Biden taps Michigan’s former health director Robert Gordon for national position
Michigan’s former head of the state health department could soon have a role in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Robert Gordon will be nominated by President Joe Biden to be assistant secretary for financial resources for the federal health department, according to a White House announcement. Gordon served as director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for two years, including the first 11 months of the coronavirus pandemic. During the latest presidential transition, Gordon co-chaired the agency review team for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. His writings on policy have been published in The New York Times, Politico, and The Atlantic, according to The White House.mlive.com
Michigan House OKs stricter policies for state employee severance pay
In the aftermath of controversies surrounding state employee separation agreements, the Michigan House advanced legislation setting limits on severance pay and adding new requirements barring nondisclosure agreements. Sponsored by Rep. John Roth, R-Traverse City, House Bill 4591 would limit the use of nondisclosure agreements and severance pay for outgoing employees and officials in both the administration and the legislature. The legislation would put in place a policy capping severance pay for departing employees at 12 weeks of the person’s normal wages, with exceptions for legal settlements. Michigan’s former Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Steve Gray was also given $85,872 in a separation agreement signed in November 2020 to resign. Related:Former Michigan health director acknowledges disagreements with Whitmer before resignationWhitmer said separation agreements like Robert Gordon’s are ‘used often.’ In state government, they’re not.mlive.com
Former Michigan health director says Whitmer asked him to resign after they disagreed on reopening restaurants
Michigan's former director of Health and Humans Services told the Legislature Thursday that Governor Gretchen Whitmer asked for his resignation after they disagreed over reopening...metrotimes.com
Former Michigan health Director Robert Gordon testifies on resignation, $155K agreement
For the first time, lawmakers and Michiganders heard from former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon about his abrupt resignation in January and $155,000 severance deal that came with a now-lifted confidentiality agreement.
Republicans argue payout to ousted Michigan health director was ‘unconstitutional’
LANSING, MI - Republican lawmakers argued during a Thursday oversight committee hearing that the separation agreement paid to former Michigan health director Robert Gordon may have been unconstitutional. According to state law, the term usually refers to local governments such as municipal, city, county, school or other districts. “It may be that our body wants to forestall the possibility of severance agreements going forward,” he said. Read more from MLive:House Oversight chair seeks subpoena power to compel former Michigan health director to testifyHouse OKs subpoenas for separation agreements from Gov. Whitmer’s officeWhitmer, Gordon waive confidentiality agreement after backlashFormer Michigan health director given $155K severance pay after abrupt resignationWhitmer curbs use of controversial separation agreements in executive directivemlive.com
Former Michigan health director acknowledges disagreements with Whitmer before resignation
Former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon testified before a state House committee Thursday that he and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer disagreed on decisions regarding “gray areas” of science surrounding coronavirus precautions before his resignation. The House Oversight Committee subpoenaed Gordon to speak in a April 29 hearing after he declined to come before the committee voluntarily. There are a number of studies that show that mask mandates have been very effective in reducing the spread of COVID,” Gordon said. However, the former health director said any time he disagreed with the governor, it was regarding gray areas in the science.mlive.com
Former Michigan health director who resigned abruptly to testify in Thursday House hearing
LANSING, MI - The former Michigan health director is scheduled to speak publicly Thursday for the first time since his abrupt departure in January. The House Oversight Committee will hear testimony from former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon in a 10:30 a.m. hearing Thursday, April 29. The Michigan House Oversight Committee voted last week to subpoena Gordon after he declined to come before the committee voluntarily. Read more from MLive:House Oversight chair seeks subpoena power to compel former Michigan health director to testifyHouse OKs subpoenas for separation agreements from Gov. Whitmer’s officeWhitmer, Gordon waive confidentiality agreement after backlashFormer Michigan health director given $155K severance pay after abrupt resignationWhitmer said separation agreements like Robert Gordon’s are ‘used often.’ In state government, they’re not.mlive.com
Sexual harassment, ethics reforms and pandemic relief: The week in Michigan politics
LANSING, MI - The stench of sexual harassment has pervaded the Michigan State Capitol and surrounding political circles for years, acknowledged, for the most part, only in whispers among those who endured it. Here are the highlights:Negotiations begin over controversial Republican voting packageOne month ago, Michigan Senate Republicans debuted their plan to overhaul the state’s election laws. Read more: RNC brushes off report of Ronna McDaniel mulling run for Michigan governorMore on legislation:The Michigan Senate approved Senate Bill 134 , which would ban the distribution, delivery, sale or possession of drug masking products. Read more: Ban on ‘drug-masking’ products on urine tests approved in Michigan SenateThe Michigan Senate unanimously approved $110,000 in private money to provide meal vouchers to National Guard members currently deployed to the U.S. Capitol. Read more: Michigan Senate approves funds to buy better meals for National Guard deployed in D.C.mlive.com
House panel issues subpoena to former Michigan health director
A Michigan House panel will compel the state’s former health director to testify about the specifics of his departure and his controversial separation agreement with the governor’s office. The Michigan House Oversight Committee voted Thursday to issue a subpoena to former Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon after he declined to come before the committee voluntarily. “It is the responsibility of the Oversight Committee to ensure we provide answers to the people of Michigan,” Johnson said in the statement. Related coverage:House Oversight chair seeks subpoena power to compel former Michigan health director to testifyHouse OKs subpoenas for separation agreements from Gov. Whitmer’s officeWhitmer, Gordon waive confidentiality agreement after backlashFormer Michigan health director given $155K severance pay after abrupt resignationWhitmer said separation agreements like Robert Gordon’s are ‘used often.’ In state government, they’re not.mlive.com
House OKs subpoenas for separation agreements from Gov. Whitmer’s office
LANSING, MI - House Republicans want to know why former Michigan health director Robert Gordon left his post in January. Lawmakers approved a resolution allowing the House Oversight Committee to issue subpoenas to investigate confidentiality agreements and secret payments made to former department heads in Gov. The House Oversight Committee has to vote again to issue a subpoena to one of Whitmer’s departed department heads. Related: Whitmer said separation agreements like Robert Gordon’s are ‘used often.’ In state government, they’re not. Rep. Alex Garza, D-Taylor, proposed an amendment to House Resolution 60 that would add the legislative branch to the government branches the oversight committee could subpoena.mlive.com
Michigan Senate Backs Health Director Appointed By Whitmer
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate on Tuesday narrowly supported Elizabeth Hertel as state health director, backing a key figure in Gov. Sixteen Republicans opposed Hertel, voicing long-running frustrations that Whitmer has used the health department to keep intact coronavirus orders after the Michigan Supreme Court last fall struck down a 75-year-old emergency-powers law that underpinned her edicts. The Senate fell one vote short of passing a motion to affirm Hertel when her husband, Democratic Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., recused himself. Before being elevated to director, she had been a chief deputy director under Gordon for two years and, from 2013 to 2016, held top positions in the department during Gov. Hertel, like Gordon, has issued orders under a 1978 public health law that empowers her to act to control an epidemic.detroit.cbslocal.com
11 takeaways from Whitmer’s briefing: Alarming COVID trends, stadium capacity, confidentiality deal
Gretchen Whitmer spoke Friday morning about an alarming uptick in COVID-19 numbers, increased stadium capacity and the elimination of the former health director’s confidentiality agreement. Youth athlete testingThe state announced increased testing for young athletes ages 13-19 to make sure they can safely participate in sports. This is in response to an increased number of COVID-19 outbreaks associated with youth sports, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, of MDHHS, said. OutbreaksThe governor said many of the state’s recent COVID-19 cases have been linked to high school athletics. Khaldun said the number of outbreaks in the state increased 9% from the previous week, to 645.
