Live Updates: Coronavirus In The Lansing Region

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Credit Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS / CDC

Regular updates from WKAR News about the regional response to the pandemic.

Para obtener información sobre COVID-19 en español, haga clic aquí.

4:42 p.m. Wed. 4/21/21

After multiple delays, the Lansing School District announced that all classes will remain online for the rest of the school year, which concludes June 11, 2021. There will be no in-person learning for any grade levels.

The district will continue one-on-one face-to-face services offered through the Department of Special Education. Learning labs will also remain open.

Additionally, the school district will offer two summer learning programs. The first session will be from June 21 to July 14, and the second session will be from July 19 to August 13. More information is available here.

– Amanda Barberena

2:19 p.m. Mon. 4/19/21

The Ingham County Health Department is allowing all Michigan residents to schedule an appointment to be vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Michigan State University Pavilion clinic.

The site is drive-thru only.

Appointments are available as early as this week.

The department is also shifting from vaccinating about 1,600 people per day to eventually 3,000-4,000.

Previously, the health department was only vaccinating people who live or work in Ingham County.

Other vaccine clinics at the Ingham County Fairgrounds and the Dwight Rich School for the Arts are also available to all residents.

-Sophia Saliby

5:46 p.m. Fri. 4/16/21

Michigan has extended its existing COVID-19 public health restrictions for another month, and mask requirements will soon apply to children as young as two years old.

Parents and caregivers must make a good-faith effort to keep masks on younger kids under new rules that will go into effect April 26th. The order also extends until May 24th the 50-percent occupancy limit and distancing requirements at restaurants and event centers, as well as testing for participants in youth sports. 

The order was issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services with the backing of Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

- Rick Pluta

12:57 p.m. Fri. 4/16/21

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services updated their COVID-19 vaccine dashboard, so it’s easier to navigate and understand.

The dashboard reflects the following changes:

  • Shows the date the vaccine(s) were delivered to providers.
  • Includes the number of doses delivered by both state providers and federal programs within the state. Previously, the data only showed the deliveries from the state’s allocations.
  • And, the number of doses administered will look slightly different.

As of now, over 3.5 million Michiganders have received at least their first dose of a COVID vaccine.

More information is available here.

– Amanda Barberena

12:10 p.m. Thur. 4/15/21

The Lansing School District has pushed in-person learning back to April 26. In a letter today, the district said that COVID-19 minimum infection rates in Ingham County have not been met to make it safe to return to in-person learning.

Additional information will be sent directly to families with students in the district. It will include details about in-person learning days and hours.

In general, students will have online instruction Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings with the option to attend in-person learning in the afternoons.

On Wednesdays, all teaching will be virtual, so the district can deep clean the schools.

More information is available at the Lansing School District website.

– Amanda Barberena

1:43 p.m. Tue. 4/13/21

The Ingham County Health Department has paused administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine after recommendations from the CDC and the FDA. U.S. health officials are looking into six reports of extremely rare blood clots that may be connected to the vaccine.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are unaffected by the pause. They will be administered to people who have scheduled Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments until the pause is lifted.

More than 6.8 million people have received a Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.

More information is available here.

– Amanda Barberena

12:03 p.m. Mon. 4/12/21

Sparrow has opened an indoor COVID vaccination clinic which will provide up to 3,000 shots a day. It’s located at the former Sears building.

The Sparrow drive-thru will remain open for COVID-19 testing and will expand to seven lanes.

The indoor clinic is open from 7AM to 3PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 1PM to 6PM on Tuesday and Thursday; and 8AM to 4PM on Saturday. More information can be found here.

– Amanda Barberena

12:06 p.m. Fri. 4/9/21

Governor Whitmer is urging Michigan schools to suspend in-person high school classes and youth sports for two weeks. She is also asking restaurants to pause indoor dining.

Michigan currently has one of the highest rates of new COVID-19 cases in the country. Whitmer says these COVID precautions are voluntary.

Additionally, she has encouraged people to order takeout or eat outside and meeting with people outdoors rather than inside.

