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New Whitmer orders impact residents, businesses in state

Second Eastwood Nursing Center employee positive for virus

MARQUETTE — Today, Michigan partially reopens after months of closures. With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-96 she signed Thursday, retail businesses and auto dealerships will reopen Tuesday by appointment as part of her MI Safe Start Plan.

Beginning May 29, the executive order also lifts the requirement that health care providers delay some nonessential medical, dental and veterinary procedures statewide. The order also authorizes small gatherings of 10 people or less effective immediately, as long as participants adhere to social distancing.

Whitmer also signed a separate order, Executive Order 2020-97, which updates a previous rule on workplace safety. Per the amended order, reopened outpatient health care facilities, including clinics, primary care physician offices and dental offices, will have to adopt strict guidelines to prevent infection, according to a government press release.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will issue guidelines to support those facilities in adopting proper safeguards. Businesses maintaining in-person activities must continue to comply with social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers, such as provide COVID-19 training to workers that covers at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and how to report unsafe working conditions.

“The data shows that Michigan is ready to phase in these sectors of our economy, but we must stay vigilant and ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our families from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a press release. “On behalf of our brave first responders on the front lines of this crisis, we must continue to all do our part by staying safer at home. We owe it to them to do what we can to stop the spread of the virus.”

Any individual able to medically tolerate a face covering must wear a covering over his or her nose and mouth-like a homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief-when in any enclosed public space. Michiganders who are not working as critical infrastructure employees or at a business that has been authorized to reopen should stay home to protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19.

“As businesses continue to reopen, it’s crucial that they adopt strict safety measures to protect their employees, customers and their families,” MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said in a press release. “I know that as medical professionals begin offering nonessential procedures again, they will do everything in their power to protect patients and their families from COVID-19. I will continue to work with Gov. Whitmer and our partners across Michigan to protect our families and lower the change of a second wave.”

Second case of COVID-19 at Eastwood Nursing Center

Eastwood Nursing Center Inc. reported another asymptomatic employee who has returned with a positive test result for COVID-19 today in a Facebook post.

The care facility has 81 of its 85 residents test results back and all have been negative so far, the Facebook post states. The two of the four remaining tests were not obtained until Tuesday and the other two were taken Thursday.

The new case is a direct care worker, who had no known contact with the other employee who tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are obviously still waiting on test results for many of our employees as we sent out another 72 swabs today to the lab some of which are already second round tests from employees who were part of the voluntary tests last week. We have plenty of swabs to begin our second round of resident testing next week and we will be continuing with a second round of testing on our employee’s as well as continuing to test all employees on a weekly basis,” the Facebook post states.

Marquette County greenspaces, parks to open

With the move of CRI Region 8, or Upper Peninsula, to Stage 4 in the Michigan Safe Start Plan that launches today, parks and greenspaces will open in Marquette County, the city of Marquette, the city of Negaunee, the city of Ishpeming, Chocolay Township, Marquette Township, Sands Township, Negaunee Township and Ishpeming Township.

In Marquette, the reopening will include walking and biking in all city parks, including Presque Isle Park. Playgrounds and restrooms will remain closed as well as city offices, which includes city hall and the Municipal Service Center. Sugarloaf Mountain will open today, with social distancing and hand sanitizing signage installed at the trailhead.

Ball fields, tennis courts, pickle ball courts or play equipment in Chocolay Township will remain closed due to required additional maintenance.

Marquette Charter Township and Negaunee Township parks and greenspaces will open for public use, except the climbing structure and pavilions per executive order restrictions. Buildings and offices will also remain closed until further notice.

Each locale may enforce more specific restrictions in regards to playgrounds and ballfields. Officials urge people to be respectful and practice proper social distancing while utilizing greenspaces and park facilities.

For additional questions about a facility, contact your local municipality.

State police stress safety over holiday weekend with reopening

With Executive Order 2020-92 that allows for the reopening of bars and restaurants subject to capacity restraints for Regions 6 and 8 beginning today, Michigan State Police advise individuals to be safe, practice social distancing, not drink and make sure to wear a seatbelt over the holiday weekend.

Region 6 includes 17 counties in Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula and Region 8 includes all 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula. Though many people are excited to visit friends and family along with visiting their favorite establishments, MSP encourages people to be mindful of drunk driving. MSP will have extra patrols out over the Memorial Day weekend targeting impaired driving, aggressive/reckless driving along with seatbelt-use enforcement.

Whitmer gives Michigan counties authority to provide COVID-19 emergency relief for veterans

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is allowing Michigan counties the option of using state County Veteran Service Fund grants directly for COVID-19 emergency assistance to veterans and their families.

Facilitated by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, the action will allow veterans in participating counties to make vehicle and home repairs, pay medical expenses, buy groceries and personal care items and meet other needs determined by emergency. With the effort of the County Veteran Service Fund Emergency Relief, MVAA has also partnered with Midwest retailer Meijer to provide grocery vouchers to veterans in participating counties, according to a State Emergency Operations Center news release.

