COVID-19 Update: 40% Unemployment in Detroit, Federal Government Awards Combined $11.5M in New Manufacturing and Apprenticeship Grants, and More

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.
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map of Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge, as of June 30

Here is a roundup of the latest news concerning the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to announcements from local, state, and federal governments, as well as international channels. To share a business or nonprofit story, please send us a message.

Unemployment Remains High in Detroit
Four out of 10 working Detroiters remain out of work, and many residents say they feel the state is reopening too soon, according to a study from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The survey, which was conducted between May 28 and June 11, showed the unemployment rate in Detroit at around 45 percent, similar to last month’s estimates. It is the third rapid response COVID-19 survey from the U-M’s Detroit Metro Area Communities Study.

“The unemployment rate in the city of Detroit remains alarmingly high and has not changed very much in the past month,” says Jeffrey Morenoff, one of the faculty research leads for DMACS, professor of public policy and sociology, and director of the Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research at the Ann Arbor campus. “Also, 56 percent of those not currently working believe it is very unlikely they will return to work in the next month.”

Forty-one percent of working Detroiters say they’ve lost their jobs because of COVID-19. Of those who have lost their jobs, 73 percent say they have applied for unemployment benefits, and more than half who have applied say they have received unemployment benefits.

“We find that a substantial number of people are falling behind on their bills and facing financially precarious situations,” says Lydia Wileden, a doctoral candidate at U-M who analyzed the DMACS COVID-19 survey data. “One in five Detroit households say they have not paid at least one household bill in the past month, and 44 percent say they are concerned about facing one or more hardships such as being evicted, having their utilities shut off or going bankrupt in the coming months.”

Survey results also suggest that many families are struggling with rising costs and food shortages. Sixty-five percent of Detroit households report spending more at the grocery store in the last month, while 71 percent of those who report not having enough to eat in the past week point to the prohibitively high cost of food as a cause of their insecurity.

Though many Detroit households continue to face difficult economic conditions brought on by the pandemic, survey results suggest that residents perceive the pandemic to be less serious now than in previous months. Sixty-five percent of Detroiters say the pandemic is very serious for them personally, compared to three-quarters of respondents in the previous survey wave. Black residents and those who earn lower incomes or have lost their job in the pandemic are much more likely to still view the pandemic as very serious than other Detroiters.

The survey also found a drop in concerns about a number of behaviors thought to increase the risk of contracting the virus. Detroiters believe activities such as dining in at restaurants, playing on playground equipment, and attending large gatherings to be safer than they did in prior survey waves. The proportion of Detroiters who viewed visiting friends in their homes as being very unsafe fell from 43 percent to 25 percent between survey waves.

At the same time, 56 percent of respondents reported feeling that restrictions on public activities have been lifted too soon, while only 12 percent feel they have not been lifted soon enough. Even among Detroiters who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, a majority feels restrictions are being lifted too soon.

Younger residents are more likely than older residents to feel that restrictions have not been lifted soon enough. At the same time, Black Detroiters, who have disproportionately been victims of COVID-19 and are four times as likely as white residents to know someone who died from the virus, are more likely to feel that restrictions are being lifted too soon.

Other key findings include:

  • Nearly half of Black Detroiters and a third of Latino Detroiters say they have lost their job due to the pandemic compared to just 22 percent of white Detroiters.
  • 71 percent of Detroiters report receiving a stimulus check, while 12 percent are still waiting for their check and another 12 percent say they do not expect a check.
  • 20 percent of Detroiters say they have been tested for COVID-19. Of those, 84 percent report a negative test, 8 percent report a positive test and 9 percent are still waiting for results. Overall, 4 percent of Detroiters say they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 8 percent say they have sought medical care for the virus.
  • 38 percent of Detroiters report they have delayed medical treatment for a new or existing condition while 15 percent report they have received medical treatment in spite of the pandemic.
  • Half of Detroiters believe that those who test positive for COVID-19 should be required to engage in contact tracing while 47 percent say they would be willing to engage in contact tracing.

To see the full results of the survey, visit here.

Federal Government – MTC in Plymouth Township to Receive $2.1M Grant
The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center in Plymouth Township will receive a $2.1-million federal grant to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers in Michigan respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are from the CARES Act, which was passed and signed into law in late March.

The center is part of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program, a public-private partnership with centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the MEP is dedicated to serving small- and medium-sized manufacturers by offering services like leadership trainings, technology integration, skill development, and cybersecurity assessments.

“As Michigan’s manufacturers reopen or ramp up production, it is more important than ever that these businesses have access to proven resources to guide and support them along the way. This grant will enable us to provide necessary and beneficial services which will strengthen their operations and efforts that are critical to growing our economy,” says Mike Coast, president of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center.