Gov. Whitmer, former MDHHS director agree to waive confidentiality agreement
“On occasion, there were robust conversations about policy issues where reasonable people could disagree and did,” Gordon wrote. “This was healthy: the stakes were life and death, and different people have different roles.”In his letter, Gordon didn’t give any specific details and only said that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s plan during the pandemic saved lives. Ad“I was honored to play a part in that work,” Gordon wrote. “Governor Whitmer deserves a health director with whom she is comfortable.”The letter was released hours after Whitmer’s office confirmed both sides were agreeing to end the confidentiality surrounding Gordon’s resignation and $155,000 payout.
House Oversight chair seeks subpoena power to compel former Michigan health director to testify
The Michigan House Oversight Committee chair said Thursday he will seek subpoena power to compel former Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon to testify in person if he doesn’t do so voluntarily. Johnson had previously asked Gordon to testify and indicated during a Thursday House Oversight meeting the letter didn’t address his questions. We will continue to work with Director Gordon. More on MLive:Whitmer said separation agreements like Robert Gordon’s are ‘used often.’ In state government, they’re not. Former Michigan health director given $155K severance pay after abrupt resignationWhitmer said separation agreements like Robert Gordon’s are ‘used often.’ In state government, they’re not.mlive.com
Michigan Gov. Whitmer, ex-health director agree to waive confidentiality
(Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File)LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's office said Thursday that the state and her former health director amended his $155,000 severance deal to remove a confidentiality clause that had drawn criticism. A month later, he signed the separation agreement in which the sides agreed — “in the interest of protecting deliberations among government officials” — to maintain confidentiality regarding his departure. The parties agreed Wednesday to waive the confidentiality provision “in the interest of greater transparency,” Whitmer spokesman Bobby Leddy said. AdState Republican Party spokesman Ted Goodman said it is pleased Gordon's secrecy provision was waived but added: “Michiganders deserve to know why Mr. Gordon left, and why a confidentiality agreement was required in the first place."
Whitmer, Gordon waive confidentiality agreement after backlash
Gretchen Whitmer and former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon have waived the confidentiality agreement that accompanied his departure from state government, Whitmer’s office confirmed Thursday. “Yesterday the Governor and Robert Gordon agreed to waive the confidentiality provision in Robert’s settlement agreement,” said Whitmer Communications Director Tiffany Brown. Related: Whitmer said separation agreements like Robert Gordon’s are ‘used often.’ In state government, they’re not. Such agreements can still include confidentiality clauses, including those that bar disclosure of the circumstances around an employee’s departure. But those confidentiality clauses cannot bar the parties from disclosing the existence of the separation agreement nor preclude its disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.mlive.com
Nightside Report March 12, 2021: Gov. Whitmer releases Executive Directive on state separation agreements, Ford Field in Detroit to become mass vaccination site
Whitmer releases Executive Directive on state separation agreementsDETROIT – After the controversy surrounding the abrupt resignation and separation agreement involving former Michigan health chief Robert Gordon, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered changes to the use of these agreements in state government. Whitmer released an Executive Directive on Friday on how state agencies can end employee contracts. “I’m pleased to announce the addition of a new FEMA-supported site in Detroit,” said White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients. “This site, located at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, has the ability to administer 6,000 shots per day.”Click here to read more.
Gov. Whitmer releases Executive Directive on state separation agreements
LANSING, Mich. – After the controversy surrounding the abrupt resignation and separation agreement involving former Michigan health chief Robert Gordon, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered changes to the use of these agreements in state government. Whitmer directs changes to use of separation agreements in state governmentWhitmer released an Executive Directive on Friday on how state agencies can end employee contracts. The directive said state agencies can still enter into agreements with pay-outs -- something the state already does -- and it still allows for confidentiality agreements, unless it would cover up illegal activity. Ad”I am proud of these measures because they will benefit both state employees and the people of Michigan,” Whitmer said.
Michigan Gov. Whitmer directs changes to use of separation agreements in state government
(Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File)After the controversy surrounding the abrupt resignation and separation agreement involving former Michigan health chief Robert Gordon, Gov. Whitmer released an Executive Directive on Friday on the use of separation agreements by state departments and agencies. “Michiganders should have confidence in the activities of state government, including the expenditure of public funds on separation agreements. Under the new directive, separation agreements cannot deny a party the right or opportunity to disclose the underlying facts and circumstances regarding unlawful workplace acts including discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, or fraud. Finally, prior to finalization, all separation agreements must be submitted to the Attorney General for review.
Whitmer curbs use of controversial separation agreements in executive directive
Separation agreements with state employees could not include clauses barring parties from disclosing their existence and could only include severance pay under certain circumstances under a new order from Gov. The directive comes after criticism over her separation agreement with former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon. Separation agreements also cannot bar employees from disclosing accusations of unlawful acts in the workplace, like discrimination, sexual harassment or fraud. “Michiganders should have confidence in the activities of state government, including the expenditure of public funds on separation agreements. More on MLive:Whitmer said separation agreements like Robert Gordon’s are ‘used often.’ In state government, they’re not.mlive.com
Whitmer said separation agreements like Robert Gordon’s are ‘used often.’ In state government, they’re not.
“Separation agreements... are used often in the public and private sector when someone in a leadership position leaves an organization. But according to experts and state records, separation agreements and severance pay for high-ranking state leaders have not been commonly used in Michigan state government or in governments generally. People familiar with the state’s personnel processes weren’t surprised the records requests didn’t turn up separation agreements or severance pay. John Engler, said he did not recall any separation agreements in that administration. He said separation agreements came across his desk, but he doesn’t specifically recall any for high-level officials.mlive.com
Legislature Had Over $600K In Confidential Severance Deals
Gretchen Whitmer over severance payments to top officials, on Tuesday disclosed nearly $700,000 worth of separation agreements or legal settlements over the past decade. The bulk of the payouts, $632,000, involved 30 separation deals in the Senate since 2010, including 20 in the past five years. Three House agreements in 2018 and 2015, totaling nearly $60,000, settled legal disputes with terminated employees since 2013. Neither chamber disclosed details of the deals to media outlets and a liberal advocacy group, citing their confidential nature. A message seeking additional comment on the 30 Senate agreements was left with Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey of Clarklake, who became leader in 2019.detroit.cbslocal.com
Michigan Legislature had over $600K in confidential severance deals in past decade
Gretchen Whitmer over severance payments to top officials, on Tuesday disclosed nearly $700,000 worth of separation agreements or legal settlements over the past decade. The bulk of the payouts, $632,000, involved 30 separation deals in the Senate since 2010, including 20 in the past five years. Three House agreements in 2018 and 2015, totaling nearly $60,000, settled legal disputes with terminated employees since 2013. Neither chamber disclosed details of the deals to media outlets and a liberal advocacy group, citing their confidential nature. A message seeking additional comment on the 30 Senate agreements was left with Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey of Clarklake, who became leader in 2019.