– Amanda Barberena

10:56 a.m. Thur. 4/8/21

Starting Friday, April 9, Michigan State University students will be able to receive a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on campus.

Current students must register, and shots are on a first-come first-serve basis. The student-only vaccine clinic is located at the Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education. 

For those who are concerned about getting a vaccine, more information is available through Michigan State, or listen to WKAR’s special answering listeners’ COVID vaccine questions. 

There are other vaccine administration locations across the state that are not specific to current MSU students. More information can be found here.

– Amanda Barberena

4:51 p.m. Wed. 4/7/21

The Lansing School District has delayed in-person learning until April 19 for students in preschool through 12th grade. Due to spring break, the Ingham County Health Department recommended that students in grades 6-12 don’t go back to face-to-face instruction until the week of April 19.

The district says they’ll continue face-to-face one-on-one learning services for students receiving services through the Department of Special Education. The district website has more information.

– Amanda Barberena

11:54 a.m. Mon. 4/5/21

All Michigan residents age 16 and older are now eligible for the COVID vaccine.

Starting Monday, April 5, the Ingham County Health Department will begin collecting health insurance information from people who are insured when they go to get their COVID vaccine.

The county health department said they want to stress that there will remain no out-of-pocket costs to receive a COVID vaccine. Anyone, whether they are insured or not, can receive a vaccine.

The federal government is providing free COVID vaccines to everyone living in the United States, no matter their immigration status.

Other health departments in Michigan are already billing insurance companies for the vaccine, because vaccine providers are able to seek reimbursement. Previously, Ingham County was not billing insurance companies.

Click here to register for a COVID vaccine.

– Amanda Barberena

8:17 p.m. Wed. 3/24/21

The Lansing School District is once again delaying the start of its in-person learning.

In a message Wednesday, the school district said it was pushing back the start of the SOAR program from March 29 to April 12 — after spring break.

The LSD says this is due to COVID-19 metrics not meeting the district’s requirements.

Schools that were scheduled to start on either March 22, 29, or April 12 will all now begin on April 12.

All other schools will start on their scheduled dates, April 19 and 26.

- Karel Vega

4:21 p.m. Fri. 3/19/21

New state health orders will soon allow more people to attend live sports events, and will require teenaged athletes to be tested weekly for COVID-19.

The new rules were announced Friday by the state’s chief medical executive and Governor Gretchen Whitmer despite an uptick in COVID infections in Michigan as well as positivity rates. Much of that is related to teen sports meets.

The new order will allow more fans into outdoor sports stadiums. Starting Monday, stadiums can allow up to 20% of their capacity. Teams must have plans to enforce mask and social distancing requirements.

- Rick Pluta

9:56 a.m. Thur. 3/18/21

The Lansing School District is delaying their start of hybrid learning by a week. Originally, the school district planned to have some in-person learning beginning March 22. However, they said due to area COVID-19 metrics, they are pushing the hybrid learning start date to March 29.

– Amanda Barberena

6:44 p.m. Tue. 3/16/21

Michigan State University has detected the presence of the B117 variant of COVID-19 in the East Lansing campus community.

In a message sent Tuesday, MSU President Samuel Stanley Jr. said the presence of the more contagious strain, which originated in the United Kingdom, was detected through a partnership between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services laboratory and MSU.

Stanley urged members of the community to comply with all campus, city, county and state health measures.

Ahead of St. Patrick’s Day, the East Lansing city council had previously approved an order temporarily restricting social gathering sizes on March 17.

- Karel Vega

5:30 p.m. Tue. 3/16/21

A COVID-19 outbreak has been tied to several sports teams at Grand Ledge Public Schools. Local health officials believe those infected have one of the more contagious strains of the virus.

 

Since last Friday, Grand Ledge Public Schools have reported 47 likely cases of the B117 strain of the coronavirus.

 

Most of them are tied to several high school and middle school students and coaches.

 

That’s according to a message from the school district and the Barry-Eaton District Health Department.

