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Tag Archive | "Corona Virus"

Corona virus in Michigan: where we stand as of Wednesday, March 18

These empty shelves at the Cedar Springs Meijer are typical of what grocery stores are experiencing across the state due to shoppers stocking up in case of a total shutdown.

Things changed fast and furiously in Michigan from Friday, March 13 to Monday, March 16. And they continued to change quickly this week.

Michigan went from 12 cases of confirmed COVID-19 on Friday to 53 on Monday. As of Wednesday, there were 80, with five of those cases in Kent County and one in Montcalm.

On Friday, Governor Whitmer announced the closing of all Michigan schools for three weeks, from March 16 to April 5. Some districts then have spring break, bringing it to a total of four weeks. The Post asked Cedar Springs Public Schools Superintendent Scott Smith if the teachers were sending home work for students.

“While we have pushed pause on formal instruction, we are providing families with resources they can use to continue to engage in the learning process,” he explained. “We recognize that parents and caregivers are not teachers. It would not be reasonable to expect that formal instruction can continue during this statewide suspension.”

The school (along with many in Kent County) is also offering free meal pickup and in some cases delivery for students. See page 2 for more info.

Meanwhile, people began raiding the grocery stores for food and supplies to hold them over in case of a total shutdown or quarantine. Things like milk, meat, hand sanitizer and toilet paper have been in short supply due to people buying extreme quantities.

The Kent County Health Department issued an emergency order on Sunday, March 15, 2020, reducing occupancy loads – or limits – for all licensed food service establishments, entertainment venues and physical fitness centers in Kent County by 50 percent, which went into effect Monday at 10 a.m.

But that quickly changed when on Monday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an order to take effect at 3 p.m. temporarily shutting down restaurants, cafes, coffee houses, bars, taverns, brewpubs, distilleries, clubs, movie theaters, indoor and outdoor performance venues, gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers, indoor sports facilities, indoor exercise facilities, exercise studios, spas, and casinos. This order does not restrict a place of business from offering food and beverage using delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service. Restaurants may allow five people inside at a time to pick-up orders, so long as they stay six feet apart from each other. This order remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. on March 30, 2020.

Many restaurants are offering take out or delivery. Contact them or visit their Facebook page to see what options they are offering and help them stay afloat.

The state of Michigan also came out this week with some options on relief for those out of work due to the COVID-19 virus (see page 7) and some resources to support small businesses during this time (see our business pages on pages 14-15)

Also, the CDC issued new guidelines Sunday night advising against gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks. “We support the CDC in this recommendation, and we encourage individuals to minimize the size of public gatherings,” said Dr. Adam London, Chief Health Officer with the Kent County Health Department.

The Governor then signed an executive order this week limiting gatherings to 50 people or less.

Many businesses and municipalities are closing to the general public or restricting their available hours. The City of Cedar Springs is closed to the general public as of Tuesday, but can still be reached by phone and email. Face to face meetings will be by appointment only. 

The Post is also closed to the general public, but can be reached by phone and email. We also have a mailbox outside our front door for submissions.

We suggest you contact any business before visiting to see whether they have open business hours.

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Gatherings and events over 50 people prohibited

Order follows new CDC guidance on large events and mass gatherings 

LANSING, Mich. – Monday evening, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-11, to prohibit all events over 50 people or assemblages in shared indoor spaces over 50 people beginning Tuesday, March 17 at 9:00 a.m.  

Executive Order 2020-11 changes the temporary restrictions imposed on events and assemblages by Executive Order 2020-5, to correspond with the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When the new restrictions go into effect, Executive Order 2020-5 will be rescinded. This order does not change the scope of restrictions imposed by Executive Order 2020-5 as to the closure of elementary school buildings and secondary school buildings. 

The new restrictions on events and assemblages go into effect on March 17, 2020 at 9:00am, and will remain in place, like the school closure restrictions, until April 5, 2020 at 5:00pm.  

This order provides an exception from its prohibition on assemblages for health care facilities, workplaces not open to the public, the state legislature, mass transit, the purchase of groceries or consumer goods, and the performance of agricultural or construction work.  

“My number one priority remains to protect the most people we can from the spread of coronavirus,” said Governor Whitmer. “We are all better off when all of us are healthy, and that’s especially true for the most vulnerable. These aggressive actions are aimed at saving lives. 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.” 

“The purpose of the Executive Order, and taking actions like these, is to limit close contact between individuals because of the specific way the virus spreads through respiratory droplets,” said MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “These are very difficult decisions, but I believe together we can work to make the necessary adjustments to contain the pandemic and support one another.” 

Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:  

  • Fever   
  • Cough   
  • Shortness of breath   

The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:  

  • If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call the nearest hospital.   
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.     
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.     
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.     
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.     
  • If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.   
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.   

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.  

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MDHHS activates emergency coordination center due to Corona virus

Local health departments coordinating with state to proactively protect public health

LANSING, Mich. – As cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continue to increase in the United States and internationally, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) activated the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC) today to support local and state response to the outbreak.

“We at MDHHS recognize the potential threat associated with this virus and are working to identify any suspect cases in Michigan along with our local health partners,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “To help coordinate Michigan’s response to 2019 Novel Coronavirus, we are opening the Community Health Emergency Coordination Center to assist the multiple public health jurisdictions involved in the response and prevention of coronavirus here in our state.”

The CHECC will develop and distribute guidelines and educational materials concerning 2019-nCoV to public health agencies and healthcare providers as needed. This includes coordination with local health departments, including Detroit and Wayne County Health Departments especially as Detroit Metropolitan Airport has become a 2019-nCoV screening location.

To date, there are no confirmed cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus in Michigan. MDHHS has issued statewide messages through the Health Alert Network encouraging healthcare providers across Michigan to assess patients for exposures associated with the risk of 2019-nCoV infection, including travel to China or close contact with a confirmed case, and for symptoms consistent with 2019-nCoV infection. This includes coughing, shortness of breath and fever.

The first U.S. case-patient was identified on Jan. 21, and had recently traveled from Wuhan, China. Since that time, additional cases have been confirmed in the United States among persons who traveled from Wuhan, and two close contacts of confirmed cases. Globally, reported illnesses in people with 2019-nCoV have ranged from mild to severe, including death.

Last week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared the coronavirus a public health emergency in the United States. In response to the evolving threat of the novel coronavirus, and to minimize the risk of the virus spreading, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has begun enforcing restrictions for all passenger flights to the United States carrying individuals who recently traveled from the People’s Republic of China. Any U.S. citizen who has been to China in the last two weeks will be diverted to one of 11 airports, including Detroit Metropolitan Airport, to be checked and potentially quarantined for an additional 14 days.

According to DHS, as of Sunday, Feb. 2, U.S. citizens who have been in Hubei province within 14 days of their return will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine to ensure they are provided proper medical care and health screening. U.S. citizens who have been in other areas of mainland China within 14 days of their return will undergo proactive entry health screening and up to 14 days of self-quarantine with health monitoring to ensure they have not contracted the virus and do not pose a public health risk.

Generally, foreign nationals (other than immediate family of U.S. citizens, permanent residents and flight crew) who have traveled in China within 14 days of their arrival will be denied entry into the United States.

As this is a rapidly changing situation, more information about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak and current recommendations will be updated at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC. gov/Coronavirus.

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