Michigan: 10M vaccines doses given

MARQUETTE — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday announced more than 10 million primary series doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Michiganders.

The state has also administered more than 207,000 third doses to those who are immunocompromised and booster doses to eligible individuals.

To date, 68.3% of Michiganders age 16 years or older have gotten at least their first dose of one of the three vaccines, bringing the state close to its goal of 70% vaccination rate.

“As of today, Michigan has surpassed 10 million doses of hope in the form of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Thank you to the more than 5.5 million Michiganders who have gotten vaccinated to keep themselves, their families and communities safe. Whether it’s completing your first or second dose, or getting your booster or additional dose of the vaccine, I urge all eligible Michiganders to make a plan to get theirs today. The vaccine remains the best way to help us get back to normal and continue our strong economic progress.”

From January to July, unvaccinated Michiganders accounted for 98% of COVID cases, 95% of hospitalizations and 96% of deaths.

“The safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is already protecting millions of Michiganders from this deadly virus,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive, in a statement. “With the Delta variant circulating and cases of COVID-19 continuing to spread across the state, we urge all eligible Michiganders to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Bagdasarian said those who are eligible for a third dose due to being immunocompromised or a booster dose according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urged to make an appointment with their health care provider or visit their local pharmacy to maintain and increase that level of protection.

Total vaccine doses, including primary series and additional or booster doses, are: 5,967,776 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech; 3,900,419 doses of Moderna; and 352,317 doses of Johnson & Johnson, the governor’s office reported.

NICE school district

provides update

NICE Community Schools Superintendent Bryan DeAugustine, in a Friday letter to families in the school district, said it will continue to follow the public health order regarding masks as well as the advice of its attorneys.

The Marquette County Health Department has issued a mandate that requires students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade in educational institutions in the county to wear facial masks while they are in enclosed school buildings or structures.

DeAugustine said he has consulted with two legal teams on the matter, one of which works for the Michigan Association of School Boards and the other for the Thrun Law firm.

They said the MCHD masking order currently “carries the weight of law.”

“We need to follow it,” DeAugustine wrote. “If not, we (our fellow board members and I) could personally face fines and jail time for willfully disobeying a public health order.”

DeAugustine said the state of Michigan budget does not outlaw mask mandates but creates a provision for the state to withhold funding from health departments that issue masking orders. However, he pointed out that Whitmer has announced her belief that this provision violates the state constitution and is unenforceable.

The matter, he said, rests with the health department, legislature and governor.

“I know many individuals and groups do not like what is going on,” DeAugustine wrote. “I understand the counterpoints being made and the frustration and confusion being felt.

“I’ll repeat what I have said and written before: We will continue to follow the public health order and the advice of our attorneys.”

GACS hiring test coordinator

Gwinn Area Community Schools announced it is looking to hire a COVID-19 test coordinator.

This position will be responsible to coordinate, monitor and track COVID-19 testing in Gwinn High/Middle School, and Gilbert and K.I. Sawyer elementary schools, and communicate with each of the building administrators.

Job duties include:

≤ coordinating and overseeing all aspects of school-based COVID-19 screening and testing;

≤ organizing the daily spreadsheets of students scheduled for testing and reconciling them at the end of each testing day;

≤ leading the on-site protocols in the testing areas;

≤ managing test kit material inventory and ordering supplies for ongoing COVID-19 testing;

≤ maintaining contact tracing lists and updating them daily;

≤ communicating with families regarding testing and test results;

≤ communicating with the Marquette County Health Department.

Required knowledge, skills and abilities include operating a personal computer and using common office software programs such as presentations, word processing, spreadsheets and databases; understanding and interpreting complex oral instructions and/or written directions; participating in assigned projects and layout work for others; and communicating effectively, both orally and in writing.

This is a part-time, non-union position with a maximum of five hours per day.

Times are flexible in discussion with building administrators. The pay rate is $13 per hour.

Interested candidates should submit a letter of interest and completed application, which is available at www.gwinnschools.org, to: Brandon Bruce, Superintendent, 50 West M-35; PO Box 447, Gwinn, MI 49841. Applications will be accepted through Oct. 15 or until the position is filled.

Timber assistance available

Timber harvesters and haulers have until Oct. 15 to apply for a share of $200 million in federal aid for losses experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They may apply for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers program through the USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

They also may explore the PATHH toolkit at bit.ly/3Ahy287 for application information, USDA service center locations and a webinar with answers to frequently asked questions.

The PATHH program offers grants up to $125,000 for businesses in the industry that saw declines in the midst of COVID-19 in 2020.

Harvesters and haulers whose businesses experienced a gross revenue loss of at least 10% from Jan. 1 to Dec. 1, 2020, compared with the previous year, are encouraged to apply.

Businesses where 50% or more of gross revenue is derived from cutting or transporting timber or from processing wood on site in the forest are eligible.

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


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