New ad from pro-GOP nonprofit hits Whitmer on transparency, ‘hush money’
A new ad from State Solutions, Inc., a nonprofit closely associated with the Republican Governors Association, criticizes Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for failing to live up to her promises on transparency. State Solutions, Inc. is a 501(c)4 nonprofit, a designation that is sometimes described as “dark money” because those types of groups are not required to report individual donors. Related: Former Michigan health director given $155K severance pay after abrupt resignationAsked if it was hush money at a press conference last week, Whitmer said, “You know, I really bristle at that characterization. More on MLive:Former Michigan health director given $155K severance pay after abrupt resignationAs Whitmer’s national brand grew, so did her out-of-state fundraisingMichigan Republicans seek strong gubernatorial challenger to Whitmer as big names bow outmlive.com
COVID-19 aid, confidentiality agreements, guns and LGBT rights: The week in Michigan politics
Read more: Restaurants, casinos, gyms, nursing homes: All the changes Michigan made to COVID-19 restrictions on TuesdayAdditionally, Michigan nursing homes in all counties can allow indoor visitors and are encouraged to resume activities like communal dining and group activities. Read more: Michigan to allow nursing home visitation statewideAll staff at nursing homes have been offered both doses of the vaccine, according to the state. Slightly more than $347 million in COVID-19 testing funds is tied to the bill, which will see a vote next week in the House. House Bill 4220, sponsored by Rep. Joe Bellino, R-Monroe, would allow for the first-time offender to apply for expungement from a judge. Read more: Michigan House renews bipartisan push for first-time drunken driving expungementThe other delayed package is a set of election reforms recommended in 2019 by the Auditor General.mlive.com
Michigan GOP Raises Concern About $155,000 For Robert Gordon, Former Health and Human Services Director
(CBS Detroit) — New questions tonight in the separation payments to former Michigan officials who had key roles during the pandemic just a day after Governor Whitmer deflected questions about the topic, saying it’s just standard procedure. Former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon was given $155,000 following his resignation back in January. former Deputy Director Sarah Esty who also quit that month received a similar separation contract. Former Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Steve Gray received nearly $86,000 in severance after resigning in November. Michigan’s Republican party is taking aim at the separation payments linking it to a call for an investigation into Whitmer’s nursing home policy.detroit.cbslocal.com
Michigan’s unemployment agency director got $86,000 to leave job, on condition of confidentiality
Michigan’s former Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Steve Gray was given $85,872 in a separation agreement signed in November 2020 to resign. “Both parties agree that they will not make any statements or take any action disparaging the reputation of the other, whether written or oral,” the separation agreement states, in addition to the confidentiality clause. Sarah Esty received four weeks pay – about $12,000 – in her separation agreement with the state in January. It’s why I’m doing this job during this pandemic.”RELATED STORIESQ&A: Michigan unemployment agency director Steve Gray talks about the system’s flawsFeds send Michigan money to find unemployment fraudGov. Whitmer balks at notion severance pay to former health director was ‘hush money’Michigan’s unemployment director resigns less than 18 months into jobmlive.com
Why Michigan officials felt now was right time to loosen COVID-19 restrictions
LANSING, Mich. – On Friday, COVID-19 restrictions for restaurants, entertainment venues, nursing homes, gatherings and much more will be loosened across Michigan. Those metrics -- the state’s case, positivity and hospitalization rates -- are still mostly heading in the right direction, but officials are a bit concerned that they’re beginning to plateau. “We are now seeing a plateau in our case rates,” Khaldun said. The Saginaw and Traverse City regions have seen a small growth in their case rates, according to Khaldun. Hertel said the continuing trends in positivity, hospitalization and case rates allowed further re-engagement.
What Gov. Whitmer said about claims former health director was given ‘hush money’ when he resigned
Gretchen Whitmer was asked Tuesday about claims that the state’s former health director was given “hush money” when he abruptly resigned from his position in January. Ad“I don’t think I have anything to add with regard to my comments about the former director,” Whitmer said on Jan. 26. “There were not any improprieties with Director Gordon’s work,” Whitmer said. Michigan Republicans allege the money given to Gordon was “hush money,” but Whitmer said that’s not the case. “I explained the nature of a separation agreement,” Whitmer said.
Questions surround former Michigan health director’s separation agreement with state
Read: Michigan health director Robert Gordon announces resignationThe Michigan legislature is watching a number of things including what is happening in New York with its governor Andrew Cuomo and his nursing home scandal. Whitmer said about health director Robert Gordon’s abrupt resignationLegislators have a lot to say about the situation. Michigan state representative, Steve Johnson, is calling the settlement hush money. “It was an honor to be chosen as the director of the Department of Health and Human Services by governor Whitmer. Details: Ex-Michigan health director gets $155K in separation agreement
Gov. Whitmer balks at notion severance pay to former health director was ‘hush money’
Gretchen Whitmer stood by her previous comments regarding the resignation of former health director Robert Gordon on Tuesday, March 1, despite recent news of his more than $155,000 severance agreement. But Whitmer didn’t provide any further explanation as to why Gordon stepped down abruptly during a global pandemic, or why the state agreed to pay him $155,506 following his resignation. And to be candid, it’s been hard on everyone who has served in state and local government as well. It’s no surprise they would happen in Michigan.”In addition to Gordon, one of his senior deputies also left MDHHS early this year with a separation agreement. Esty’s separation agreement included a four-week paid administrative leave period between Jan. 31 and Feb. 26, after which she agreed to resign her position.mlive.com
Second Michigan health department employee given separation agreement
Update: This story was updated Tuesday afternoon, March 2, following release by the state of Sarah Esty’s separation agreement. A second high-ranking member of Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services received a separation agreement on the way out the door earlier this year in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. As part of her departure, she signed a separation agreement, according to a spokesperson for the department. Esty was at least the second member of the state health department to receive such an agreement, joining former director Robert Gordon, who last week signed an agreement to be paid nine months pay and health insurance -- or $155,506 -- following his abrupt resignation. She also led work around improving health information technology and data interoperability; reducing health disparities; regulatory oversight for major health procedures, equipment, and facility construction; and workforce planning and supports.mlive.com
Former Michigan health director given $155K severance pay after abrupt resignation
Michigan’s former health department director received $155,506 in severance pay after abruptly resigning from his position in late January. The separation agreement between former Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon and the state was reported late Monday, more than a month after Gordon resigned suddenly from his position. Gretchen Whitmer was asked multiple questions about Gordon’s resignation during a press conference, and if she had asked him to resign. Related: Whitmer won’t say whether she asked former MDHHS Director Robert Gordon to resignThe separation agreement was signed Feb. 22. Payments to Gordon represent nine months of salary -- his annual salary was $182,070 as director of the Department of Health and Human Services -- plus health insurance payments.mlive.com
Ex-Michigan health director gets $155K in separation agreement
(Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File)LANSING – Former Michigan Department of Public Health and Human Services director Robert Gordon will receive more than $155,000 as part of a separation agreement, published reports revealed Monday. Gordon resigned in January after signing a new employment agreement the previous October that included a $182,000 salary, according The Detroit News and the Free Press. However, the separation agreement says if asked, the state will say Gordon voluntarily resigned. “Per the terms of the agreement, we can’t comment further on a personnel matter.”Republican state Rep. Matt Hall of Marshall told The Detroit News he was “stunned” by the separation agreement. The fact that Gordon signed one isn’t necessarily in itself a “smoking gun” that a major falling-out had occurred with Whitmer, he said.
