Parent group’s lawsuit takes aim at lifted Washtenaw County mask order
CHELSEA, MI - A parent group is suing the Washtenaw County Health Department and Chelsea School District, alleging the “risks and problems” of the county’s now-expired mask mandate outweigh any claimed or perceived benefits. The lawsuit was filed in Washtenaw County’s 22nd Circuit Court on Feb. 28, the date the county’s mask and quarantine orders expired. Gretchen Whitmer on Sept. 29, 2021, which removes the power of enforcing mask mandates from county health departments. Washtenaw County Health Department Spokesperson Susan Ringler-Cerniglia said. Despite the county’s mask order being lifted, the plaintiffs are seeking an order providing that K-12 students may engage in education without being forced to wear a mask, that the Washtenaw County public health mask mandate be rescinded and affirm parents’ right to choose the appropriate COVID-19 mitigation strategies for their children.mlive.com
Michigan’s last countywide mask requirements expire today
Washtenaw and Oakland counties’ school mask requirements expired today. Now, there are no countywide school mask orders in Michigan. At one time, there were health department mask orders in 16 counties, causing much community dissension, expressed in crowded school board meetings and protests. Michigan withdrew its mask advisory on Feb. 16. (Cloth masks offer the least protection while surgical masks offer more and respirators are best, according to the CDC.)mlive.com
Township orders shutdown of Ypsilanti-area COVID testing site, citing violations
WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI - As a post-holiday surge in COVID-19 cases ramped up to never-before-seen levels, Washtenaw County officials scrambled to find testing to match. Fast-forward three weeks and that testing site is under fire, facing an imminent shutdown. Officials have no wiggle room in its actions due to the “shotgun approach” of the testing company, Iacoangeli said. “I saw the testing site as a huge boon to the residents of my district and of the county,” he said. More from The Ann Arbor News:What will Ypsilanti Township do with $9.4M in COVID relief?mlive.com
Surge of COVID cases prompts Rep. Debbie Dingell to hold virtual town hall
This was the chance for viewers to have a pretty intimate discussion with State Rep. Debbie Dingell and other leaders about COVID-19.Everyone involved had the chance to really speak their minds on where we are in the pandemic.
‘She never faltered.’ Washtenaw County health officer is United Way’s Woman of the Year
WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI — Jimena Loveluck became Washtenaw County’s health officer just five months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As she took on the role, she didn’t have time to worry about being new to the job. With support from her colleagues and other health officers, she got to work.mlive.com
COVID-19 vaccine clinics coming to Washtenaw County for children beginning Nov. 9
YPSILANTI, MI - Children age 5-11 can get vaccinated against COVID-19 by the Washtenaw County Health Department beginning Tuesday. Those who cannot schedule online are asked to contact the health department at 734-544-6700 or email@example.com. Appointments begin on Nov. 9 at the health department, 555 Towner St. in Ypsilanti, and there is no waiting list. “We are very excited to start vaccinating younger children,” Jimena Loveluck, Washtenaw County Health Department health officer, said in a news release. READ MORE:New COVID guidance allows school superintendents to make call on masks for indoor sports, performancesCOVID-19 vaccine clinics coming for children age 5-11, Ann Arbor schools superintendent saysmlive.com
Washtenaw County health officials recommend wearing masks indoors
WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI-- The Washtenaw County Health Department is recommending that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should return to wearing masks in indoor, public spaces on Aug. 4. The recommendation comes as health officials anticipate Washtenaw County will move into the next tier of transmission, which is classified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, the county is at moderate transmission and likely to move to substantial transmission by later this week or next if current trends continue, officials said. “Additional precautions are needed, and we must take them seriously,” said Jimena Loveluck, health officer for the Washtenaw County Health Department. Counties categorized as having a substantial transmission rate are reporting between 50 and 99 cases per week per capita and/or have a positivity rate of 8-9.9%.mlive.com
Mass clinics scaling back as COVID vaccine availability increases in Washtenaw County
YPSILANTI, MI, — The Washtenaw County Health Department is scaling back its mass vaccination clinics now that COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. The health department is continuing to provide COVID-19 vaccinations through smaller community clinics and walk-ins without an appointment at the health department, officials said. The health department will also deploy its clinical RV which will bring COVID-19 vaccine to locations across the county. “We have less need for large-scale, emergency distribution,” said Jimena Loveluck, Washtenaw County Health Department health officer. Free transportation is available to Washtenaw County vaccination sites through Feonix - Mobility Rising, and Ann Arbor’s public transportation service, TheRide.mlive.com
New COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County surpass mark set during fall surge
WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI — New COVID cases are rising at a rate greater than ever before in Washtenaw County. The number of new COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County over a seven day period has surpassed the amount recorded at any time during the pandemic. The Washtenaw County Health Department reports 1,208 COVID-19 cases from April 3-10. “Unfortunately, COVID-19 cases are still alarmingly high in Washtenaw County,” said Jimena Loveluck, Washtenaw County health officer. As of April 15, there have been 21,628 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County, including 2,251 probable cases and 259 probable and confirmed deaths, county data shows.mlive.com
Whitmer, Dingell tour Washtenaw County vaccine clinic, aim to increase access for vulnerable persons
It took a community effort involving conversations with Washtenaw County Administrator Gregory Dill, County Commissioner Justin Hodge and Dingell, to get Black people in Washtenaw County greater access to vaccines, Davis said. In March, the Washtenaw County Health Department teamed up with local partners to host vaccination sites in areas of the county with high Social Vulnerability Index. After the tour, Dingell announced several new pop-up clinics coming to areas of the county most affected by the virus. As of Arpil 8, 219,905 doses of vaccine have been administered in Washtenaw County. Washtenaw County residents are able to self schedule appointments.mlive.com
‘Light at the end of tunnel’ visible for Washtenaw County, health leaders say after one year of COVID
WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI — Jimena Loveluck and much of her staff at the Washtenaw County Health Department have gone more than a year without a vacation. Washtenaw County residents can now self schedule for COVID vaccine appointments“For many of us this has been the biggest professional and personal challenge that we’ve faced,” Loveluck said. Inequalities exacerbated by effects of pandemicThe health department has focused on addressing health equity throughout Washtenaw County, which has been highlighted by the pandemic. The Washtenaw County Health Department received its initial 1,950-dose shipment of COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 17, and began vaccinated people soon after. The health department has been steadily increasing the number of vaccinations per week since, but the supply still isn’t enough to vaccinate everyone eligible.mlive.com
More COVID vaccine eligibility coming, but appointments won’t be immediate, officials say
The health department currently is prioritizing those age 65 and older who haven’t been scheduled yet, officials said. “As we know from earlier state expansions of eligibility – eligibility doesn’t mean much if we don’t have the vaccine supplies,” said Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, health department spokeswoman. Meijer, Rite Aid and Kroger pharmacies also offer vaccinations in Washtenaw County, officials said. The health department has been operating vaccine clinics at Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center since January. The Washtenaw County Health Department is responsible for administering 35,304 of those doses, data shows.mlive.com
Ann Arbor-area teachers to receive COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday
ANN ARBOR – The Washtenaw County Health Department has announced that approximately 1,200 local teachers will get vaccinated against COVID-19 on Saturday. In partnership with Michigan Medicine and IHA, the Health Department is allotting this week’s vaccine supply from the state toward the effort as districts begin to reopen ahead of Gov. “Limited vaccine supplies continue to hamper our local efforts to reach everyone currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccination,” Jimena Loveluck, health officer for Washtenaw County Health Department said in a statement. The Board received substantial backlash over its decision at last week’s meeting to rush a vote on staying virtual. “We are grateful for their work with the Governor’s team to resolve the issues that delayed getting vaccines to K-12 staff across Washtenaw County compared to communities across the rest of the state.
Washtenaw County Health Department launches COVID-19 vaccine data site
YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Washtenaw County Health Department has launched a new COVID-19 vaccine data page to share the county’s weekly vaccination progress with the community. The site will be updated weekly and will help the Health Department and other vaccine providers monitor progress in the area. Screenshot from the Washtenaw County Health Department's new COVID-19 vaccine data page. (Washtenaw County Health Department)“Reliable data are critical for understanding and improving health equity,” Jimena Loveluck, Washtenaw County health officer, said in a statement. Once supplies increase, the page will expand to include the new vaccination site slated to open on the west side of Washtenaw County.
