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Coronavirus: Community spread arrives; homeless population in ‘dire situation’; businesses take major hit

Nickels Arcade in downtown Ann Arbor.
Nickels Arcade in downtown Ann Arbor. (Meredith Bruckner)

Dear A4 readers,

It goes without saying that this is an unprecedented time for all of us. Coronavirus has interrupted our lives in a way that most of us couldn't have imagined and it looks as though this "new normal" will continue for some time.

Here at A4, we are in a unique position to be delivering you the most up-to-date and accurate local news, and we don’t take that lightly. We know that there are many other sources for you to choose and trust, and we wanted to take this time to thank you for choosing A4.

Our team is working around the clock to keep you informed -- and in some cases, to uplift you during these strange times. And remember, we are going through this with you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly with any tips, questions or concerns to mbruckner@wdiv.com.

Take care,

Meredith (@meredith_A4)

What’s been happening:

😷 A day after Washtenaw County declared a state of emergency, local Health Department officials said there is evidence of community spread in some new cases in the county. (A4)

📈 The total number of cases in Michigan tripled on Thursday, spiking to 334. (Local 4)

🚘 Michigan Medicine began offering drive-thru COVID-19 screenings this week. (MLive)

💻 The city of Ann Arbor has suspended all non-essential operations until April 5 and is encouraging residents to seek services online. (A4)

🤒 A cook at University of Michigan’s East Quad Residence Hall has tested positive for coronavirus. The dining hall will be closed for four days of cleaning. (Michigan Daily)

🥪 Ann Arbor Public Schools, in coordination with local partners, has distributed thousands of meals to students this week across 16 sites. Today’s pick up will cover meals through Monday. (A4)

💵 United Way of Washtenaw County has launched a COVID-19 Community Relief Fund to help meet critical and emerging needs of the local community. (A4)

📉 Downtown business owners said foot traffic has slowed significantly since the first statewide COVID-19 cases were confirmed. (A4)

🍻 “I see people post ‘Flatten the curve’ on their story, and then they’ll literally be at Rick’s that night, and I’m just like ‘what?’” Some U-M students continue to party despite CDC warnings to avoid large social gatherings. (Michigan Daily)

Good to know:

📺 The Ann Arbor District Library has rolled out online programming like live storytimes and the Bummer Game for patrons to enjoy while sitting at home. (A4)

👕 Underground Printing is selling ‘Flatten the Curve’ T-shirts to raise funds for struggling local businesses. (A4)

❤️️ Here are some tips on how you can support local restaurants and businesses during these unprecedented times. And here’s where you can buy locally-grown produce during Ann Arbor Farmers Market’s closure. (A4)

🎬 The Ann Arbor Film Festival is going online for the first time -- and it’s free. (A4)

Feature interview of the week:

“You’ve already lost all safety nets when you’re homeless. You have nothing left. And just when you think it couldn’t get worse, here comes the coronavirus."

- Sarah Paspal-Jasinski, Shelter Association of Washtenaw County’s Director of Development describes the ‘dire situation’ of Ann Arbor’s homeless population

✉️ Have something to share? Write us anytime at allaboutannarbor@wdiv.com.

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