-19 virus and measures to slow the spread of the virus. While Michigan made a broad request for aid in every Individual Assistance and Public Assistance program from the Individual Assistance category, funding was approved for the Crisis Counseling Program and funding for Emergency Protective Measures from the Public Assistance Category was also approved.
The Crisis Counseling Program is a direct-support program to provide services for those whose mental health has been impacted by the spread of COVID-19. The federal government also granted the governor’s request for emergency protective measures, including funding for transporting and pre-positioning equipment, Emergency Operation Center (EOC)-related costs, medical supplies and personal protective equipment, medical care and transport, and childcare. The governor’s request for Hazard Mitigation assistance to help provide relief during planning for recovery in the long-term is currently under review.
While the relief package approved by congress on Friday will provide relief in some of the requested areas of individual assistance, including Unemployment Insurance Assistance and Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programming (D-SNAP) under the Stafford Act, FEMA can also provide aid in these areas where they do not overlap with existing programs. Michigan requested assistance for both Disaster Unemployment Assistance and D-SNAP that have not yet been approved.
Michigan Receives 112,800 N95 Masks from Strategic National Stockpile
Yesterday, Gov. Whitmer announced on Twitter that the State of Michigan received a shipment of 112,800 N95 masks from the strategic national stockpile this morning, with an additional shipment of 8,000 masks on the way.
Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Expanding Absentee Voting in May 5 Elections
Yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed Executive Order 2020-27, encouraging Michiganders to vote absentee by allowing the Department of State to assist local jurisdictions in mailing absentee ballot applications to every registered voter, and to provide absentee ballots directly to new registrants. Local jurisdictions will still need to keep at least one polling place open for those who wish to vote in-person or are unable to vote by mail.
Michiganders who want to register to vote in the May 5 election are strongly encouraged to do so by April 20. They can register online at mvic.sos.state.mi.us/registervoter or by mail using the form available at michigan.gov/documents/MIVoterRegistration_97046_7.pdf.
Those who miss the deadline are still able to register to vote and can do so at their township or city clerk’s office, but should call ahead first. Clerks will also accept applications and proof of residency by mail, email or fax.
Q: Is construction allowed under the executive order?
A: Some limited forms of construction are permissible, including construction to maintain and improve roads, bridges, telecommunications infrastructure, and public health infrastructure (such as the creation or expansion of hospitals or other medical facilities to provide or support the provision of necessary care during the emergency). Construction workers may also undertake projects that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of a residence during the emergency; any non-emergency maintenance or improvements to residences is not permitted. In addition, a business may designate a construction firm under section 9(b) of the order to provide necessary support to the work of that business’s critical infrastructure workers.
Construction projects that do not meet these criteria cannot be started or progressed while the order is in effect. This includes any such projects that were already underway at the time the order was issued. For those projects, workers are permitted on site only to carry out “minimum basic operations” under section 4(b) of the order. This work is limited to in-person tasks that are strictly necessary to preserve the current condition of the project while the order is in effect, such as putting in place temporary security and weatherization measures. All other in-person work on the project must cease until the restrictions of the order are lifted and normal operations resume