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State marks milestone of 7 million vaccine doses administered

MARQUETTE — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist on Monday issued statements as Michigan was set to surpass 7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered.

“We’ve put shots in arms of one in two Michiganders 16 and up and over one in three are fully vaccinated, including two in three seniors,” Whitmer said. “Our rollout continues to speed up. We administered 6 million doses in just over four months.”

She cautioned that as the state gets closer to the goal of vaccinating 70% of Michiganders 16 and up, the fight against COVID-19 continues.

“Our case count and hospitalization rates are a reminder that we must continue following basic public health protocols we know work: masks, social distancing and hand washing,” Whitmer said. “The way to put this pandemic behind us, however, is to get vaccinated. The vaccine is the most effective way to protect you, your family and your community and get us back to normal sooner.”

To date, 50% of state residents have received at least one dose, with 38% of state residents being fully vaccinated, moving the state closer to its goal of vaccinating at least 70% of Michiganders ages 16 and older as soon as possible, the governor’s office said.

“We can end this virus on our terms by ensuring that everyone eligible to receive a vaccine gets one,” Gilchrist said. “The COVID-19 vaccine has been tested for safety and is trusted by doctors. From smallpox to polio and now COVID, vaccines have a long history of hope and healing. The COVID-19 vaccine is our best shot to being free from this pandemic, and the quickest way for our lives to return to normal is for everyone to get vaccinated.”

Travel Points extended

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation and select Michigan airports, are expanding the Travel Points Testing program to additional Welcome Centers in downstate Clare and New Buffalo, the State Emergency Operations Center reported.

The points bring antigen COVID-19 testing to locations with high volumes of travel.

These two new sites are in addition to the currently operating testing sites at the downstate Dundee and Monroe Welcome Centers. A site also is operating at the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City.

Insurance is not required, and results can be obtained via text, email or uploaded to the traveler’s patient portal.

Additional sites will be announced as they are confirmed.

Nessel warns about scam

Michigan Attorney General Nessel is warning Michiganders to beware of scammers reaching out to loved ones of COVID-19 victims offering to register them for funeral assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

According to a fraud alert from FEMA, the agency does not contact people before they register for assistance.

The attorney general’s office said FEMA is offering funds to help pay for funeral expenses that people have paid since Jan. 20, 2020 for loved ones who died of COVID-19. However, fraudsters are targeting potential applicants and offering to register them for the FEMA funeral assistance program to steal personal data.

As a result, the attorney general’s office reissued a consumer alert on government imposter scams.

“I’ll say it again: Bad actors will do whatever it takes to make a quick buck or steal your personal information and that includes taking advantage of your grief,” Nessel said in a statement. “FEMA will not contact you until you have called their agency or applied for assistance. Anyone who contacts you unsolicited and claims to be a government employee or from FEMA is a scammer.”

To avoid being scammed, the attorney general’s office has issued these tips:

≤ FEMA will not contact individuals until they have called FEMA or have applied for assistance.

≤ The government won’t ask individuals to pay anything to get this financial help.

≤ The government won’t call, text, email, or contact people on social media and ask for their Social Security, bank account or credit card number.

≤ Individuals are advised to not provide their own or deceased loved ones’ personal or financial information to anyone who contacts them out of the blue.

Anyone who receives a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from FEMA should hang up and report it to the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or the National Center for Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net

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