COVID-19 Update: Majority of Michiganders Understand COVID-19 Precautions, Commission Releases Detroit Public Schools from Active State Oversight, 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.
graph of daily Michigan coronavirus cases
Courtesy of Bridge

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.

Majority of Michiganders Understand COVID-19 Precautions
Ninety-one percent of Michigan voters agree that Michiganders taking responsibility to wear masks, wash their hands, and socially distance would help hospitals fight the virus, a new statewide survey has found.

The survey also found that 85 percent of Michigan voters feel comfortable and safe visiting a health care facility for routine checkups, medical screenings, and emergency room care. The survey of 600 Michigan voters was conducted Oct. 15-19 by EPIC-MRA for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association. The survey’s margin of error was ±4 percent.

“Michigan voters clearly understand that wearing masks, physically distancing when necessary, and taking other personal safety precautions will help our state’s hospitals and frontline health care workers confront this new surge in COVID-19 cases,” says Brian Peters, CEO of MHA. “The message from this survey is clear: we need more Michigan residents to take responsibility and exercise the behaviors that will protect their families, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and communities from getting the virus. By taking those actions, hospitals and Michigan’s frontline health care workers can more effectively manage and care for those who contract COVID-19 and those who need other routine and lifesaving care.”

Chief medical officers and chief clinical officers representing 110 of 137 Michigan hospitals issued a joint statement on Oct. 22 expressing the importance of following COVID-19 safety precautions and concern regarding another hospital capacity crisis if hospitalizations continue to rise.

Similar to the results of other recent public opinion polls, the survey also found that Michigan voters continue to express caution about a new COVID-19 vaccine. Some 37 percent of voters said they would “definitely” or “probably” get the vaccine as soon as one is available, while 35 percent said they would wait to see how it works. Another 25 percent said they would “probably” or “definitely” not get the vaccine.

“The health care community is confident that a COVID-19 vaccine will only be approved for mass distribution after medical science, the world’s top doctors, and regulators have data that conclusively demonstrate its safety and efficacy,” Peters says. “This is a scientific process that has proven over decades and generations to produce vaccines that have literally saved hundreds of millions of lives across the globe.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 79 percent of Michigan voters agree – 60 percent strongly – that their local hospital has played a critical role in their community’s fight against COVID-19.
  • 91 percent of voters agree – 80 percent strongly – that hospitals need continued support to keep fighting COVID-19, including the public taking responsibility for washing their hands, social distancing, and wearing masks.
  • 78 percent of voters agree – 58 percent strongly – that increased state and federal funding is an important way to support Michigan hospitals fighting the virus.
  • 85 percent of voters agree – 68 percent strongly – that they feel safe and comfortable visiting health care facilities in Michigan for routine and emergency medical care.
  • 75 percent of voters say they trust COVID-19 information that comes from their local hospital.

Commission Releases Detroit Public Schools from Active State Oversight
The Detroit Financial Review Commission voted unanimously Monday to immediately grant a waiver that releases both Detroit Public Schools and Detroit Public Schools Community District from active state oversight. The elected DPSCD School Board and its appointed superintendent manage the district along with DPS, which solely functions to manage the district’s legacy debt.

By providing a waiver to both entities, the commission no longer has final decision-making authority over the districts’ budgets, collective bargaining agreements, and contracts. DPSCD also regains the ability to make budget changes without the commission’s approval.

“This is a monumental day for the state of Michigan,” says Rachael Eubanks, state treasurer and chairperson of the Detroit FRC. “Our largest school district has shown leadership in having three consecutive balanced budgets with minimal oversight of day-to-day operations. I congratulate Detroit residents, parents, families, students, and district officials for this historic accomplishment.”

To become eligible for the waiver, DPS and DPSCD had to adopt deficit-free budgets for three consecutive years, obtain the ability to sell and guarantee municipal securities or other similar debt, and follow generally accepted accounting practices as required under state law, as well as meet other technical requirements.

“Without question, this is one of the greatest accomplishments of this school board and administrative team over the last four years,” says Nikolai P. Vitti, superintendent of DPSCD. “We met several financial requirements while enhancing student programming, increasing teacher pay, and shifting away from contracted services for greater full-time employment. When we look back at our turnaround and rebuilding work, this will be one of those concrete examples of strong leadership.”

The Detroit FRC will continue to exist and meet monthly to ensure both school districts meet the conditions of a waiver, although it will play no active role in day-to-day operations.

For more information, visit here.

Davenport University Students Host Virtual Cybersecurity Event
National Science Foundation scholarship students from Davenport University in Grand Rapids are hosting a virtual cybersecurity event Oct. 29 to educate the public about the risks involved with online activity, ways to protect assets, and degree and career opportunities in this growing field.

The event, “Cybersecurity 101: Meet the Future of IT,” begins at 6 p.m. and is designed to educate both students and the public about ways to anticipate cyberattacks and protect assets.

Utilizing Cisco curriculum, participants will learn the necessary tools, software, and resources needed to protect their IT assets, the basics of cybersecurity, and how to apply that knowledge to both personal and professional devices.

To register for the seminar, visit here.

