COVID-19 Update: State Announces Priority Groups for COVID-19 Vaccination, Infusion Associates Opens New Location in Grand Haven, 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.
map of Michigan coronavirus cases by county
Courtesy of Bridge, as of Dec. 12

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.

State Announces Priority Groups for COVID-19 Vaccination
With COVID-19 vaccinations en route to distribution sites throughout the country, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have outlined its vaccination plans for Michigan, including priority groups for vaccination administration.

MDHHS is following CDC recommendations for prioritization of distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. The recommendations are based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a federal advisory committee made up of medical and public health experts who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the United States.

MDHHS also has received input from a group of Michigan public health and health care leaders and reviewed correspondence from the public.

Distribution of the vaccine will be in a phased approach, with an emphasis on both ensuring the continuing functioning of the health care system and essential services in the community and protecting people at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness.

Phases are as follows:

  • Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
  • Phase 1B includes some workers in essential and critical industries, including workers with unique skill sets such as non-hospital or non-public health laboratories and mortuary services.
  • Phase 1C includes people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people 65 years and older.
  • Phase 2 is a mass vaccination campaign for all adults.

MDHHS has provided additional prioritization guidance within these categories. Vaccination in one phase may not be complete before vaccination in another phase begins. Vaccination in these phases likely will overlap. The timing of the start of vaccination in a phase is dependent on guidance from CDC and ACIP, the supply of vaccine from the manufacturer, how vaccine is allocated from the federal level to Michigan and the capacity to administer the vaccine to populations.

Vaccine distribution will roll out over a series of weeks, and current estimates are that by late Spring 2021 enough vaccine will be available for everyone who is recommended to receive it. A variety of partners will be engaged in the distribution and administration process, including hospitals, pharmacies, local health departments, EMS providers and outpatient clinics. The Michigan National Guard is also supporting vaccination efforts in some settings.

There will be no out-of-pocket costs to individuals for the vaccine, however, health care providers may bill insurance for administrative costs. The COVID-19 vaccine will require two doses, separated by three or four weeks depending on the manufacturer. Michiganders should receive both doses in order to have full protection from the virus. Individuals who receive the vaccine may experience mild side effects such as low-grade fever, sore arm, and fatigue, which indicate that the vaccine is working. There is a robust state and national process for tracking vaccines and reporting side effects.

MDHHS stresses Michiganders should continue to wear masks, social distance from those not in their household and wash their hands often, even after receiving the vaccine.

Michigan health officials have set a goal of vaccinating 70 percent of Michiganders 18 years of age or older, about 5.4 million adults, by the end of 2021.

Scientists had already begun research for coronavirus vaccines during previous outbreaks caused by related coronaviruses such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). That earlier research provided a head start for rapid development of vaccines to protect against infection with COVID-19.

For more information, visit here.

Infusion Associates Opens New Location in Grand Haven
Grand Rapids-based Infusion Associates, a provider of medically prescribed outpatient infusion therapy, has opened a new location in Grand Haven, west of Grand Rapids. The facility will serve patients in Grand Haven, Muskegon, and Holland.

The addition in Grand Haven is the company’s fifth location in the Midwest, providing IV medication that was once only available in the hospital setting.

“Chronic illnesses can make it impractical, sometimes impossible, to take medications orally,” says Chuck Jett, CEO of Infusion Associates. “We’re thrilled to bring outpatient infusion therapy to the West Michigan lakeshore community and partner with medical specialists to provide the treatments our patients need, closer to home.”

All Infusion Associates locations work with the patient’s medical specialist or primary care physician to provide medications for autoimmune disorders, asthma, osteoporosis, anemia, dehydration and neurologic conditions, and many more. Infusion treatment is monitored by a physician, advanced practice provider registered nurse, and licensed pharmacist.

All patients have the ability to receive their treatments 365 days per year in a comfortable environment, with access to pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and physicians while on site. Infusion Associates says it plans to continue expanding their practice to new geographical areas in 2021.

UM-Dearborn Rolls Out 2020 Holiday Gift Guide
The University of Michigan-Dearborn has rolled out its 2020 Holiday Gift Guide featuring gifts crafted by students and alumni of the university.

UM-Dearborn’s students, staff, and alumni are at the helm of businesses crafting unique items worth gifting family and friends this holiday season and beyond.

To view the gifts available this year, visit here.

GrowGeneration Completes $172.5M Public Stock Offering
Denver-based GrowGeneration Corp., which has six locations in Michigan, has completed a previously announced upsized underwritten public offering of an aggregate of 5,750,000 shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $30 per share for gross proceeds, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses, of approximately $172.5 million, which includes the exercise in full of the underwriters’ option to purchase 750,000 additional shares.

Earlier, it filed a registration statement on Form S-3 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a proposed follow-on public offering raising $125 million. In connection with the offering, GrowGen expects to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 15 percent of the shares of common stock offered in the public offering.

Woodward Sports Network in Birmingham Launches Stuff-a-Studio
The Woodward Sports Network in Birmingham has launched its inaugural Stuff-a-Studio fundraiser benefiting C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and local charities, including The Salvation Army, Wish Upon a Teen, and the Ronald McDonald House.

“I spoke with many of my friends in the hospitals and those who run charities, and they are in dire need of gifts for the children, more than ever this year,” says Joey Namou, co-owner of Woodward Sports Network.

Woodward Sports Network is asking the entire Detroit community to come together and donate a gift or even to Venmo the Network (Venmo: @WoodwardSports). It will use 100 percent of the donations to purchase more toys to deliver to the hospital and organizations this holiday season.

Joey, Stick, and Krissy of the Morning Woodward Show will be living in their Woodward Sports Network studio located inside of Lady Jane’s salon at 34915 Woodward Ave. in Birmingham from Dec. 14 until Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. The team will be inviting all visitors to drop off gifts at their studio at all times. They will be following all COVID-19 safety guidelines. Viewers can watch Joique Bell and Sean Baligian broadcast live from the studio from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. every day.

The grand finale to the Stuff-a-Studio will occur at the Woodward Sports Network studio on Dec. 18 at 3 p.m., with Santa in the studio to Zoom chat with the patients stuck in the hospital over the holiday.

For more information, visit here.

Council Re|Sale Thrift Store Offers New ‘Craft Jars’ Full of Broken Vintage Jewelry
The Council Re|Sale thrift store in Berkley is selling a new craft trend seen online, broken vintage jewelry, in Craft Jars that go for between $25 and $50.

The jars have been stuffed with “beautiful and unusual jewelry items” to encourage metro Detroiters to let their creative juices flow and, at the same time, improve their mental well-being. The jewelry can be repurposed to make new jewelry designs, decorate photo frames, create holiday ornaments or garden chimes, decorate a belt buckle, or beautify mirror frames.

One of the oldest resale shops in metro Detroit, Council Re|Sale is operated by the National Council of Jewish Women, Michigan, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of local families.

“We have so much fantastic jewelry donated, we had the idea of parceling broken items into jars and selling it to customers to for their own arts and crafts project,” says Amy Cutler, President of NCJW|MI. “We know that working with your hands is really good for your brain as it can create nerve pathways, reduce stress and boost your mood. As we approach this pandemic winter, anything you can do to keep your hands busy is going to be beneficial for your wellbeing.”

Council Re|Sale was forced to close at the start of the pandemic to keep its staff and customers safe. In July 2020 it reopened with stringent safety measures in place, including sanitation stations, quarantining of donations and returns, social distancing practiced by staff and customers, masks worn by all in the store, and only 10 shoppers allowed in the store at one time.