Michigan headed in ‘right direction’ on COVID-19, MDHHS director says during Senate vetting
Speaking before the Senate Advice and Consent Committee as lawmakers consider whether to allow her appointment to stand, MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel told lawmakers case numbers and positivity numbers continue to decline in Michigan as vaccination rates are going up. “In the instance of a public health crisis or a public health emergency, it’s absolutely the responsibility of the state health department to take action and have that authority,” she said. Gretchen Whitmer’s pick to lead the MDHHS after former director Robert Gordon abruptly announced his resignation on Twitter last month. Senate Republicans have used the advice and consent process to reject 18 Whitmer appointees this year as a show of disapproval against the Whitmer administration’s COVID-19 response. She served in various roles in the state’s health department from 2013-2016 and was director of Michigan Advocacy for Trinity Health before returning to MDHHS in February 2019.mlive.com
5 things to know about the Let Them Play lawsuit aimed to start winter contact sports competition
On Tuesday morning, the Let Them Play group finally filed a lawsuit it had been threatening against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in hopes of reinstating winter contact sports competition as soon as possible. Football season was eventually reinstated in September and Let Them Play had organized rallies at the state Capitol building. Still, Let Them Play is one of many plaintiffs listed as Michigan Amateur Youth Hockey League, LLC (MAYHL). Initially, the goal for Let Them Play was to have winter sports reinstated by Feb. 1 at the latest. “According to recent data from the University of Michigan School of Public Health, those actions likely prevented over 100,000 new cases and 1,960 or more deaths.mlive.com
Let Them Play files lawsuit against director of state health department to end ban on winter contact sports
Violation of Procedural and Substantive Due Process (US Const, Am XIV; 1963 Const, art 1, § 17)The January 22 Order was enacted without any procedural due process safeguards. C. Violation of the Right to Free Assembly (US Const, Am I; 1963 Const, art 1, § 3)The Free Assembly Clause of the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law . The Free Assembly Clause of the 1963 Michigan Constitution provides that “[t]he people have the right peaceably to assemble.” 1963 Const, art 1, § 3. To this end, it recognizes that the State of Michigan has an obligation to provide an adequate education. LetterAlong with the summary of the lawsuit, a letter from Ruddell addressed to Hertel dated Jan. 25, 2021 was provided.mlive.com
New Michigan health director Elizabeth Hertel discusses COVID vaccine rollout
Shortly after former Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon abruptly resigned on Jan. 22, Elizabeth Hertel was named the new director. Gretchen Whitmer appointed Hertel minutes after Gordon tweeted his resignation. “Our real challenge, the real barrier right now, is the number of vaccines we have actually coming in to the state. We have a lot of the infrastructure, the providers to be able to do the vaccine administration all over the state. “We’ve been working actively with both the local health departments and the hospital systems across the state to bring them together for that sort of coordination between the health systems and the local health departments,” Hertel said.
Gov. Whitmer insists every Michigan resident who wants COVID vaccine will get one
Gretchen Whitmer is assuring residents that everyone in the state who wants to receive a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to do so. Distribution of the vaccine has been a struggle around the country, but Whitmer reported progress Monday in the state’s process. Whitmer’s update on COVID-19 in MichiganShe said while only 44% of Michigan’s controlled vaccine supply had been administered two weeks ago, that number has risen to 67%, as of Monday. State officials said they’re still working to get enough vaccines for everyone in phases 1A and 1B to get their first doses. “Once we have the vaccines that we need, every eligible Michigander who wants a vaccine will get the vaccine,” Whitmer said.
Whitmer on COVID-19 in Michigan: ‘There’s light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still in the tunnel’
LANSING, Mich. – During an update on Michigan’s COVID-19 situation Monday, state officials provided some promising signs and some causes for concern. Whitmer’s update on COVID-19 in MichiganMichigan’s case rate is at 203 cases per million people, she said. New COVID variant in Michigan: 13 cases in Washtenaw County, 4 cases in Wayne CountyKhaldun thinks this is just the beginning of the spread. Gretchen Whitmer reported progress on the state’s vaccine distribution, saying 67% of the state-controlled supply has been administered, while the rest is scheduled. “There is light at the end of the tunnel, however, we are still in the tunnel,” Whitmer said.
‘A good sign’: Here are the updated statewide COVID-19 metrics for Michigan
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan’s top doctor reported mostly positive news Monday when she updated the state’s most important COVID-19 metrics. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said the state’s metrics are showing signs of improvement. Whitmer’s update on COVID-19 in MichiganMichigan’s case rate is at 203 cases per million people, she said. New COVID variant in Michigan: 13 cases in Washtenaw County, 4 cases in Wayne CountyOne cause of concern is the new variant of the virus. Khaldun is worried about how the spread of the variant will affect the case, positivity and hospitalization rates.
Michigan officials ‘don’t want to have to go backwards’ due to spread of new COVID variant
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan officials said they hope the state won’t have to move backward in the reopening process due to the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, but they have to continue monitoring the numbers. Whitmer’s update on COVID-19 in MichiganAs of Monday afternoon, Michigan officials had confirmed 17 cases of the new variant -- 13 in Washtenaw County and four in Wayne County. The spread of the B.1.1.7 variant of the virus has already caused a two-week shutdown of the University of Michigan athletic department. State officials are hoping more restrictions aren’t necessary. Michigan restaurants are set to resume indoor dining Feb. 1 for the first time since an MDHHS order went into effect in mid-November.
What Michigan Gov. Whitmer said about health director Robert Gordon’s abrupt resignation
LANSING, Mich. – When Michigan health director Robert Gordon abruptly resigned last week, Gov. Whitmer’s update on COVID-19 in MichiganNew MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel joined Whitmer for the briefing, but most of the questions were about Gordon. “I don’t think I have anything to add with regard to my comments about the former director,” Whitmer said. I wish Robert Gordon the very best. It has been a long, impossible-to-imagine experience, and I’m grateful that we had his leadership for two years and I’m wishing him very best-of-luck as he moves forward.”
Michigan high school contact sports ban: What Whitmer said about possibility of resuming
Gretchen Whitmer was asked Monday about the ban on certain Michigan high school contact sports and whether they might be allowed to resume in the near future. Right now, only certain sports, including football, are allowed to compete at Michigan high schools. This has become a controversial topic across the state as the governor urges all schools to resume in-person learning by March 1. On Monday, during a COVID-19 briefing, Whitmer was asked about contact sports resuming. “I was wondering if there’s any way you could set a date certain for contact sports to resume,” a reporter said.
Gov. Whitmer Mum On Health Chief’s Resignation, Sports Ban
Gretchen Whitmer on Monday refused to discuss the circumstances surrounding the abrupt departure of Michigan’s health director during the coronavirus pandemic, including whether she asked for his resignation. The governor named Elizabeth Hertel to succeed him, calling her “another incredibly qualified person” at the department. But youth contact sports, including winter high school seasons in basketball, hockey, wrestling and competitive cheer, remain off-limits. About 60,000 athletes are involved in winter contact sports, according to the Michigan High School Athletic Association. “As I believe you know, the opposition, despair, and anger to the continuing suspension of winter ‘contact’ sports is rapidly growing in the city and across the state,” Vitti wrote.detroit.cbslocal.com
Michigan Gov. Whitmer questioned on state health director’s sudden resignation
Gretchen Whitmer did not answer questions about what led to the sudden resignation of former Michigan Dept. Gordon announced suddenly on social media last Friday that he was leaving his position without giving a reason. Just minutes later the Governor’s office announced Gordon’s senior chief deputy director Elizabeth Hertel would be taking his place, but did not thank Gordon for his time as health chief during the pandemic. A new report from The Detroit News raised concerns about her position as a board member on the Michigan Public Health Institute and its ties to the Whitmer administration. That staff member did not have guidance on this story.