As the state’s coordinating agency for Michigan’s more than 550,000 veterans and their families, the MVAA facilitates $6.4 million in CVSF grants to County Veterans Service Offices. The relief is available to counties that were previously approved for CVSF grants but now want to amend the grants to offer emergency relief directly to veterans. Some counties were slated to spend CVSF grants on veteran outreach and activities but were unable due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The emergency relief is available to counties that either did not qualify or chose not to apply for CVSF grants. Counties also have the option of administering the CVSF-ER grant themselves or having MVAA act as their fiduciary and administer the funds directly, according to the press release.

“The County Veteran Service Fund Emergency Relief program highlights our commitment to ensure that the needs of our veterans and their families continue to be met during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” MVAA Director Zaneta Adams said in a press release. “This program will get much-needed assistance directly into the hands of veterans, either through the County Veterans Services Offices or through the MVAA, which is available to veterans and their families 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MICH-VET.”

MVAA is teaming up with Meijer to offer $50 and $100 grocery vouchers to eligible veterans in counties that opt into the voucher program. The vouchers can only be utilized to purchase food, paper products, laundry and household cleaning products, health and and beauty care items and pet food. In counties where MVAA has been granted permission to act as fiduciary, MVAA will distribute vouchers directly to veterans with a voucher limit of $500, no more than $250 per month.

For counties interested in applying for a CVSF-ER grant, contact MVAA’s Karen Rowlader at RowladerK@michigan.gov or Marie Douville at DouvilleM@ michigan.gov.

Whitmer signs executive order expands protections for residents, employees of long-term care facilities

On Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-95 that extends and enhances protections for health and safety of residents and employees of long-term care facilities. The order expands on protections detailed in Executive Order 2020-50 and provides clear procedures for facilities and hospitals to follow when residents test positive for or experience COVID-19 symptoms. The order is effective immediately and continues through June 17.

The new order provides for a holistic decision making process so that COVID-19 affected residents will only be discharged from a hospital to a facility that is capable of safely isolating the resident, according to a government press release. The order requires all hospital discharges be made consistent with current CDC and DHHS guidance.

“The COVID-19 pandemic poses a particularly dire threat to the health and safety of residents and employees of long-term care facilities,” Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said in a press release. “This executive order will ensure residents of long-term care facilities get the care they need while mitigating the spread of COVID-19 to protect other residents and employees at the facility.”

For more information on Whitmer’s Michigan Safe Start Plan, visit michigan.gov/documents/whitmer/MI_SAFE_START_PLAN_689875_7.pdf

Jackie Jahfetson can be reached at jjahfetson@miningjournal.netBy JACKIE JAHFETSON

Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Today, Michigan partially reopens after months of closures. With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-96 she signed Thursday, retail businesses and auto dealerships will reopen Tuesday by appointment as part of her MI Safe Start Plan.

Beginning May 29, the executive order also lifts the requirement that health care providers delay some nonessential medical, dental and veterinary procedures statewide. The order also authorizes small gatherings of 10 people or less effective immediately, as long as participants adhere to social distancing.

Whitmer also signed a separate order, Executive Order 2020-97, which updates a previous rule on workplace safety. Per the amended order, reopened outpatient health care facilities, including clinics, primary care physician offices and dental offices, will have to adopt strict guidelines to prevent infection, according to a government press release.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will issue guidelines to support those facilities in adopting proper safeguards. Businesses maintaining in-person activities must continue to comply with social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers, such as provide COVID-19 training to workers that covers at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and how to report unsafe working conditions.

“The data shows that Michigan is ready to phase in these sectors of our economy, but we must stay vigilant and ensure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our families from the spread of COVID-19,” Whitmer said in a press release. “On behalf of our brave first responders on the front lines of this crisis, we must continue to all do our part by staying safer at home. We owe it to them to do what we can to stop the spread of the virus.”

Any individual able to medically tolerate a face covering must wear a covering over his or her nose and mouth-like a homemade mask, scarf, bandana or handkerchief-when in any enclosed public space. Michiganders who are not working as critical infrastructure employees or at a business that has been authorized to reopen should stay home to protect themselves and their families from the spread of COVID-19.

“As businesses continue to reopen, it’s crucial that they adopt strict safety measures to protect their employees, customers and their families,” MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said in a press release. “I know that as medical professionals begin offering nonessential procedures again, they will do everything in their power to protect patients and their families from COVID-19. I will continue to work with Gov. Whitmer and our partners across Michigan to protect our families and lower the change of a second wave.”

Second case of COVID-19 at Eastwood Nursing Center

Eastwood Nursing Center Inc. reported another asymptomatic employee who has returned with a positive test result for COVID-19 today in a Facebook post.

The care facility has 81 of its 85 residents test results back and all have been negative so far, the Facebook post states. The two of the four remaining tests were not obtained until Tuesday and the other two were taken Thursday.

The new case is a direct care worker, who had no known contact with the other employee who tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are obviously still waiting on test results for many of our employees as we sent out another 72 swabs today to the lab some of which are already second round tests from employees who were part of the voluntary tests last week. We have plenty of swabs to begin our second round of resident testing next week and we will be continuing with a second round of testing on our employee’s as well as continuing to test all employees on a weekly basis,” the Facebook post states.