 

Eaton County confirmed its first case of the B117 variant last month. The health department used genetic sequencing on two coronavirus tests to determine the cluster is likely tied to the variant first identified in Great Britain.

 

The school district is holding a free-pop up testing event for community members Tuesday and Wednesday in Grand Ledge.

 

- Karel Vega

 

12:32 p.m. Fri. 03/12/21

Starting March 22, all Michiganders ages 16 and older with medical conditions or disabilities are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, starting April 5, all Michiganders 16+ will be eligible.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ goal is to vaccinate 70% of Michiganders for the COVID-19 vaccine.

People are encouraged to schedule an appointment for a vaccination since demand still exceeds supply of the vaccine doses. Those who are older, higher risk, essential workers and frontline workers will be allocated vaccines first.

On Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, social gathering sizes will be temporarily restricted in parts of East Lansing.

On March 9, the East Lansing City Council approved an order that limits outdoor gatherings with the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority to 15 people.

Lines outside businesses are temporarily unavailable. The order encourages people to use virtual line apps and reservation systems instead of waiting inside or outside East Lansing restaurants and bars.

The order is in effect from midnight on Wednesday, March 17 to 2AM on Thursday, March 18.

People who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine can receive one from the Ingham County Health Centers. They need to register and schedule an appointment. People do not need to be established patients.

The county health centers are currently offering the two-dose Moderna vaccine.

– Amanda Barberena

12:04 p.m. Wed. 03/10/21

Michigan State University is planning to host smaller in-person graduation ceremonies for spring 2021 undergraduates. Each college will have multiple ceremonies based on a student’s last name and major.

Commencements will be held in parking lots, no matter what the weather conditions are like, to allow for social distancing. All graduates and guests will be required to wear a face covering. Each student can have up to two guests.

Those graduating with a master’s degree, doctoral degree or education specialist will have a virtual commencement.

Those who were not given a change to graduate in-person (May 2020 and December 2020 graduates) will be able to walk in-person at a future date. There is not enough room at outdoor commencements for past graduates as well as current graduates.

– Amanda Barberena

11:11 a.m. Tue. 03/09/21

On Wednesday, March 10, Governor Whitmer is asking all flags to be lowered to half-staff to honor the one year anniversary of the coronavirus being identified in Michigan.

She ordered all flags within the State Capitol Complex and all Michigan public buildings to be lowered to half-staff.

The governor is also asking people to turn the lights on outside of their homes from 8PM to 9PM on March 10 to honor those who have passed away from the virus.

As of March 9, 598,014 people in Michigan have tested positive for COVID-19, and 15,670 Michigan lives have been lost.

Ingham County’s community outreach pilot program has been awarded additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in order to reach more people in the area who are eligible for the vaccine.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Protect Michigan Commission are working with Michigan communities to bring additional vaccines to areas with a higher Social Vulnerability Index and more COVID-19 deaths.

– Amanda Barberena

11:29 a.m. Fri. 03/05/21

Starting Friday, March 5, fifteen people can gather outdoors in parts of East Lansing, including the downtown. Previously, only ten people were allowed to gather, but the state has since relaxed COVID-19 safety restrictions. The new emergency order is in effect indefinitely.

– Amanda Barberena

4:23 p.m. Wed. 03/03/21

Starting Monday, March 8, people in Michigan who are 50 and older with medical conditions and/or disabilities will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Those who care for children with special health care needs will be eligible.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also announced that anyone in Michigan 50 and older will be eligible for the vaccine starting March 22.

The move follows President Joe Biden’s announcement of a national goal to vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of May.

– Amanda Barberena

12:11 p.m. Wed. 03/03/21

Restaurant capacity in Michigan will increase from 25% to 50% on Friday, March 5. The maximum restaurant capacity will be 100 people, and tables must be six feet apart. Restaurant curfew will be 11PM instead of 10PM. This order is in effect through April 19.