Whitmer won’t say whether she asked former MDHHS Director Robert Gordon to resign
But she didn’t answer one question that came up multiple times: Did she ask former MDHHS Director Robert Gordon to resign? Gordon broke the news of his resignation in a tweet Friday, saying simply, “Today, I am resigning from the Whitmer Administration. I look forward to the next chapter.”Shortly afterward, Whitmer put out a press release naming his former deputy, Elizabeth Hertel, as his successor. Related: Michigan health director abruptly resigns, replaced by deputyAsked by Kathy Gray of The New York Times whether she had asked for his resignation, Whitmer did not answer the question, but thanked Gordon for his service during the pandemic. A few questions later, reporter Rick Albin of WOOD-TV asked the same question again: Did she ask for Gordon’s resignation?mlive.com
New COVID variant in Michigan: 13 cases in Washtenaw County, 4 cases in Wayne County
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan officials have identified a total of 17 confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 variant in the state. On Monday afternoon, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said 13 cases have been identified in Washtenaw County and four cases have been identified in Wayne County. The new COVID-19 variant, B.1.1.7, is more easily spread from person to person, but it doesn’t appear to cause more severe disease, Khaldun said. An outbreak in the variant has caused a two-week shutdown of the University of Michigan athletic department. The variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, was confirmed in a resident who returned to Michigan from the UK, health officials said.
8 takeaways from Whitmer’s briefing: Michigan health director resigns, contact sports, COVID variant
“Once we have the vaccines that we need, every eligible Michigander who wants a vaccine will get the vaccine,” Whitmer said. New health director speaksMDHHS Director Robert Gordon abruptly resigned Friday, and Whitmer quickly appointed Elizabeth Hertel to fill the role. Hertel joined Whitmer for Monday’s briefing, and offered her first comments since taking over as Michigan’s health director. “I don’t think I have anything to add with regard to my comments about the former director,” Whitmer said. “I think it’s important to point out (the variant) and the seriousness and the high contagious aspects of this variant,” Whitmer said.
Whitmer refuses to answer questions about state health director's resignation
click to enlarge State of MichiganFormer MDHHS director Robert Gordon, left, and Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Each time, Whitmer refused to elaborate, starting with a question about whether she requested his resignation. "I want to thank Robert Gordon, [who led] this department in unimaginable circumstances," she said in response. "When another reporter asked a follow-up question about her relationship with Gordon, Whitmer declined to comment. "I wish Robert Gordon the very best.metrotimes.com
Zorn applauds resignation of state director
The Ida Republican said he called for Gordon’s resignation due to the unacceptable COVID-19 vaccination results under his leadership. State Sen. Dale Zorn applauded the resignation of Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Director Robert Gordon Friday. Two weeks ago, the Ida Republican said he called for Gordon’s resignation due to the unacceptable COVID-19 vaccination results under his leadership. The DHHS is in charge of vaccine distribution in Michigan. According to its online COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, the state had distributed 725,850 COVID-19 vaccines as of Jan. 6, but only 174,749 doses had been administeredmonroenews.com
Michigan restaurant association calls for vaccine prioritization for hospitality workers
click to enlarge ShutterstockMichigan's restaurant lobbying group says now that the state will allow indoor dining to resume next month, its workers should be given prioritization for COVID-19 vaccines. "We welcome the governor’s decision to reopen restaurant dining on February 1 as good, if overdue news," Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association (MRLA) president and CEO Justin Winslow said in a statement. "It is now time for this administration to move aggressively towards a more comprehensive reintegration strategy, which includes prioritizing vaccination for the broader hospitality industry and establishing clear metrics for phased reopening to 100 percent capacity of indoor dining. The safest course remains to support your favorite restaurant with carryout, delivery or outdoor dining. A federal judge denied the request in December.A number of studies have found indoor dining to be one of the riskiest public activities.metrotimes.com
With COVID-19 variant positives, Michigan pauses athletics
(Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File)ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The entire University of Michigan athletic department is pausing after several positive tests for the new COVID-19 variant that transmits at a higher rate. The state Department of Health and Human Services issued the mandate Saturday, with the school saying it follows the positive COVID-19 tests for several individuals linked to the athletic department. Michigan's men's basketball team leads the Big Ten and had four games scheduled in the next two weeks, including a big rivalry game against Michigan State on Feb. 6. The women's team currently has its highest AP ranking ever. The Wolverines were supposed to play six games between now and Feb. 7, including two against Michigan State.
Local Eats: 5 cozy outdoor dining options in Kalamazoo that protect diners from winter temps
KALAMAZOO, MI -- Michiganders are proving they are not afraid of a little cold weather as they bundle up for outdoor dining. Here’s a list of five outdoor dining spots to check out this month:Louie’s Trophy House’s Heated PatioWe are here for those who want to enjoy some outdoor dining! Outdoor dining is also allowed if customers want to sit and hang out a little longer. Bell’s Brewery is located at 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave.Pods storage containers transformed into dining pods at 600 Kitchen and Bar in Kalamazoo, Michigan. More on MLive:Where is Michigan’s Best Outdoor Dining?mlive.com
Nightside Report Jan. 22, 2021: Michigan health director announces resignation, Man attacked by dogs on Detroit’s west side
View of Detroit from the Windsor sky camera on Jan. 20, 2021 at 8:45 p.m.Michigan health director Robert Gordon announces resignationDETROIT – Robert Gordon, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, abruptly resigned on Friday. “Today, I am resigning from the Whitmer Administration,” Gordon tweeted at 2:52 p.m. Friday. 4 Fast FactsBe InformedElizabeth Hertel named new Michigan health director, Gov. Whitmer announcesElizabeth Hertel has been named the new director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, replacing Robert Gordon, who resigned Friday. Gretchen Whitmer appointed Hertel as the new Michigan health director minutes after Gordon tweeted his resignation.
Michigan health officials concerned over COVID variants
ANN ARBOR – As of Jan. 22, 2021, Michigan has three confirmed cases of B.1.1.7 -- the new more contagious strain of coronavirus. The three women are connected to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Scientists are also concerned about new variants detected in South Africa and Brazil, which have not been found in the United States yet. Dr. Anthony Fauci stressed the new variants highlight the need to get people vaccinated quickly. RELATED: Michigan health director Robert Gordon announces resignationRobert Gordon, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, abruptly resigned on Friday.
Local 4 News at 4 -- Jan. 22, 2021
Here’s what you missed on Local 4 News at 4:Michigan health director abruptly resigns -- Here’s who’s replacing himElizabeth Hertel has been named the new director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, replacing Robert Gordon, who resigned Friday. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed Hertel as the new Michigan health director minutes after Gordon tweeted his resignation.
Elizabeth Hertel named new Michigan health director, Gov. Whitmer announces
Elizabeth Hertel has been named the new director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, replacing Robert Gordon, who resigned Friday. Gretchen Whitmer appointed Hertel as the new Michigan health director minutes after Gordon tweeted his resignation. I look forward to the next chapter.”LATEST: Michigan health director Robert Gordon announces resignation“Robert Gordon has resigned from his position, and the governor has accepted his resignation,” the state release says. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Grand Valley State University and an MBA at Michigan State University. “Ending the COVID-19 pandemic is going to take hard work and partnership between state, government, businesses and organizations across the state,” Whitmer said.
Michigan health director Robert Gordon announces resignation
Director Robert Gordon, of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, at a Jan. 13, 2021, COVID-19 briefing. Robert Gordon, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, abruptly resigned on Friday. — Robert Gordon (@robertmgordon) January 22, 2021“Today, I am resigning from the Whitmer Administration,” Gordon tweeted at 2:52 p.m. Friday. I look forward to the next chapter.”UPDATE: Elizabeth Hertel named new Michigan health director, Gov. Most notably, Gordon has helped make recent announcements about MDHHS restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Michigan's health director resigned after the state allowed restaurants to reopen
Robert Gordon announced his resignation from his role as director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on Friday afternoon. "We are pleased to see the improvements in case rates, hospitalizations and percent positivity that have allowed us to reopen more activities," Khaldun said. Targeted and temporary closures that include restaurants have been part of successful strategies for containing COVID surges in Western Europe. Ending the COVID-19 pandemic is going to take hard work and partnership between state government, businesses, and organizations across the state. Let’s finish the job and end the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all."metrotimes.com
Michigan Gov. Whitmer to hold COVID news conference
Gretchen Whitmer is planning to hold a news conference Friday morning to provide an update on Michigan’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Whitmer will be joined by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. A screenshot of Covid Act Now's map of the U.S. with states color-coded according to their "Covid Risk Level." Michigan is labeled as "at risk" of a COVID outbreak, while most other states are considered to be experiencing an "active or imminent outbreak," according to data. Photo courtesy of Covid Act Now's website.