Seniors, essential workers continue to roll through Washtenaw County vaccine clinics
WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI — Efforts to work through the current COVID-19 vaccine priority groups continue in Washtenaw County. The 753 appointments at the Washtenaw County Health Department’s vaccine clinic that were postponed on Tuesday, Feb. 16, due to weather have been rescheduled, officials said. As of Feb. 13, the health department has administered approximately 15,000 doses of the vaccine, Health Officer Jimena Loveluck said. Among health care systems vaccinating in Washtenaw County, 82,000 doses have been administered as of Feb. 17, state data shows. Meijer and Rite Aid pharmacies also are now offering vaccinations in Washtenaw County and across the state.mlive.com
Washtenaw County calls for patience as next COVID vaccination phase begins
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Washtenaw County Health Department said Monday it is asking for continued patience while COVID-19 vaccine supplies and providers remain limited. If you are now eligible for vaccination, it does not mean vaccination is immediately available to you, the county said in a news release. At least 80,000 more individuals are now eligible for vaccination locally and starting today. “It’s a tremendous relief to add vaccination to the resources we have to prevent COVID-19 from causing additional harm, but this process will take time,” said Jimena Loveluck, MSW, health officer with Washtenaw County Health Department. Read more: Michigan enters new vaccine phase today: What to knowCoronavirus resources:
Washtenaw County health officials prioritize contact tracing for young and old as coronavirus cases surge
WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI ‐‐ As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to increase in Washtenaw County, public health officials are prioritizing health department case investigations to expand capacity as much as possible. Washtenaw County Health Department is prioritizing health department case investigations in line with state guidelines and local data as follows:Individuals age 0-17 years. “This is really for the health department to prioritize those up to 17, and those over 60,” said Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, Washtenaw County Health Department spokeswoman. Additionally, the majority of local cases are no longer associated with young adults or students. The health department is instructing people not to wait for county contact tracing calls or emails as they will likely be delayed.mlive.com
Washtenaw County: Quarantine immediately if you suspect COVID-19 symptoms, exposure
ANN ARBOR – Due to an exponential growth in COVID-19 cases in the area, the Washtenaw County Health Department announced Thursday that it is now experiencing delays in contact tracing calls and emails. “Don’t wait for a call from the Health Department," Jimena Loveluck, health officer for Washtenaw County Health Department, said in a statement. All other residents who receive a positive test should follow established guidance and will be contacted as capacity allows. A person is considered contagious 2 days before their symptoms start or before their positive test if they do not have symptoms. The next pop-up testing opportunities are scheduled for Sat, Nov 14 at the Ypsilanti District Library at 5577 Whittaker Road and Sat, Nov 21 at Washtenaw County Health Department at 555 Towner Street.
Officials issue open letter after significant rise of COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County
Nine Washtenaw County officials issued a joint open letter to the community Thursday, Oct. 29, with the latest public health guidance amid the surge in cases. COVID-19 case trends in Washtenaw County.Washtenaw County Health DepartmentA two-week snapshot from Oct. 15-28 showed there were another 962 confirmed COVID-19 cases among local residents, including two deaths, according to the Washtenaw County Health Department, which reports a 3.9% weekly test positivity rate and a 2% hospitalization rate. The total number of confirmed and probable cases among Washtenaw County residents is now up to 5,762, including 121 deaths and 497 hospitalizations. COVID-19 case trends in Washtenaw County.Washtenaw County Health DepartmentThe letter offers the following guidance:Make absolutely sure you do not have any symptoms before going out in public or having contact with others. The county health department received $248,000, some of which will go toward pop-up testing and flu vaccine clinics.mlive.com
$248K grant to help Washtenaw County expand COVID-19 response to Black community
ANN ARBOR, MI — Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, Washtenaw County officials are staying mindful of the disparate impact the virus can have on communities of color. The Washtenaw County Health Department earlier this year identified a disparate impact of COVID-19 on the east side of the county and among communities of color. Analyzing all COVID-19 cases among county residents since the pandemic started, Black residents now account for 19% of confirmed cases, 37% of hospitalizations and 30% of deaths. There were 828 confirmed COVID-19 cases among Washtenaw County residents from Oct. 8-21, about 8% involving Black residents, according to the county’s latest two-week snapshot. That includes pop-up COVID-19 testing and pop-up flu vaccine clinics, delivering cleaning and medical supplies to neighborhoods and ongoing education.mlive.com
Violators of COVID-19 orders in Washtenaw County now face fines up to $1,000
ANN ARBOR, MI — Violators of COVID-19 emergency orders issued by the Washtenaw County Health Department now can face steep monetary penalties. COVID-19 case trends in Washtenaw County.Washtenaw County Health DepartmentCommissioner Katie Scott, D-Ann Arbor, said she’s been eager to see something like this penalty schedule. “There’s absolutely no intention to infringe on anyone’s constitutional rights with these orders,” Loveluck said. “So, what we’re doing here tonight with this resolution and through the health department is about protecting our community,” she said. Washtenaw County’s penalty fines are modeled after what Ingham County is doing, Loveluck said, noting the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also is working on penalty fines for statewide orders.mlive.com
2 Ann Arbor restaurants identified as potential COVID-19 exposure sites
ANN ARBOR, MI -- Two Ann Arbor restaurants have been identified by the Washtenaw County Health Department as possible coronavirus exposure sites. Thirteen cases are associated with the two establishments during those dates, according to the health department. “In most situations, we can contact individuals exposed to COVID-19 directly,” said Jimena Loveluck, Washtenaw County health officer. “Supposedly we had people here on Oct. 1 that tested positive and we just got notified this morning,” Ochoa said. Anyone can contact the health department at 734-544-6700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
13 COVID-19 cases linked to popular bar, restaurant near University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Health officials have linked 13 positive COVID-19 cases to a popular bar and a restaurant near the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. Officials said anyone who visited the Brown Jug on South University Avenue from Oct. 1 through Oct. 3 or on Oct. 6 should monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. RELATED: Washtenaw County Health Department issues public health emergency ordersAnyone who visited Chapala Mexican Restaurant at 211 North Main Street on Oct. 1 might also have been exposed, according to the Washtenaw County Health Department. Health officials have linked 13 positive cases to the two establishments. “In most situations, we can contact individuals exposed to COVID-19 directly,” Washtenaw County health officer Jimena Loveluck said.