The grant will be used to provide services that directly support manufacturers’ ability to respond to the coronavirus and improve their competitiveness as the marketplace adapts to COVID-19, including:

  • Developing distance learning active webinars that will be used as a continuance venue to engage manufacturers.
  • A planned focus, utilizing expert service providers, will be in place to assist manufactures recover from workforce and supply chain interruptions.
  • Maintaining expert resources to assess the operating needs of manufactures; scout for manufactures that can produce critically needed medical equipment and supplies; and organize peer-to-peer manufacturing consultative services.
  • Provide remote no-cost assessments to determine the solutions to meet manufacturers challenges statewide.
  • Serve as a conduit to connect manufacturers to state and local resources necessary to sustain operations.
  • Reach out to manufactures throughout the state, including rural and urban areas, to share resources, assist with Critical Manufacturing Sector or Critical Sector Supplier qualification, and discuss current challenges and potential solutions.
  • Contact cities and counties and connect procurement personnel needing materials to capable manufacturers.
  • Offer low- to no-cost cybersecurity evaluations to manufacturers with a focus on the defense, food and health care supply chains.
  • Partner with Workforce Development Boards to deliver layoff aversion services.

Federal Government – Labor Department Awards State $9.4M in Apprenticeship Grants
The U.S. Department of Labor awarded $80,639,041 in grants, including $9.4 million to Michigan, to support activities that improve states’ ability to serve, improve, and expand the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) model.

The “Building State Capacity to Expand Apprenticeship through Innovation” grants support statewide RAP expansion through a two-tiered funding system that provides states with maximum flexibility to address local apprenticeship needs while enhancing the focus on employer engagement, performance, and positive outcomes for apprentices. Administered by the Department’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), the department awarded grants to 42 states and U.S. territories.

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity received $449,973 in Tier I, and $8,997,886 in Tier II funding.

“Registered Apprenticeship Programs provide workers with the right skills needed in today’s labor market and can have a positive impact in fixing the skills gap that employers face,” says John Pallasch, assistant secretary for employment and training. “This will be a great opportunity for young people who want to combine on-the-job training with relevant classroom education, while getting paid at the same time.

“We thought it necessary to reward states that have demonstrated excellent performance in one of the department’s key policy objectives,” Pallasch adds. “The department believes positive outcomes for those we serve must carry more weight as we look to award funding.”

In addition to Tier I funding, 12 states received additional funds under Tier II, ranging from $3 million to $9 million, based on the number and quality of Tier II applications received, as well as strong evidence of past performance in expanding RAPs; other factors included geographic, industry, and Tier II goal distribution. With these additional funds, the selected states will go above-and-beyond supporting the state’s basic Registered Apprenticeship structures in the state. These activities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Expanding registered apprenticeships in health care, mental health care, addiction treatment, or alternative pain management occupations providing support to individuals living in rural areas.
  • Incorporating specific strategies to support or expand Registered Apprenticeship opportunities among all workers, including women, minorities, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and individuals with a criminal record.
  • Supporting system alignment and partnership through the establishment or expansion of the role of the business service representatives/apprenticeship navigators with the promotion of apprenticeship to partner systems.
  • Developing innovative technical assistance strategies/approaches for Registered Apprenticeship sponsors.
  • Establishing an employer incentive plan to expand or scale Registered Apprenticeships.
  • Identifying specific strategies to support engagement with small businesses in nontraditional industries in Registered Apprenticeships.
  • Launching or expanding sector strategies to expand RAPs to new industries and/or new or non-traditional occupations in existing sectors.

State Government – Finding a COVID-19 Test Made Easier with Web Tool
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is making it easier than ever for residents to find nearby COVID-19 testing sites and to register to be tested – whether they are internet-savvy or prefer to use the telephone.

MDHHS has launched a new online test finder tool at michigan.gov/coronavirustest with filters that allow users to find the closest testing sites that meet their needs. Using these new filters, Michiganders can locate test sites that are no cost, that test people who do not have symptoms, that do not require a doctor’s order, or are for uninsured individuals. For select testing sites, users can schedule an appointment online.

The department also announced it is working with Michigan 211 to help residents find test sites and register for testing over the telephone. Anyone who calls the Michigan COVID-19 hotline Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 888-535-6136, and presses 1 will be transferred automatically to a 211 operator who can help the caller find testing sites and, for select sites, schedule an appointment.

“As Michigan works to expand testing sites, it’s also important to make it as easy as possible for people to identify testing locations and simplify their testing experience,” says Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive. “We continue to work to eliminate barriers to testing so we can identify and contain COVID-19 as much as possible.”

In recent weeks Michigan has expanded its criteria for COVID-19 testing to encourage even people who are not showing symptoms to be tested – such as those who are at risk because they work in a congregate facility or other high-risk setting (such as a nursing home, jail, prison, homeless shelter, assisted living facility) or frequently interact with the public.

Michigan residents should immediately get tested if they feel sick, if someone close to them feels sick or if they work outside the home. There are more than 300 test sites in Michigan, including many sites offering testing at no cost to the patient. Test sites operate in primary care settings, federally qualified health centers, pharmacies, urgent care, hospitals, and other locations. Many sites provide drive-thru or walk up testing as well.