State monitoring COVID-19 variant, restaurants to reopen on schedule
The state continues to monitor the new highly-contagious COVID-19 variant, but dine-in service in Michigan is set to resume Feb. 1LANSING — State health authorities are now on high alert after a new variant of the COVID-19 virus has been detected in three Washtenaw County women. Both state and federal health officials have acknowledged that the variant is not expected to change the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines. State officials expect the variant to show up in other parts of the state soon. Indoor dining reopens Feb. 1News of the highly contagious variant comes as Michigan prepares to open its restaurants to indoor dining services, with mask and social distancing restrictions in place, by Feb. 1. “Now, we are confident that starting February 1, restaurants can resume indoor dining with safety measures in place.”arabamericannews.com
114 takeaways after Michigan officials discuss COVID variant, recent trends, restaurants reopening
National trends and how Michigan comparesMichigan has the 23rd highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases of any state in the last seven days. There were 480 COVID-19 deaths between Jan. 3 and Jan. 9, and the death rate is 8.9 deaths per million residents. We have seen a long decline in COVID-19 cases since the end of November, however, since around Christmas, that decline has plateaued. COVID-19 spread in MichiganThe number of weekly reported COVID-19 cases to public health is remaining about the same. The variant gives Lyon-Callo cause for concern because instead of maintaining a decline in case rate, Michigan might see an increase in trajectory.
Bowling centers, roller rink sue Whitmer for damages caused by shutdown
The Independent Bowling & Entertainment Centers Association hired Kallman on behalf of five of its members in the lawsuit. “Our members deserve fair and just compensation from the state of Michigan.”Bennett estimates up to half of Michigan’s bowling centers might not survive the pandemic. Bowling centers and roller rinks were forced to close in Michigan at the start of the pandemic and again starting in November. The dine-in ban includes serving food and drinks at bowling centers. That typically accounts for 60% to 80% of the total revenue for some bowling centers, Bennett said.mlive.com
Indoor dining at restaurants remains on track to reopen Feb. 1
Michigan’s restaurant industry remains on track to reopen indoor dining Feb. 1 despite concerns over the new, more contagious coronavirus variant being discovered within the state. “While restaurants will reopen that day, there will remain risk associated with indoor dining.”Last week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a two-week extension to restrictions that banned indoor dining at restaurants, but said those businesses may be allowed to resume indoor dining Feb. 1 with mask requirements, capacity limits and a curfew. Related: How much should new coronavirus variant worry Michiganders? As of Tuesday, Michigan has tracked 540,115 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 47,333 probable cases.mlive.com
Gov. Whitmer activates Michigan National Guard ahead of weekend protest at Capitol
Gretchen Whitmer has activated the Michigan National Guard as the state prepares for a protest this weekend at the Capitol. “The Michigan State Police is leading security efforts in coordination with the Michigan National Guard and other public safety agencies,” spokesperson Tiffany Brown said in an email statement. “It’s not to say there is an impending threat, but simply that we are prepared to respond accordingly.”READ: 13 takeaways from Gov. To her knowledge, there aren’t currently any specific threats, Whitmer said. “I can just say we are prepared if something should arise and hopeful that it does not,” she said.
Michigan gives certain businesses affected by COVID-19 extra time to make tax payments
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan is giving certain businesses, including restaurants, that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic extra time to make tax payments. Restaurants that depend on indoor dining and most entertainment and recreational venues are included in this extension, according to state officials. “Businesses impacted by COVID-19 have made incredible sacrifices to protect their communities, their employees and their customers,” Michigan Gov. On Wednesday, Michigan Whitmer said the state hopes to resume indoor dining at restaurants by Feb. 1, as long as COVID-19 metrics meet state standards. Gordon said indoor dining is inherently risky in terms of spreading COVID-19 because it requires people from different households to remove their masks while indoors.
Michigan ‘prepared to respond accordingly’ if threat is made to state Capitol, Whitmer says
LANSING, Mich. – Members of law enforcement are coordinating with the Michigan National Guard to make sure they’re prepared to respond to any sign of violence at the state Capitol, Gov. “What we are seeing play out across our country right now is deeply concerning,” Whitmer said. “It’s not to say there is an impending threat, but simply that we are prepared to respond accordingly.”READ: 13 takeaways from Gov. To her knowledge, there aren’t currently any specific threats, Whitmer said. “I can just say we are prepared if something should arise and hopeful that it does not,” she said.
Can Michiganders be confident that COVID-19 order won’t be extended beyond Jan. 31?
LANSING, Mich. – After announcing that the COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan would be extended through the end of the month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was asked how people can be confident there won’t be another extension. Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday that the order, which was set to expire Friday (Jan. 15), has been revised and extended until Jan. 31. LATEST: Michigan extends COVID-19 order through end of January, but permits more physical activities“What is going to change between now and Feb. 1 where people can be confident it’s not going to be extended past that, just yet again?” Whitmer was asked. MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said state officials will keep an eye on the case rate, percent positivity and hospitalizations to determine whether restaurants and other segments of the economy can reopen Feb. 1.
20 takeaways from Whitmer’s COO breaking down COVID vaccine distribution in Michigan
Gretchen Whitmer’s chief operating officer and executive lead on the state’s operational response to containing COVID-19, Tricia Foster, spoke about vaccine distribution in the state. Whitmer’s COVID update Wednesday (Jan. 13)Here are 20 takeaways from Foster’s comments:There are over 1,218 registered providers of the COVID-19 vaccine in Michigan. Every dose of the vaccine that Michigan has received has been delivered to a provider, and that provider has scheduled the dose to be administered, Foster said. “I want to be very clear: The state of Michigan is not sitting on doses of vaccine,” she said. “As soon as we get the supply we need, we’ll begin moving closer to our 50,000 shots per day goal,” Foster said.
Michigan’s new COVID order allows more indoor physical activities -- everything you need to know
LANSING, Mich. – When Michigan’s new COVID-19 order goes into effect this weekend, some additional indoor physical activities will be allowed. Four winter contact sports may also begin indoor practices with non-contact activities, MHSAA announced. Swimming and diving will begin Jan. 22 and gymnastics and bowling will begin Jan. 25. Basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling are considered contact sports and may begin non-contact practices Saturday. These are all crucial for Michigan gyms and fitness centers that have been hit hard by the past year’s shutdowns, restrictions and COVID-19-related membership cancellations.
Michigan reports good news and bad news with latest COVID-19 metrics update
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, at a Jan. 13, 2021, COVID-19 briefing. LANSING, Mich. – After Michigan’s most important COVID-19 metrics improved for several weeks in a row, the state’s latest update came with some good news and some bad news. Whitmer’s COVID update Wednesday (Jan. 13)The case rate has increased recently and “may be plateauing,” Khaldun said. This is the first time since mid-November that both the case rate and positivity rate have risen in the same week, according to the state. Khaldun said Michigan, overall, is in a much better place than it was in early November.
