Morning Briefing Sept. 4, 2021: Deal reached ending Oakland University faculty strike, COVID safety protocols in place at Big House ahead of today’s game, more homes evacuated as officials investigate hazardous chemicals found in Flat Rock

Here are this morning’s top stories:

Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 weekend newscast
Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 weekend newscast

Contract agreement reached at Oakland University ending faculty strike

A deal was made Saturday to end the faculty strike at Oakland University. The deal was made just after midnight to end the strike that started on Thursday.

Faculty members marched outside Oakland University on Thursday and Friday demanding better pay and benefits.

Read: ‘We want what we think is fair’ -- Oakland University faculty on strike

Oakland University stated it proposed a pay increase over three years to all faculty. However, details of the deal are still unclear.

A statement issued by Oakland University Saturday announcing an end to the work stoppage read, “We are pleased to announce that as of 12:20 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4 the two sides have reached an agreement at the table. Accordingly, the bargaining team is calling an end to the work stoppage effective immediately. Saturday classes will be held as scheduled. Faculty are encouraged to reach out to their students as soon as possible. We would like to thank all our members for the amazing outpouring of solidarity and support. The agreement will be presented at multiple general membership meetings in the coming weeks as per our association bylaws.”

Read more: How Oakland University students are adjusting to university’s COVID vaccine mandate

COVID safety protocols put in place at Big House ahead of game with more than 100K fans

It is finally college football time. This year Michigan Stadium will look much different than it did in 2020.

More than 100,000 fans will pack Michigan Stadium Saturday for this season’s home opener between the Wolverines and Broncos.

Local 4 News was live Saturday morning in Ann Arbor gathering details on the protocols put in place to keep University of Michigan fans safe from COVID.

Read: Here are the Michigan football mask rules for fans going to the Big House this fall

Fans will be required to wear face coverings when inside any indoor areas including restrooms, M Den stores and premium club suites.

However, for fans in the stadium masks are optional and encouraged.

Today’s big game: Michigan football vs. Western Michigan: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

More homes evacuated as officials continue investigating hazardous chemicals found in Flat Rock

Officials with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) said three additional homes were evacuated as part of an emergency response to hazardous chemicals found in Flat Rock this week.

As of Friday night, officials said 10 homes and one school have been evacuated.

EGLE confirmed Friday that the potential source of the odor is the Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant. The benzene vapor in the sewers is from a fuel leak at the plant, initially estimating a spill between 1,000 to 3,000 gallons.

Weather: Pleasant Saturday with increasing clouds, chance of rain

Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 weather forecast
Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 weather forecast

COVID in Michigan 🦠

Michigan reported 4,448 new cases of COVID-19 and 51 virus-related deaths Friday -- an average of 2,224 cases over the past two days.

Friday’s update brings the total number of confirmed COVID cases in Michigan to 955,640, including 20,367 deaths. These numbers are up from 951,192 cases and 20,347 deaths, as of Wednesday.

NOTE: The state of Michigan reported 20,347 deaths on Wednesday, but when Friday’s update was posted, Wednesday’s number was decreased to 20,316. Therefore, the state announced Friday’s total of 20,367 deaths as an increase of 51, not 20.

The deaths announced Friday include 28 identified during a Vital Records review.

Testing has increased to around 20,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate at 9.44% as of Wednesday, slightly higher than the previous week. The positive test rate has been steadily climbing since the end of June, when it was at its lowest. Hospitalizations have increased by 231% since July 1.

Cases are rising again in Michigan. The state’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 1,995 on Friday -- a significant jump since the beginning of July. The 7-day death average was 25 on Friday. The state’s fatality rate is 2.1%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 54,000 on Friday.

Michigan has reported more than 9.6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered as of Friday, with 66% of 16+ residents having received at least one dose while 57.4% of 12+ residents are considered fully vaccinated.

Here’s a look at more of the data:

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