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.
Study: Majority of Americans Would Support Second Wave Stay-at-home Order
A new study by New York-based Gale, which has an office in Detroit, reveals that 72 percent of Americans support another stay-at-home order should a second wave of COVID-19 occur this fall or winter.
Of the respondents who disagreed with a second stay-at-home order, 37 percent represented Generation X. Thirty-seven percent of respondents who disagreed say such orders infringe on their freedom.
The most recorded reaction across 900 adult respondents about reopening was “cautious” (66 percent). Baby Boomers with preexisting conditions (health risk factors such as heart conditions, immunocompromised, asthmatic, etc.) were the most cautious group at 72 percent.
“Boomer males showed they adopted the least amount of new habits and activities during isolation, with 45 percent saying they would do none of the activities listed after isolation ends, such as video chat with friends and family, order food or groceries for delivery, exercise at home, do arts, crafts, or creative projects,” say researchers. “On going back to the office, 70 percent of respondents believe people should return to their workplace by September, including about a quarter of respondents who said, ‘right now.’”
With families confined to the four walls of a home, nearly 40 percent of Millennial and Gen X mothers gave their children more screen time during isolation. Still, the data from female responders indicate they’ve been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis at greater levels than men: 70 percent said they primarily took on childcare duties. And while 36 percent of men indicated they and their spouse took on caregiving duties equally, only 16 percent of women said the same.
According to the Gale study, people are still concerned about traveling, with nearly two-thirds (65 percent) noting they won’t be taking trips by plane this year. Of those who are unsure or will not travel by plane this year, close proximity to other fliers, the cleanliness of planes, and crowded airports were the highest concern factors. That said, about 62 percent are considering a vacation or recreational trip by car this year.
Key findings of the study can be found here. The full results are available by request.
Oakland County Hosting Small Business Grant Webinar Today at 2 p.m.
Oakland County’s Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs is hosting a webinar today at 2 p.m. to inform small businesses about the Michigan Small Business Restart Program, the PPE Resilience Grant, and the Oakland Together Small Business Recovery Grant.
To participate in the webinar, click here or call 571-317-3112 and use the access code 275-154-381.
The Oakland Together Small Business Recovery Grant comes from nearly $30 million in CARES Act funding to help small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications close at 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 24. To apply, visit here.
The Michigan Small Business Restart Program stems from Michigan’s $100 million CARES Act allotment, of which $11 million is going to Oakland County. Applications for this program close on Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 11:59 p.m. To apply for grants up to $20,000, visit here.
The PPE Resilience Grant program was initiated by Oakland County in partnership with Macomb and Oakland counties to enhance the emergency response readiness of the counties’ small and medium enterprises through the application of advanced digital technologies. To apply, visit here. Email Dom Holmes at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Employment Assistance for Health Care Professionals
Health care workers are in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially at long-term care facilities. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Connect to Care website can help those workers find and apply for jobs.
The website matches job seekers in the health care field with licensed long-term care facilities that need to immediately hire for long- and short-term positions, including certified nursing assistants, registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses.
Long-term care facilities also need direct-care workers – also known as personal care assistants, paid caregivers, home health aides, personal care aides, and nursing assistants – to assist people who are sick, injured, living with physical or mental disabilities, or who cannot care for themselves.
“Long-term care facilities in Michigan faced significant staffing challenges prior to the pandemic,” says Dr. Alexis Travis, senior deputy director of the Aging and Adult Services Agency at MDHHS. “While we recognize there are often staffing challenges within nursing facilities, we know that support is needed now more than ever.”
Partnership Brings Testing to Detroit Senior Facilities and Other Vulnerable Populations
Southfield business transformation company Altimetrik, Henry Ford Health System, the Vattikuti Foundation, and the city of Detroit have provided more than 20,000 onsite COVID-19 tests to residents in 163 of Detroit’s senior and congregate living facilities, as well as the city’s first responders and essential workers.
The effort was made possible by a $400,000 donation from Altimetrik and the Vattikuti Foundation in April.