If Michigan restaurants reopen next month, there will be ‘strong safety measures in place’
LANSING, Mich. – If Michigan restaurants are allowed to reopen their doors to indoor dining at the beginning of next month, it will be with new and strengthened COVID-19 safety rules, according to state officials. Gretchen Whitmer said the state hopes to resume indoor dining at restaurants by Feb. 1, as long as COVID-19 metrics meet state standards. Whitmer’s COVID update Wednesday (Jan. 13)If they do reopen, restaurants will face increased restrictions, Whitmer said. “We’re working on a path to allow indoor dining at restaurants with safety measures such as mask requirements, capacity limits and a curfew, starting on Feb. 1,” Whitmer said. He said whether or not restaurants actually reopen Feb. 1 will depend on what happens with COVID-19 cases between now and the end of the month.
Michigan board considers authorizing $58.5 million in COVID-19 relief for small businesses
LANSING, Mich. – A Michigan board will hold a special meeting Thursday to consider authorizing another $58.5 million in COVID-19 relief for small businesses, Gov. The money would help Michigan small businesses keep their lights on, pay employees and, in some cases, prepare to reopen when the time comes, according to the state. The Michigan Strategic Fund Board has a special meeting scheduled for Thursday (Jan. 14) to consider the proposal. “It will also include $3.5 million for the Michigan Stages Survival Grant program working with the Michigan Independent Venue and Promoters Association to administer that program,” the governor said Wednesday. The relief is part of the bipartisan stimulus package signed into law last month to help businesses fighting to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michigan relief grant for workers at restaurants, other venues affected by COVID-19 -- what to know
(Photo by Richard Bord/Getty Images)LANSING, Mich. – Michigan has announced the release of employee assistance grants for restaurant employees and entertainment and recreational venue workers who have been financially hurt by COVID-19. Gretchen Whitmer said the program includes specific types of workers whose employment was negatively affected by COVID-19. Employees at entertainment and recreational venues, as well as restaurant workers, are included, she said. These employee assistance grants are designed to help offset some of the financial loss for people struggling due to COVID-19. “Please don’t wait to apply for the grant program, which opens up Friday,” Whitmer said.
Michigan Gov. Whitmer believes $2,000 stimulus checks ‘absolutely necessary’ for struggling Americans
Gretchen Whitmer said Wednesday that she believes $2,000 stimulus checks are “absolutely necessary” for struggling Americans as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. “Last month, I called on the federal government to pass a relief bill that included the $2,000 stimulus checks for Americans who are struggling to get by,” Whitmer said. “I still believe that bill is absolutely necessary.”While many Michiganders recently received $600 stimulus checks, some believe that isn’t enough for those in need to get by. Whitmer has long urged legislators to permanently expand unemployment benefits for Michiganders during the pandemic. There’s a 10-day window to apply for the grant: from Jan. 15 through Jan. 25.
Whitmer confirms start of $300 unemployment payments to Michiganders affected by COVID-19
Michiganders have started to receive their $300 unemployment payments, the governor says. Gretchen Whitmer confirmed Wednesday that the $300 unemployment payments have begun going out to Michiganders who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is good news for workers across the state who have lost their jobs as a result of this pandemic,” Whitmer said. Whitmer’s COVID update Wednesday (Jan. 13)She said the state started issuing the payments to around 365,000 claimants over the weekend. The Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments run from Dec. 27, 2020, through March 13, 2021.
13 takeaways from Whitmer’s COVID update: Michigan order extended, restaurants reopening?
MDHHS order extendedMichigan has extended the COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan through the end of January, but the order has been revised to allow more forms of physical activity. Indoor diningWhitmer said the state is aiming to resume indoor dining at restaurants in on Feb. 1. Depending on how COVID-19 cases trend in the next two weeks, restaurants might be able to resume indoor dining with certain restrictions. Meijer chosen as COVID-19 vaccine partnerMichigan has chosen Meijer as the initial pharmacy partner to help the state administer the COVID-19 vaccines. She said she has had conversations with Michigan State Police and the Michigan National Guard, as well as local police in Lansing, about security.
Fitness classes, some indoor sports to resume in Michigan
Gretchen Whitmer and other state officials announced some reopenings starting Saturday. Amid emphatic statements that they are trying to get COVID-19 vaccines distributed as fast as possible to Michigan residents, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other state officials announced some reopenings starting Saturday. The vaccination efforts did have a slow start, and state officials spoke quite a bit about that during the press conference. Whitmer said the number of vaccines that were shipped to Michigan during the past few weeks was far lower than expected.monroenews.com
Indoor group exercise, non-contact sports can resume in Michigan on Jan. 16
Gretchen Whitmer announced that indoor group exercise and non-contact sports can resume in Michigan starting Jan. 16. Gyms have remained open for independent exercise even as the state “paused” activities like indoor dining in recent weeks. The most recent order from Gordon allows for non-contact sports and indoor exercise classes to reopen starting Jan. 16 and runs through Jan. 31. Indoor dining, water parks and night clubs remain closed, and contact sports and indoor gatherings of more than 10 people remain banned. Related: Whitmer ‘hopes’ to reopen indoor dining Feb. 1 with capacity limits, curfewWhitmer said people should continue to take precautions, despite some sectors reopening.mlive.com
Michigan extends COVID-19 order through end of January, but permits more physical activities
Director Robert Gordon, of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, at a Jan. 13, 2021, COVID-19 briefing. LANSING, Mich. – Officials have extended the COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan through the end of January, but the order has been revised to allow more forms of physical activity. The announcement was made Wednesday by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon, along with Gov. Depending on how COVID-19 cases trend in the next two weeks, restaurants might be able to resume indoor dining with certain restrictions. On Tuesday, the state of Michigan reported 1,994 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 100 additional deaths.
Michigan aims to resume indoor dining at restaurants on Feb. 1, Gov. Whitmer says
Gretchen Whitmer said the state is aiming to resume indoor dining at restaurants in February after a spike in COVID-19 cases late last year sparked a ban of more than two months. Depending on how COVID-19 cases trend in the next two weeks, restaurants might be able to resume indoor dining with certain restrictions. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is once again extending its order that put stricter COVID-19 rules into place throughout the state. By the time restaurants might resume indoor dining Feb. 1, they would have been closed for about 10 and a half weeks. Whitmer, along with Dr. Joneigh Khaldun and Director Robert Gordon, both of MDHHS, has maintained throughout the pause that indoor dining is among the riskiest activities in terms of spreading COVID-19.
Watch Gov. Whitmer’s full update (Jan. 13) on Michigan’s handling of COVID-19
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer provided an update Wednesday on the state’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. She announced the state is aiming to reopen restaurants for indoor dining in the near future. Michigan’s Chief Operating Officer, Tricia Foster, also provided an update on the state’s vaccine distribution efforts. UPDATE: Michigan aims to resume indoor dining at restaurants on Feb. 1, Gov.