HAP Partners with Henry Ford Health System and Gleaners to Provide Food Relief
Health Alliance Plan is donating $100,000 to Henry’s Groceries for Health, a collaboration between Henry Ford Health System and Gleaners Community Food Bank, to provide food and promote nutrition among food insecure and vulnerable patients.

“Health insurers are often in a position to have a significant impact on social determinants of health – which have only been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic,” says Dr. Michael Genord, president and CEO of HAP. “Anytime we get an opportunity to participate in a program that addresses food insecurity and aims to reduce the risk of chronic disease, like Henry’s Groceries for Health, we make significant progress toward our ultimate goal of improving overall health outcomes across the state of Michigan.”

Food insecurity is defined as a condition of limited or uncertain access to nutritious food that causes disrupted eating patterns and/or reduced food intake. Adults experiencing food insecurity are at greater risk of developing chronic diseases or being unable to manage existing chronic conditions effectively.  Food insecurity can contribute to increased hospital admissions, hospital readmissions, emergency department visits, and additional medical treatments.

In 2017, HFHS initiated Henry’s Groceries for Health to address food insecurity in southeast Michigan and especially Detroit, where 30,000 people live without consistent, convenient access to grocery stores.  Nearly half (48 percent) of the city’s population is food insecure. In its first 18 months, Henry’s Groceries served more than 300 food insecure patients. HAP’s $100,000 donation will support procurement and provision of food boxes.

In addition to its donation, HAP will also help HFHS determine the effectiveness of the program by using its resources to measure patient utilization, biometric health improvement, body mass index, and other key health measures.

“We’re very grateful to HAP as both a research partner and financial supporter,” says Alexander Plum, director of clinical and social health integration for HFHS. “Together, we’re helping to reduce barriers to care; improve patient nutrition; and keep costs contained, which are outcomes that both insurers, like HAP, and health-care providers, like Henry Ford, strive to achieve.”

Western Governors University Honors Michigan Night Shift Nurses
Western Governors University, a private online college based in Utah, is launching its first Night Shift Nurses Week campaign in the state of Michigan, which aligns with the return to standard time when night shift workers add an extra hour to their normal schedule on Nov. 1.

The university will deliver appreciation kits to nearly 1,080 night shift workers at hospitals throughout the state leading up to the ending of daylight savings time for workers to open during their shift on Nov. 1. In addition, WGU will award its annual Night Shift Nurse scholarship to students in health care professions.

“By their nature, hospitals must require employees to work night shifts, and especially this year with the added layer of a global pandemic, WGU acknowledges the sacrifice and dedication of shift workers in Michigan,” says Alison Bell, regional vice president of WGU. “Many WGU nursing students in Michigan also work the night shift, so appreciation kits are our way of saying thank you for all they do for the community.”

WGU employees volunteered to put together kits and assist in their delivery, which will reach night shift nurses at 62 hospitals and health care units across Michigan. Each kit contains a collection of snacks, novelty gifts, pen lights for those long nights, and more.

To apply for the WGU Night Shift Nurses Scholarship, visit here.

Save the Music and Cadillac Celebrate Music Grant at Detroit’s Central High School
Save the Music and Cadillac are hosting a virtual event at Detroit’s Central High School at 3:30 p.m. today to celebrate the school’s acceptance of the J Dilla Music Tech Grant.

Named after the late producer and Detroit native, Save The Music’s J Dilla Music Tech Grant delivers the future of music learning by utilizing tech tools and curriculum to teach the fundamentals of electronic music creation, recording, and production. A reflection of how music is being made today, it integrates 21st century training techniques to bring out students’ inner creativity, talent, and confidence.

To participate in the event, please contact

Sportsman Tracker Hunting App Launches HuntCast 2.0
Grand Rapids-based Sportsman Tracker has launched HuntCast 2.0, a new AI-inspired app it says is the most advanced in the industry.

Sportsman Tracker apps allow hunters and fishers to locate, log, report, and predict for all of their activities.

The company teamed with biologist and habitat design specialist Jeff Sturgis, founder of Whitetail Habitat Solutions, to forecast whitetail movement while unlocking what it calls the most advanced mapping features in the industry.

“I feel extremely fortunate to be able to continually hone the skills of my passion during every month of the year on both the lands I hunt and on the lands of my partners and clients,” says Sturgis. “This passion has led to many unique relationships that save hunters hundreds of hours of learning and thousands of dollars in perfecting their own hunting experiences. I couldn’t be more thrilled to team with HuntWise to launch HuntCast 2.0, which goes beyond weather by combining tech, science, and 30 years of insight, knowledge, and experience, to create the most powerful deer prediction algorithm the market has ever seen.”

Sabbath Coffee Opens This Weekend in Clawson
Sabbath Coffee, metro Detroit’s newest coffee shop, will open at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 24 E. 14 Mile in Clawson.

The 800-square-foot storefront, production area and walk-up window is owned by Trevor and Miranda Graham. The two met over coffee in 2012, then quickly began roasting and selling their own beans.

With a tagline of Awake and Unwind, Sabbath is built on the notion of slowing down, taking a break, and enjoying the moment. The cafe will be open in Clawson daily, serving its proprietary line of coffee and espresso drinks along with a slushy machine featuring a frozen latte and cider.

Sabbath Coffee will be open daily from 7a.m.-3 p.m. and 7 a.m.-1.p.m. on Sunday.