“I am deeply appreciative to Altimetrik, the Vattikuti Foundation, and Henry Ford Health System for making it possible for us to test residents at all of our senior buildings in the comfort of their own homes,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Thanks to their critical support, Detroit has been a national leader in protecting its most vulnerable citizens from the spread of COVID-19.”
The partnership also helped to establish relationships with affordable housing facilities for seniors in Detroit, which will continue to be critical in addressing the spread of COVID-19, officials says. Staying ahead of outbreaks in congregate settings, specifically senior apartments, is an important part of preventing massive outbreaks within these facilities.
While COVID-19 testing at senior and congregate living facilities has been a major focus of the partnership, rapid testing for first responders and other essential city employees also was an element. Detroit was the first city in the country to secure the Abbott ID-Now instruments and testing kits, which produce results in 15 minutes. In total, more than 10,000 on-site rapid tests were performed on first responders and essential city workers at a clinic set up inside the Detroit Health Department headquarters.
“Protecting our most vulnerable populations, first responders, and essential city employees is not only the right thing to do, but also key to mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on all Detroiters and health institutions,” says Raj Vattikuti, CEO of Altimetrik and the Vattikuti Foundation. “The processes and procedures developed and fine-tuned through this partnership will allow our communities to be better prepared should a future wave or surge occur.”
Comerica Partners with Business Associations to Host Virtual Business Boot Camp Series
Comerica Bank and the Southwest Detroit Business Association will host two virtual Comerica Business $ense Boot Camps providing financial education resources and support to bilingual and Latinx small business owners and entrepreneurs in Detroit. The 90-minute sessions will take place July 28 and Aug. 25.
“We value small businesses and appreciate how much, as vital resources, they help communities thrive,” says Monica L. Martinez, senior vice president of national community affairs for Comerica Bank. “As a relationship bank rooted in helping businesses be successful, providing boot camps in multiple languages increases the possibility of reaching more small businesses facing many challenges, especially those obstacles imposed by the pandemic.”
The July 28 session will focus on business credit. It will begin at 6 p.m. Visit here to participate.
The Aug. 25 session, covering business insurance, also will begin at 6 p.m. Participation details will be provided at a later date.
Comerica Bank also is hosting a Business $ense Boot Camp in the Grand Rapids market on Tuesday, July 28 at 4 p.m. This session will cover business financials. Visit here to register.
Along with Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, the bank will be hosting a boot camp on forecasting cash flow on Thursday, Aug. 6 at noon. Visit here for more information.
NexCare Using UV Lighting to Combat COVID-19 in State Senior Care and Rehab Centers
NexCare Health Systems in Brighton is working with Expert Lighting Group to implement customized ultraviolet solutions as part of its strategy to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 at its 26 senior care and rehabilitation centers throughout Michigan.
“Senior care facilities have been hit very hard by COVID-19 and we are seeking additional measures to prevent the spread and protect our employees, residents and visitors,” says Mike Perry, CEO of NexCare. “We see UV lighting as a key step in our strategy to keep our facilities clean and give all who live in or enter our spaces the peace of mind.”
UV light commonly is used to disinfect air, water, and food, and has been implemented widely in hospital operating and isolation rooms, and by the water treatment industry. Ultraviolet light has been used to kill viruses and bacteria for more than 100 years, the company says.
“This light will purify the air and kill airborne pathogens helping to eliminate the transmission of illnesses like COVID-19,” says Eric Hansel, president of Expert Lighting Group. “In many cases, this technology is installed into air-handling units or the existing air ducts. That strategy allows for the air to be cleaned continuously. Employees and visitors won’t even know that it’s operating throughout the building.”
Expert Lighting Group is installing ultraviolet into NexCare’s air-handling units based on its audit of each facility, providing a customized lighting solution designed for each.
Troy Company Offers Recruiting Solution for Organizations Working from Home
Troy-based Vizi, a human resources tech company, is offering organizations that are working from home a new way to engage top talent.