Taubman Reopens Twelve Oaks Mall and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets
Bloomfield Hills-based Taubman Centers Inc. has announced that 100 percent of its operating properties in the U.S. and Asia – including Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills – have reopened.

Most of the company’s U.S. centers, including the Michigan properties, were temporarily closed on March 19 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and have reopened gradually using enhanced safety protocols, in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws.

“Nearly 85 percent of stores in our portfolio have reopened, with more opening every day,” says Robert S. Taubman, chairman, president, and CEO of the company. “We are pleased to safely welcome customers back, and we are encouraged by the results we are seeing.”

In addition to the Company’s 21 centers in major markets across the U.S., the company’s three Asia shopping centers, two in China and one in South Korea, have been open and operating since the end of February. Taken together, about 95 percent of stores in Asia have reopened and comparable sales per square foot are approaching 2019 levels.

“We were encouraged by the quick rebound of our centers in Asia, and are seeing very positive progress in the U.S.,” says Taubman.

Beaumont Opens Second Urgent Care Facility in Royal Oak
Beaumont Urgent Care has opened a second location in Royal Oak at 309 E. 11 Mile Road in downtown Royal Oak. The newest location is open seven-days-a-week, including holidays, and can be reached at 248-965-8806.  Regular business hours are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The first Beaumont Urgent Care in Royal Oak opened last August at 30955 Woodward Ave. in Woodward Corners.

The new 11 Mile Road site allows patients to access providers and facilities in the Beaumont Network quickly for minor injuries and illnesses at a reduced cost compared to a more expensive emergency room visit. For fast, efficient care, services like an in-house laboratory, X-ray and fiberglass splinting also are available.

All Beaumont Urgent Care locations now are offering COVID-19 testing, including antibody testing. In addition, the medical team can provide return-to-work services for businesses, schools, and other organizations looking to safely reopen.

Services include: exposure management/strategic planning, employee screenings, return-to-work determinations and a free symptom checker tool that allows employees to self-screen before each workday.

“Beaumont is working with WellStreet, a company experienced with running patient-focused urgent cares,” says Dr. Bernice Sessa, medical director of Beaumont Urgent Care. “We are eager to serve area patients and families by providing quality care on their terms, with easy access at lower cost.”

Along with in-person visits to a Beaumont urgent care location, virtual visits also are available with immediate access through a live video chat using a phone, tablet, or camera-enabled computer, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

For more information, visit here.

In Related News: Beaumont Health has signed an agreement with NorthStar Anesthesia to provide anesthesia and pain services at the health system’s Grosse Pointe, Royal Oak, and Troy campuses beginning Jan. 1, 2021.

The agreement is part of the health system’s adaptation of a new anesthesia model that reflects industry best practices. Across the nation, CRNAs, and anesthesiologists typically work for the same organization, either a hospital/health system or an independent anesthesia provider. As Beaumont adopts the new model at Grosse Pointe, Royal Oak, and Troy, CRNAs currently employed by Beaumont will have the opportunity to transition to NorthStar Anesthesia.

Detroit Historical Museum to Reopen to Public July 10
In coordination with the other cultural institutions in its midtown Detroit neighborhood, the Detroit Historical Museum will reopen to the public on Friday, July 10 at 10 a.m. The museum will then operate with abbreviated hours (Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m.-5 p.m.), with enhanced health and safety measures, including:

  • One-way entry and exit procedures.
  • Guests ages 3+ must wear masks at all times inside the building.
  • New wayfinding and one-way routes through the museum.
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfection of public areas and hand sanitizing stations throughout the museum.
  • Posted guidelines for social distancing.
  • Cashless and touchless transactions wherever possible.

The museum recommends purchasing tickets in advance of a visit here. For more information, visit here.

Kirk Gibson Foundation Planning Virtual Option for Golf Fundraiser
Since the 5th Annual Kirk Gibson Golf Classic, staged by the Kirk Gibson Foundation for Parkinson’s on Aug. 17 at Wyndgate Country Club in Rochester Hills in sold out, there is a virtual option available.

Golfers can play any course they wish between Aug. 14-17 and use the 18Birdies App. All proceeds will benefit the Kirk Gibson Foundation for Parkinson’s. Each participant will receive a Kirk Gibson Golf Classic gift bag and a link to the 5th Annual Kirk Gibson Golf Classic auction on Aug. 17. Entry fees for the virtual event range from $23 for an individual player to $1,000 for a foursome that includes one autographed baseball and gift bags for all players.

Prizes will be awarded to the foursome that beats Kirk Gibson and his team by the most strokes. Should there be a tie, a group will be drawn at random.

Participants are asked to use Eventbrite under the Kirk Gibson Golf Classic – Virtual Golf with Gibby.

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