Marquette County greenspaces, parks to open

With the move of CRI Region 8, or Upper Peninsula, to Stage 4 in the Michigan Safe Start Plan that launches today, parks and greenspaces will open in Marquette County, the city of Marquette, the city of Negaunee, the city of Ishpeming, Chocolay Township, Marquette Township, Sands Township, Negaunee Township and Ishpeming Township.

In Marquette, the reopening will include walking and biking in all city parks, including Presque Isle Park. Playgrounds and restrooms will remain closed as well as city offices, which includes city hall and the Municipal Service Center. Sugarloaf Mountain will open today, with social distancing and hand sanitizing signage installed at the trailhead.

Ball fields, tennis courts, pickle ball courts or play equipment in Chocolay Township will remain closed due to required additional maintenance.

Marquette Charter Township and Negaunee Township parks and greenspaces will open for public use, except the climbing structure and pavilions per executive order restrictions. Buildings and offices will also remain closed until further notice.

Each locale may enforce more specific restrictions in regards to playgrounds and ballfields. Officials urge people to be respectful and practice proper social distancing while utilizing greenspaces and park facilities.

For additional questions about a facility, contact your local municipality.

State police stress safety over holiday weekend with reopening

With Executive Order 2020-92 that allows for the reopening of bars and restaurants subject to capacity restraints for Regions 6 and 8 beginning today, Michigan State Police advise individuals to be safe, practice social distancing, not drink and make sure to wear a seatbelt over the holiday weekend.

Region 6 includes 17 counties in Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula and Region 8 includes all 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula. Though many people are excited to visit friends and family along with visiting their favorite establishments, MSP encourages people to be mindful of drunk driving. MSP will have extra patrols out over the Memorial Day weekend targeting impaired driving, aggressive/reckless driving along with seatbelt-use enforcement.

Whitmer gives Michigan counties authority to provide COVID-19 emergency relief for veterans

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is allowing Michigan counties the option of using state County Veteran Service Fund grants directly for COVID-19 emergency assistance to veterans and their families.

Facilitated by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, the action will allow veterans in participating counties to make vehicle and home repairs, pay medical expenses, buy groceries and personal care items and meet other needs determined by emergency. With the effort of the County Veteran Service Fund Emergency Relief, MVAA has also partnered with Midwest retailer Meijer to provide grocery vouchers to veterans in participating counties, according to a State Emergency Operations Center news release.

As the state’s coordinating agency for Michigan’s more than 550,000 veterans and their families, the MVAA facilitates $6.4 million in CVSF grants to County Veterans Service Offices. The relief is available to counties that were previously approved for CVSF grants but now want to amend the grants to offer emergency relief directly to veterans. Some counties were slated to spend CVSF grants on veteran outreach and activities but were unable due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The emergency relief is available to counties that either did not qualify or chose not to apply for CVSF grants. Counties also have the option of administering the CVSF-ER grant themselves or having MVAA act as their fiduciary and administer the funds directly, according to the press release.

“The County Veteran Service Fund Emergency Relief program highlights our commitment to ensure that the needs of our veterans and their families continue to be met during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” MVAA Director Zaneta Adams said in a press release. “This program will get much-needed assistance directly into the hands of veterans, either through the County Veterans Services Offices or through the MVAA, which is available to veterans and their families 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MICH-VET.”

MVAA is teaming up with Meijer to offer $50 and $100 grocery vouchers to eligible veterans in counties that opt into the voucher program. The vouchers can only be utilized to purchase food, paper products, laundry and household cleaning products, health and and beauty care items and pet food. In counties where MVAA has been granted permission to act as fiduciary, MVAA will distribute vouchers directly to veterans with a voucher limit of $500, no more than $250 per month.

For counties interested in applying for a CVSF-ER grant, contact MVAA’s Karen Rowlader at RowladerK@michigan.gov or Marie Douville at DouvilleM@ michigan.gov.

Whitmer signs executive order expands protections for residents, employees of long-term care facilities

On Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-95 that extends and enhances protections for health and safety of residents and employees of long-term care facilities. The order expands on protections detailed in Executive Order 2020-50 and provides clear procedures for facilities and hospitals to follow when residents test positive for or experience COVID-19 symptoms. The order is effective immediately and continues through June 17.

The new order provides for a holistic decision making process so that COVID-19 affected residents will only be discharged from a hospital to a facility that is capable of safely isolating the resident, according to a government press release. The order requires all hospital discharges be made consistent with current CDC and DHHS guidance.

“The COVID-19 pandemic poses a particularly dire threat to the health and safety of residents and employees of long-term care facilities,” Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said in a press release. “This executive order will ensure residents of long-term care facilities get the care they need while mitigating the spread of COVID-19 to protect other residents and employees at the facility.”

For more information on Whitmer’s Michigan Safe Start Plan, visit michigan.gov/documents/whitmer/MI_SAFE_START_PLAN_689875_7.pdf

Jackie Jahfetson can be reached at jjahfetson@miningjournal.net.

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