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Sugarloaf Mountain closed through April 13

MARQUETTE — Area closures keep coming.

The Sugarloaf Mountain Natural Area in Marquette Township will be closed through at least April 13 to minimize the unintentional spread of COVID-19 since maintaining at least 6 feet between individuals from other households on stair structures and observation decks is not practical, according to a news release from Marquette County.

Updates will be posted on the county’s website at www.mqtco.org.

Kewadin Casinos, based in Sault Ste. Marie, announced it has decided to extend the temporary closure of all five casinos. The casinos and attached hotels will remain closed until April 30. Team members will continue to be paid during the planned closure.

Kewadin Casinos employs about 900 full- and part-time team members.

“Kewadin Casinos is a committed community partner and, as such, we take our responsibility in assisting the stop of coronavirus seriously,” said Allen Kerridge, Kewadin Casinos interim CEO, in a news release. “We appreciate the Tribal Board of Directors’ support of our team and their belief that the best choice we can all make at this time is to ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe.'”

Kewadin Casinos is run by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

The “Sawyer Counts” community event set for Saturday and the Sawyer Community Alliance meeting scheduled for Monday have been canceled.

Assistance still offered

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office announced that about 20 members of the Michigan National Guard will assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency with logistics support to establish a Federal Medical Station at TCF Center in Detroit, formerly known as Cobo Hall and Cobo Center.

Michigan National Guard members will augment FEMA, assisting with inventory of equipment and supplies as the FMS is established as an ad hoc site to receive COVID-19 cases during a period of surge demand. The FMS received by the state of Michigan supports the 1,000-bed alternate care site being established at the TCF Center in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are expanding coverage for services related to COVID-19 by waiving all member copays, deductibles and coinsurance for COVID-19 testing and treatment. The coverage applies to commercial PPO, Medical Advantage PPO and HMO plans

NMU update

In a Tuesday update on its coronavirus-related page, nmu.edu/covid, Northern Michigan University President Fritz Erickson said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed two supplemental bills that will provide more funding to combat the crisis, including funding for medical supplies.

The “not so good news,” he said, was that NMU’s career-tech and engineering facility renovation project at the Jacobetti Complex was among the $80 million reprioritized to support COVID-19 mitigation.

“This is a setback, but a necessary one in the face of the crisis,” Erickson wrote. “To everyone who worked so hard to get the project’s funding to the Governor’s desk for signing, thank you for your efforts. They are not wasted. When the crisis has passed, work on this project will resume.”

Erickson also noted the new Wildcat 2020 Student Relief Fund has been created to provide immediate and impactful support to students experiencing financial difficulties related to the COVID-19 situation.

To donate to the fund, visit foundation.nmu.edu. To contact the NMU Foundation, email 906-227-2627 or email Foundtn@nmu.edu.

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