The above Michigan COVID-19 restrictions will be in effect starting Friday, March 5.
Credit Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also announced that visitation is allowed in nursing homes as long as the nursing home hasn’t had a new case of COVID-19 in the last two weeks. This order goes into effect immediately. The MDHHS decided to open indoor and outdoor visitation, because all residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Visitors will still be required to wear a face covering and maintain six feet of social distancing from others.

Additionally, indoor residential gathering will be allowed to have 15 people from up to three different households starting March 5. Outdoor residential gatherings can be up to 50 people.

Indoor non-residential gatherings will be allowed to have 25 people starting March 5. Outdoor non-residential gatherings can have up to 300 people. Indoor entertainment venues can have 50% capacity up to 300 people. Retail businesses can have up to 50% capacity, and casinos can have up to 30% capacity.

– Amanda Barberena

4:49 p.m. Mon. 02/15/21

Across the state, 41 federally qualified health centers will receive COVID-19 vaccines, so they can provide vaccines to those 65 and older living in underserved areas of Michigan.

Additionally, mortuary service workers are now eligible for the vaccine, and starting March 1, workers in food processing and agricultural settings will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is trying to reach all areas of Michigan, with a goal of having 70% of Michiganders 16 and older vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible.

They have also extended their program to reach more people in Michigan by allowing health providers to request a COVID-19 vaccine for people 60 and older.

– Amanda Barberena

11:40 a.m. Mon. 02/08/21

The coronavirus variant B.1.1.7. has been identified in Eaton County. According to early research by the CDC, the variant may be more easily spread and deadlier. As of now, current COVID-19 vaccines seem to work against the new variant.

The B.1.1.7 variant was first discovered in Great Britain. There have been cases of the new variant in Michigan since January, but this is the first identified case in Eaton County.

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department highly encourages people to continue following these precautions:

  • When you are eligible for the vaccine, get the COVID-19 vaccine;
  • Wear a face covering over your mouth and nose when you are around others;
  • Stay six feet away from others;
  • Make sure indoor spaces are properly ventilated; and,
  • Wash your hands often.

– Amanda Barberena

5:12 p.m. Mon. 02/01/21

More than one million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered successfully in Michigan. This milestone makes Michigan seventh in the country for vaccinations.

Governor Whitmer plans to use $90 million from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act to increase the number of vaccinations per day to 50,000.

She also plans to use an additional $575 million in federal funding to increase COVID-19 testing, tracing and lab capacity in the state.

– Amanda Barberena

12:09 p.m. Mon. 02/01/21

Michigan State University is observing a period of enhanced physical distancing until Saturday, February 13. According to an email sent to MSU on-campus residents, COVID-19 cases have been increasing since students moved to campus for the spring semester.

For the next two weeks, on-campus residents can only leave their rooms if they are doing the following:

  • Picking up food from a dining hall
  • Going to an in-person class
  • Going to or from work
  • Conducting research
  • Dropping off a sample for MSU’s COVID-19 Early Detection program
  • Receiving medical care
  • Exercising outside with two people distanced or less
  • Accessing internet

On-campus residents are also not allowed to have visitors during this time.

Those who don’t comply with the enhanced physical distancing period could be removed from their on-campus housing without a refund, and they could face suspension or expulsion from MSU.

– Amanda Barberena

12:42 p.m. Fri. 01/29/21

The East Lansing City Council passed an ordinance Thursday stating that those who live or visit East Lansing must follow local and state public health orders. If not, they could receive a municipal civil infraction, and they could have to pay a fine up to $500. The ordinance started today, January 29, and will continue until the council decides to amend or repeal it.

COVID-19 health and safety guidelines in East Lansing are as follows:

  • Indoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people and two households.
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people and three households in parts of East Lansing. The restricted area stretches from the northern edge of the Michigan State University campus to Burcham Drive and is bounded by Harrison Road to the west and Hagadorn Road to the east, including properties adjacent to those streets.
  • Outdoor gatherings at residential venues throughout the remainder of the community are limited to no more than 25 people and three households.
  • All persons participating in gatherings must wear a face mask over their mouth and nose, including gathering for the purpose of transportation and at businesses, offices, schools, organized events and more.
  • Face masks are required within the boundaries of the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority, both inside businesses and in outdoor public spaces.