Michigan project to distribute free face masks
A new program is set to provide several million face masks across Michigan, including Monroe County residents. A new program is set to provide several million face masks across Michigan, including Monroe County residents. Earlier this week, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced it will distribute more than 3.5 million free face masks as the state continues to respond to COVID-19 pandemic. The local MDHHS office, which serves the entirety of Monroe County, gave its supply to the Monroe County Opportunity Program. Effective masks widely available for public consumption include the KN95 models, as well as three-layered disposable masks and three-layered cloth masks, according to MDHHS.monroenews.com
Restaurants defying Michigan dine-in ban hit with fines from multiple state agencies
Multiple Michigan agencies are punishing businesses disobeying COVID-19 safety measures, and a few businesses have been fined by multiple places. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Liquor Control Commission and Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration have issued dozens of citations in recent weeks. The latest batch is 13 MDHHS fines to restaurants and bars for violating Michigan’s latest health order, which closes dine-in seating at restaurants through Jan. 15. Businesses are fined $1,000 per violation, per day. Five restaurants have been hit with a double-whammy of fines from both the MDHHS and the MLCC.mlive.com
Everything to know about COVID in Michigan before Gov. Whitmer’s live update (Jan. 6)
Click here to watch her full briefing live, starting at 1:30 p.m..Here’s everything you should know about COVID-19 in Michigan before the briefing begins. 500,000 casesMichigan surpassed 500,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, then added another 2,291 cases and 189 deaths Tuesday. The state totals are up to 504,410 confirmed cases and 12,867 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic. COVID-19 orderMichigan is currently under an order issued by the Department of Health and Human Services until Jan. 15. Whitmer said state officials wanted to see continued progress in the numbers before lifting more restrictions, but didn’t reveal specific thresholds that need to be met.
13 businesses cited for violating Michigan’s COVID-19 order, state says
LANSING, Mich. – Michigan health officials have issued citations to 13 businesses due to violations of the COVID-19 order put in place by the Department of Health and Human Services. “We continue to see improvements in the numbers, and we know that the public health orders we have put in place are working. “The number of cases, the positivity rate, and hospital capacity have declined in recent weeks, taking stress off our hospitals and health care workers,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive at MDHHS. “We will continue to monitor the data and assess for any potential surges in cases after the holidays. Most food service establishments like restaurants and bars have helped play a critical role in the existing decline by following the order.”
Michigan to distribute 3.5 million free KN95 masks to protect against COVID-19
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is distributing 3.5 million free masks as part of the state’s Mask Up, Mask Right campaign. Free KN95 masks provided by MDHHS will be distributed by community organizations, including local MDHSS offices, health departments and Area Agency on Aging offices. “We are urging Michiganders to Mask Up and Mask Right to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities from COVID-19,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. Health officials recommend the general public uses a KN95 mask, three-layered disposable mask or three-layered washable cloth face covering when outside the house to protect against COVID-19. In addition to MDHHS offices, local health departments and Area Agency on Aging offices, the free masks are available from Community Action Agencies, and Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).mlive.com
Michigan to distribute 3.5 million free KN95 masks: How to find them
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)The state of Michigan will distribute 3.5 million KN95 face coverings at no cost to residents as part of the state’s masking campaign. Free KN95 masks provided by MDHHS will be distributed by community organizations, including local MDHSS offices, health departments and Area Agency on Aging offices. KN95 masks are similar to but should not be confused with N95 masks that are intended for health care workers who are engaged as part of their work in higher-risk settings. In addition to MDHHS offices, local health departments and Area Agency on Aging offices, the free masks are available from Community Action Agencies. Mask Up, Mask Right.
Michigan's health department is distributing 3.5 million free masks as part of its 'Mask Up, Mask Right' campaign
click to enlarge Shutterstockclick to enlargeAs Michigan officials work toward flattening the curve of a second COVID-19 surge , the state's health department announced it's distributing 3.5 million free masks as part of a "Mask Up, Mask Right" campaign.Free KN95 masks will be provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to community organizations, including local MDHSS offices, health departments, and Area Agency on Aging offices, as well as homeless shelters. "We are urging Michiganders to Mask Up and Mask Right to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities from COVID-19," MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said in a statement. "Wearing the right kind of mask is important. Today's distribution of effective masks will help more Michiganders limit the spread of COVID to save lives and get back to normal sooner. Bandanas, masks with vents, and plastic face shields worn without a mask are also not advised.If you need a mask, you can find a local distribution point at michigan.gov/MaskUpMichigan or by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136.metrotimes.com
Looking back at 110 stories that define Gov. Whitmer’s handling of COVID-19 in Michigan this year
In promulgating Executive Order 2020-69 and Executive Order 2020-70, the Governor has done just that by placing restrictions on certain activities to limit social interactions. “Good news, sports fans: We are now ready to gradually and safely allow professional sports to resume in Michigan,” Whitmer said. July 14: State of emergency extendedWhitmer extended the Michigan state of emergency until Aug. 11 as COVID-19 cases rose across the state. The five-year lending, investment and philanthropic plan aimed to help improve financial opportunities for Michigan businesses, consumers and communities. Dec. 29: Relief bill, unemployment extensionWhitmer signed a $106 million relief bill and also extended COVID-19 unemployment benefits through March 2021.
Whitmer vetoes bills that would limit public health orders and repeal governor’s emergency powers
Gretchen Whitmer vetoed a pair of Republican lame-duck efforts Wednesday to curb her administration’s emergency powers. Whitmer predictably nixed both bills on Dec. 30, and there is not enough bipartisan support in either chamber to override the vetoes. MDHHS has mirrored several of Whitmer’s response measures to limit gathering and COVID-19 spread in subsequent public health emergency orders. Read more: Michigan Senate approves bill that would limit public health orders to 28 daysThe bill would be retroactive, meaning that if it had been signed, Gordon’s orders would cease immediately. Read more: Michigan’s public health orders are legal under state code, but there will be constitutional challengesmlive.com
No crimes found by Michigan AG on canceled partisan contact-tracing contract, but key witness mum
LANSING, MI - State health officials rushed the process, but didn’t break the law when they procured a contact-tracing contract with a Democrat-tied firm, according to the Michigan Attorney General’s office. Gretchen Whitmer’s Deputy Chief of Staff, expressed some concerns in the report over the partisan optics of the contract, which was quickly canceled by late April. Read more: Michigan seeks nonpartisan firm after canceling contract for coronavirus trackingSen. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, requested Nessel’s office investigate the matter for criminal procurement and ethics violations. In addition, Nessel’s office found no willful neglect of duty, misconduct in office or fraud violations from any of the people interviewed. Nessel’s office considers the case closed at this time.mlive.com
Michigan high school football practice to return on Monday, fall sports allowed to finish seasons
According to the MHSAA, regional finals in 11-player and semifinals in eight-player are expected to be played Jan. 2. Also, the 11-player semifinals will be played Jan. 9 at home sites and the eight-player championship games will be played the same day. “We will also be offering a new pilot program for fall sports, including contact sports, that use antigen tests in order to ensure safety as students complete high school fall championships. The high school football season was put on pause back on Nov. 15, one day after the 11-player district championship rounds and eight-player region championship rounds ended. Gretchen Whitmer said the order would be lifted on Jan. 15, or sooner if coronavirus numbers improve.mlive.com
Michigan poised to allow in-person high school instruction to resume
Gretchen Whitmer is poised to announce in-person instruction at Michigan high schools can resume, according to sources familiar with the administration’s plans. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon implemented a three-week “pause” on some activities, like in-person dining and in-person instruction for high school and college students, in November. The Associated Press first reported that in-person instruction would be allowed to resume for grades 9-12 under the latest iteration of restrictions. Also unclear is the fate of high school sports. Pause continues for Michigan high school sportsmlive.com
MI COVID Alert app hits nearly half a million downloads in its first month
Just one month after the statewide launch, the MI COVID Alert app has reached nearly 500,000 downloads. LANSING — Just one month after the statewide launch, the MI COVID Alert app has reached nearly 500,000 downloads. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) announced that there have been 461,192 downloads of the app. “So much about fighting COVID is hard, but this is easy: Please download MI COVID Alert on your phone,” MDHHS Director Robert Gordon said. The MI COVID Alert app is available on both Android and Apple phones through the App Store.arabamericannews.com