Washtenaw County issues mask mandate, restaurant capacity limits to replace Whitmer orders
Health Officer Jimena Loveluck issued four public health emergency orders on Oct. 5 as the question of Gov. Local health officials can still issue mandates during public health emergencies. To view the full text of the orders, visit the county health department’s website. County health officials identify about 31.6 cases daily, according to statewide data. Health officials say you should be staying at least 6 feet away from others and working from home, if possible.mlive.com
Washtenaw County Health Department issues public health emergency orders
WASHTENAW COUNTY, Mich. – The Washtenaw County Health Department is announcing local emergency public health orders to keep COVID-19 prevention and control strategies in place in the region, given that Michigan Executive Orders are now uncertain. State law provides local health officers with the authority to issue orders to protect the public health under Section 2453 of the Public Health Code (MCL 333.2453). Any violations are subject to citations and penalties as outlined in the Michigan Public Health Code. “We fully support the continuation of these public health measures locally,” says Jason Morgan, Chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. Resources from Washtenaw County Health DepartmentTo learn more visit washtenaw.org/health or call 734-544-6700.
Washtenaw County Health Department updates gathering restrictions in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) has limited the size of outdoor gatherings in residential settings to 25 people for the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. “We are currently seeing a sharp increase in cases among local, college-age individuals,” said Washtenaw County health officer Jimena Loveluck in a press release last week. On Aug. 20, the health department limited social gatherings to 25 people but new updates distinguish between residential and non-residential venues. Restaurants within the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti may continue to operate at 50 percent of their normal capacity. Visit the Washtenaw County Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard to find resources on testing, symptoms and updates.
More COVID-19 testing sites opening in Washtenaw County
WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI -- Two new pop-up coronavirus testing sites are opening up starting this weekend in Washtenaw County. The National Guard will be at the testing sites to to assist. “Coronavirus is still circulating in our community, and free testing for everyone remains important,” said Jimena Loveluck, health officer for Washtenaw County, in a news release. Washtenaw County recommends those who were potentially exposed but remain symptom-free to self-quarantine for at least seven to 10 days before testing. CVS Health on Thursday announced the opening of new drive-thru test sites in Washtenaw County, according to a press release.mlive.com
Washtenaw County, Livingston County health departments to offer free drive-thru COVID-19 testing Saturday
YPSILANTI, Mich. From noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, the health departments of Washtenaw County and Livingston County will offer free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing at Whitmore Lake Middle School. The testing site is at 8845 Main Street in Whitmore Lake, Michigan, about 10 miles north of downtown Ann Arbor. We know testing continues to be a challenge for many of us, said Washtenaw County health officer Jimena Loveluck in a statement. Those in need of transportation to the testing site can contact Peoples Express by calling 877-214-6073 by 10 a.m. on Friday, or by calling Livingston Essential Transportation Service at 517-490-7615. Find a list of COVID-19 testing centers in Washtenaw County at https://www.washtenaw.org/3158/Testing
Washtenaw County COVID-19 cases ‘highlight health disparities’ in area, official says
ANN ARBOR – The Washtenaw County Health Department has released COVID-19 data broken down by zip code and race. “We know viruses do not discriminate based on location, race, ethnicity, or national origin,” Jimena Loveluck, Health Officer with the Washtenaw County Health Department said in a statement. With twelve percent of Washtenaw County’s population identifying as African American, the Washtenaw County Health Department said the findings stem from a long-existing issue. Those in need of essential resources can call 2-1-1 or view Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development’s list of community services. For the latest COVID-19 updates in Washtenaw County, visit www.washtenaw.org/3108/Cases.