COVID-19 Update for 5/17/20

Below is an update on the 2019 Coronavirus outbreak as of 11:00 PM on 5/17/2020                      

UPDATE 

  • On Friday, Governor Whitmer announced the creation of the Return to Learn Advisory Council which will work to provide recommendations to the state on how schools might safely reopen this fall. The council – which will be comprised of students, parents, frontline educators, administrators and public health officials – will be tasked with providing the COVID-19 Task Force on Education within the State Emergency Operations Center with recommendations on how to safely, equitably, and efficiently return to school in the Fall. The State of Michigan will also partner with a national nonprofit organization called Opportunity Labs to bring national expertise to this project.

“It’s critical we bring together experts in health care and education, as well as students, educators, and families to think about how and if it’s possible to safely return to in-person learning in the fall and how to ensure the more than 1.5 million K-12 students across Michigan get the education they need and deserve,” Governor Whitmer said. “This panel will use a data-informed and science-based approach with input from epidemiologists to determine if, when, and how students can return to school this fall and what that will look like.” 

  • She and Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun also provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 on FridayThe governor urged people to continue to do their part by staying safer at home, wearing a face mask, and socially distancing. The governor ended by reminding us, “That we are Michiganders first. And the only way we will get through this is together.” 
  • Last week, the governor signed Executive Order 2020-89, further extending enhanced price gouging restrictions during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure front-line workers and all Michiganders have access to necessary products during the public health crisis, Executive Order 2020-89 extends restrictions on excessive pricing of goods, materials, emergency supplies and consumer food items.   

“The last thing Michiganders should have to worry about right now is being charged excessive prices for milk, bread and other common staples they need to care for themselves and their families during this public health crisis,” Governor Whitmer said. “By extending restrictions on price gouging, we can ensure Michiganders have access to the food, household supplies and other goods they need as we continue to flatten the COVID-19 curve.” 

  • She also signed Executive Order 2020-90, which allows laboratory research to resume under stringent precautionary measures. 

“The reopening of laboratory research in Michigan marks another step toward reopening our economy and getting Michiganders back to work,” Governor Whitmer said. “This partial and incremental reopening will allow my public health team to evaluate the effects of allowing these activities to resume, assess the capacity of the health care system to respond adequately to any increases in infections, and prepare for any increases in patients.” 

  • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced 638 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the total number of positive cases of COVID-19 to 51,142

 HAPPENING ACROSS STATE GOVERNMENT 

  • MDHHS announced that they are providing confidential emotional support counseling is now available 24/7 at no cost to Michiganders who call the state’s COVID-19 hotline. Callers to the COVID-19 hotline will hear a recording that begins by saying to press “8” if they would like to speak with a Michigan Stay Well counselor. The counselors, though not licensed professionals, have received specialized training from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Technical Assistance Center on how to provide emotional support to residents of federally declared disaster areas. A major disaster was declared in Michigan on Friday, March 27, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Because of COVID-19, many of us are grappling with strong emotions, including anxiety, depression and fear,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “We want Michiganders to know it is okay to have these feelings – and okay to ask for help. You don’t have to carry this burden alone.” 

  • As the curve continues to flatten and many businesses reopen their doors, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) within the Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) issued workplace guidelines for employers and employees and created a new hotline, 855-SAFEC19 (855-723-3219), to answer guideline questions and further protect Michigan’s workforce from the spread of COVID-19. 

“We have to be smart about protecting our workforce and issuing these guidelines helps us ensure businesses reopen safely,” LEO Director Jeff Donofrio said. “And when employers have the proper guidance to protect their employees and customers, we can all do our part to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and continue to save lives.” 

 RESOURCES 

MEDIA COVERAGE 

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