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COVID-19 Bulletin (Friday)

A digest of press releases, updates and debunked rumors concerning the progress of prevention and treatment for COVID-19. Complete versions of many of these releases are available at mininggazette.com. For current and up-to-date information regarding the Coronavirus visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus or CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Wednesday

– Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-16 to expand the capacity for child care services for health care workers, first responders, and other members of the essential workforce providing critical infrastructure to Michiganders during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. The order provides temporary and limited relief from certain regulatory restrictions regarding child care services and facilitates the use of certain property for child care services. 

– The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has closed shooting ranges and will restrict general public walk-in traffic at facilities statewide. The restrictions took effect at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 19. Fishing and hunting licenses, camping reservations and other items will remain available for purchase online. Hunting and fishing guides and digests are also available online. Burn permits are available free at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit. The affected DNR offices will be open by appointment only to customers who need services such as obtaining hunting, fishing and charter licenses. Regular deliveries will continue.

– Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced today the call up of the Michigan Army National Guard to assist the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services with assembling and loading critical personal protective gear, such as gloves, gowns, and face shields. Once packaged, MDHHS will deliver the supplies to various local public health departments.

– Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel took her first action against an individual selling high-priced products online through eBay as her department amps up efforts to pursue price-gougers.  Meanwhile, the number of price-gouging complaints related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) submitted to the Michigan Department of Attorney General continues to grow.

– Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-15 to order a temporarily change to the Open Meetings Act to allow public bodies to conduct their meetings electronically, while also facilitating public participation, until April 15, 2020 at 11:59PM. 

– The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) is limiting some non-essential services in order to divert staff to COVID-19 response activities and limit general traffic within facilities. Clinic services will be by appointment only and home visits will be temporarily suspended. Environmental health programs can be accessed online at www.wuphd.org. To date, no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the five counties covered by the WUPHD.

– The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program is now offering a free, online procurement platform to assist suppliers of critical health and human services across a broad range of categories access critical supplies and products as they respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. The platform will make virtual introductions between vetted businesses within the state providing supplies including food, medical devices, paper products, cleaning equipment and more.

– On Tuesday, the Postal Service announced it has so far experienced only minor operational impacts in the United States as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They do continue to have a temporary suspension of the guarantee on Priority Mail Express International destined for China and Hong Kong. The CDC, the World Health Organization, and the Surgeon General have indicated that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.

– Walmart U.S. stores will adjust operating hours to 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. This will further help associates restock the shelves for customers while continuing to clean and sanitize the store. We know our older customers could be more vulnerable to the coronavirus and to better support them, Walmart is offering special shopping hours. From March 24 through April 28, Walmart stores will host an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday for customers aged 60 and older. This will start one hour before the store opens. Our Pharmacies and Vision Centers will also be open during this time.

– Tadych’s Econofoods said their 24-hour stores will continue to keep business hours as usual while accommodating everyone’s needs. They are also stepping up cleanings, providing hand sanitizer and other health services to team members and suspending self-services like bakery items and deli cases.

Thursday

– The Island Resort & Casino will officially close at 12 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, through Monday, April 6.

– Scholastic has created a free website with videos, stories and challenges for kids. Visit www.scholastic.com/learnathome for up to three hours of learning experiences per day that include virtual field trips, video interviews and more.

– The Michigan Department of Transportation reminded travelers via Twitter that restrooms at currently open Michigan rest areas remain open (there are a few rest areas still closed for winter in the UP and northern LP). Only the 14 Welcome Center lobbies in rest areas across the state are closed.

– Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning that scammers are spoofing phone numbers of at least one local public health department and calling residents to offer medication while asking for their Medicaid and Medicare numbers for billing purposes. Incoming calls to the local health department are then jamming up phonelines and delaying official business in responding to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  

– The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) reports that as of this morning there have been just over 50 people tested in the five county area for the COVID-19 virus, with no positives to report as of yet.

– The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced they are waiving the need for a Recreation Passport for entry at state parks and other destinations. Public contact areas (restroom buildings, shooting ranges, visitor centers) at many DNR-managed facilities remain temporarily closed. No matter how you enjoy the outdoors, the DNR urges you to practice effective “social distancing” and other measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

– Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced today the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved her request for a statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) declaration, opening the opportunity to small businesses to access low-interest loans from the SBA. The application for disaster loan assistance is available at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. For businesses looking for more information on how to apply for an SBA EIDL loan or whether it is something they should consider, visit michiganbusiness.org/covid19.

– The count of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases reported by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) today includes results from commercial and clinical labs who recently began providing COVID-19 testing. These results increased the state’s positive case count to a total of 336, up from 142. The spike in confirmed cases is anticipated to continue as testing capacity increases.

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