Vizi creates branded, visual job descriptions for companies that it says helps bridge the gap between an in-person experience and the new, remote reality. Vizi’s visual job descriptions encourage buy-in from job seekers earlier in the candidate experience by digitally developing an emotional connection.
“While we know the digital experience can never fully replace the value of an in-person connection, it has been proven that visuals improve comprehension, increase motivation, and stimulate emotions,” says Joe O’Connor, CEO of Vizi.
A traditional, text-based job description is one dimensional and static, according to Vizi, which uses company branding and real photos and videos that showcase an organization’s people, culture, and work environment.
For more information, visit here.
Loaves for Hope Focaccia to Help Empower Women to Pursue Culinary Careers
Zaman International, a nonprofit based in Inkster, has released its Loaves for Hope Italian-style focaccia bread marking the first product created in its Culinary Arts Kitchen, which provides vocational training to women pursuing careers in the culinary arts. All proceeds from the sales will help support Zaman’s operations and programming.
“As people break bread together, they can also help break the cycle of poverty,” says Najah Bazzy, founder and CEO of Zaman. “Loaves for Hope offers delicious focaccia bread, but more importantly supports sustainable career pathways for courageous women who are trying to beat the odds by overcoming extreme poverty.”
Loaves for Hope is the first commercial product prepared and baked in Zaman’s Culinary Arts Kitchen at its Hope for Humanity Center in Inkster. Through the kitchen, Zaman offers clients hands-on instruction and training in food preparation essential to pursuing careers in the culinary arts. The classes are provided free of charge.
The bread initially will be available at the New Yasmeen Bakery on W. Warren in Dearborn, and the Saj Café and Bakery, and GreenLand Market, both on Ford Road in Dearborn Heights.
Zaman currently is fundraising to purchase an additional commercial oven and equipment as it expands its product line with the goal of achieving distribution in chain grocery stores throughout southeast Michigan. Visit here for more information.
Arts, Beats & Eats Cancelled But Shows Will Go On
Although the 2020 Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats presented by Flagstar Bank, originally scheduled for Labor Day weekend in downtown Royal Oak, has been cancelled, festival organizers still plan to bring some of the event to the public virtually and through small-scale live events.
The featured component of the 2020 event reincarnation will be “The Beats Go On…,” which seeks to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for local musicians, as well as spread the joy of music virtually and through limited capacity drive-in concerts Labor Day weekend, says Jon Witz, producer of Arts, Beats & Eats.
A donation link, which will be open from now until Sept. 3, found at artsbeatseats.com will be the conduit to help local musicians hit hard by COVID-19 and will be promoted by a major ad campaign throughout southeast Michigan. Oakland County is expected to provide financial support with seed money and/or matching funds to help out the music industry with specific support levels being announced in the near future.
In addition to this initiative, more than 400 bands across nearly 15 genres will perform virtual concerts to raise money for the cause, Aug. 27 through Sept. 3. Each virtual concert will serve as a fundraiser for the band, while bringing shows to their fans. Bands interested in joining the virtual performance line up should contact Jaime Wilkins at email@example.com.
In addition, downtown Royal Oak will host a series of live drive-in concerts from local musicians to also support the cause, Sept. 4-7, in the festival’s traditional national stage parking lot at Sixth and Main streets. Each performance will feature 30-minute sets from two Michigan bands. Each ticket admits two people per vehicle and may be purchased for $30, with revenue divided between bands performing.
For 2020, Arts, Beats & Eats has launched Art by Appointment. Patrons can preview artists’ work online and then schedule a 75-minute visit with up to 20 participating juried fine artists.
On the food front, Eats On Your Street will deliver top locally owned food trucks into Royal Oak neighborhoods and nearby communities, such as Clawson, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, and others. Staff at each stop will ensure physical distancing and mask wearing when appropriate. This opportunity is not open to the public, and neighborhood associations from Oakland County can contact the festival online to learn how to participate.
For additional information and the most recent event updates on The Beats Go On. . . and other events, visit artsbeatseats.com or call 248-541-7550.