– Amanda Barberena

4:56 p.m. Wed. 01/27/21

Starting January 29, people ages 65-69 in Ingham County will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine through the Ingham County Health Department. The health department cautions that demand for the vaccine still exceeds the supply.

In the next few weeks, people that are eligible for the vaccine and have registered with the Ingham County Health Department may receive a scheduling link via email. The registration form is available here.

As of now, appointments are Friday evenings starting February 9. The health department estimates there are 17,500 people in Ingham County who are between 65 and 69.

Groups that are currently prioritized for the vaccine include healthcare workers, first responders, teachers, childcare workers and now people 65 and older.

 Amanda Barberena

9:48 p.m. Tue. 01/19/21

A new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus has appeared in Michigan. Ingham County’s top health official is urging residents not to let their guard down.

 

The new coronavirus variant was detected in a Washtenaw County woman over the weekend. She had recently traveled to the United Kingdom, where the strain was first discovered.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail says there’s no change in how the new strain is transmitted, by droplets and aerosol, and the prevention advice we’ve been getting will continue to work. She explains that "the degree to which we get adherence to mask wearing, avoiding social gatherings, distancing, all of those things we've been talking about, will protect us from that as well."

As of Tuesday, there have been 229 COVID-19 deaths reported in Ingham County, 34 so far in January.

Also Tuesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed a $5.6 billion dollar plan to end the coronavirus pandemic in Michigan.

 

Some of the Michigan COVID Recovery Plan’s priorities include education funding, vaccine distribution, and support for small businesses.

 

The request goes to the Michigan State Legislature Wednesday.

-Scott Pohl and Karel Vega

 

12:43 p.m. Mon. 01/18/21

Starting January 19, eligible small businesses in Michigan that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can apply for a grant.

Applications for the Michigan Small Business Survival Grant Program are available from 9AM January 19 until noon on the 22.

$55 million has been set aside by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Businesses could receive up to $20,000 if they had to fully close during the pandemic, while those that remained partially open can receive up to $15,000.

Businesses applying for grants must meet the following requirements: 

  • On November 17, 2020, the business must have 1 to 100 employees; 
  • The business must show they were impacted by the “gatherings and face mask orders”; 
  • There must be an income loss because of the COVID-19 safety orders; 
  • The business needs funds to pay for rent, mortgage payments, payroll, utility expenses and more; and,
  • The business is not an entertainment or live music venue that is eligible for the Michigan Stage Survival grant program.

 Amanda Barberena

 

4:53 p.m. Wed. 01/13/21

Starting January 16, non-contact sports and indoor group exercise can reopen. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said people must remain masked and socially distanced.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services epidemic order from January 16 until 31.
Credit Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

The new health order is in effect until January 31. Indoor dining and contact sports not at the professional level are still closed, however, the department hopes to open indoor dining in Michigan on February 1. Indoor residential gatherings remain at a ten-person maximum between two households. 

The health department reported that hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients has decreased from 19.6% on December 4 to 12%. The overall positivity rate has plateaued, however, MDHHS said that COVID-19 case rates have increased from 239 cases per million on December 25 to 266 cases per million.

 Amanda Barberena

7:21 p.m. Tue. 01/05/21

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail says the state of Michigan will soon begin sending more COVID-19 vaccine to the county.

A week ago, Vail told reporters that Ingham County was vaccinating 1,000 health care providers a week, but had the capacity for more if they had more vaccine. Since then, the state has agreed with her request. “We were getting 975 a week," Vail explains. "Next week, we’re getting 1,950, but we’re also getting an additional 975 to give second doses to the people that were vaccinated three weeks ago.”

She hopes her department will provide those 3,000 vaccinations over the course of three days.

To date, Ingham County has 189 COVID-related deaths.

- Scott Pohl