The Daily’s COVID-19 coverage archive

Saturday, March 28, 2020 - 2:46pm

The Michigan Daily's COVID-19 coverage archive.

The Michigan Daily's COVID-19 coverage archive. Buy this photo
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The coronavirus pandemic has created a hectic news cycle. This page serves as an archive for all of The Daily’s COVID-19 coverage. For the most up-to-date coronavirus news, click here

Nov. 12: COVID-19 investigations and contact tracing are likely to be delayed with cases and hospitalizations “growing exponentially,” according to a Washtenaw County Health Department statement Thursday. 

“With the surge in cases and related hospitalizations, we cannot get to all situations as quickly as we’d like,” Washtenaw County health officer Jimena Loveluck said. 

The Health Department said it is now prioritizing case investigations for children, seniors and individuals at higher risk. University of Michigan students are not specifically listed as a prioritized group unless they meet one of the other specifications.

Loveluck said all individuals who test positive or have been potentially exposed should isolate and quarantine.

“Don’t wait for a call from the Health Department,” she said. “At this point, we all know we should be staying away from others if you tested positive, have symptoms, are waiting on test results, or are a close contact.”

The county is reporting 133 new cases and 9 hospitalizations in the last 24 hours. Of the 1,010 new cases reported in the last two weeks, 33% are among people 30 to 64 years old and 7% are 65 years old and older. Additionally, the majority of cases are no longer associated with younger adults.

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The University of Michigan is offering departure testing through its Community Sampling & Tracking program to all students leaving campus for the upcoming break, according to an email sent to students enrolled in the program. Asymptomatic individuals without a close-contact exposure to COVID-19 qualify for testing under this program. 

“The University of Michigan advises all students to practice enhanced social distancing and be tested before they leave campus to promote safety by reducing the likelihood of students infected with COVID-19 returning to their permanent residences and surrounding communities,” the email said. 

Students can sign up for a testing slot here.

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A number of COVID-19 clusters involving professional and graduate students were identified from social gatherings during Halloween week, according to a Nov. 10 update to the University’s COVID-19 dashboard.

"The students are in isolation and those identified as close contacts are now under quarantine," the update said.

As of Thursday morning, the University reports 353 positive cases in the last 14 days. The University’s quarantine and isolation housing has risen slightly to 19.0% occupancy compared to last week’s figure of 16.2%, according to updates posted on the COVID-19 dashboard. There are 62 COVID-19 positive patients currently admitted to Michigan Medicine, according to the hospital’s website.

Nov. 6: After ‘unacceptable level’ of COVID-19 cases this fall, U-M makes changes for winter semester

Plans for the winter semester at the University of Michigan will be significantly different from the fall reopening plan that earned the school a heavy dose of criticism and eventually culminated in a temporary stay-in-place order for undergraduates.

Nov. 5: Lives lost too soon: students discuss losses experienced during COVID-19 pandemic

Graduate student Jeffrey Grim’s last moments with his grandparents consisted of Zoom calls and waiting outside their room in the hospital. Despite following public health guidelines, both of Grim’s grandparents, Jacob and Doris Bender, contracted COVID-19 this summer. 

“The hardest part was not being able to do anything,” Grim said.

Nov. 2: When COVID-19 cases spiked in dorms, some resident advisers called it quits

As the University of Michigan prepared to enter a stay-in-place order two weeks ago in hopes of curbing the spike in COVID-19 cases on campus, some resident advisers reached their breaking point. 

Nov. 2: Washtenaw County will let stay-in-place order expire Tuesday after two-week mandate for undergraduates

Washtenaw County Health Department will not extend the stay-in-place order issued on Oct. 20 for undergraduates at the University of Michigan, according to a Monday press release. The two-week mandate will expire at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

Oct. 29: The University of Michigan has adopted new provisions to its disciplinary policy for students who violate COVID-19 safety regulations, Vice President for Student Life Martino Harmon said in a Thursday email to students.

“Prioritizing our community’s well-being, U-M staff will be increasing safety patrols and intensifying responses to first-time social gathering violations in the residence halls, which may include immediate parent/family notification, housing contract terminations and other disciplinary measures,” the email read. 

The University will also increase enforcement of off-campus behavior. Interim measures, including suspensions, are being considered for students who host high-risk social gatherings during the stay-in-place order, according to Harmon. Student organizations could also lose U-M recognition for violating the group-gathering expectations. 

Harmon emphasized that the University is intensifying its response to first-time offenders. 

The Michigan football team is set to play Michigan State University Saturday, Oct. 31.

Oct. 29: The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services revised and extended its epidemic order ahead of Halloween weekend on Thursday, reducing the maximum indoor gathering size from 500 to 50 people. Indoor tables are now restricted to a maximum of six people in bars, restaurants and social events outside of private homes. The announcement comes as the state has seen rising COVID-19 positivity and hospitalization rates over the past month.

 

Oct. 21: With 33 new deaths, the state of Michigan is reporting its highest daily COVID-19 death rate since June 6. 

Oct. 20: The spike in COVID-19 cases among University of Michigan students isn’t the result of in-person classes, but of social gatherings that violate public health guidelines, school leaders said at a panel Tuesday. Read the full story here.

Oct. 20: Stay-in-place order issued for U-M students amid spiking COVID-19 cases

The Washtenaw County Health Department issued a stay-in-place order for University of Michigan undergraduate students Tuesday to curb outbreaks of COVID-19. It will take place effective immediately and last until Nov. 3 at 7 a.m.

Undergraduate students, both on and off-campus, must stay in their residence unless attending class, accessing dining services or carrying out approved work that cannot be done remotely. Students who wish to return to a primary residence may do so only if they have completed the University’s procedures for leaving campus safely.

Oct. 20: The University of Michigan’s School of Nursing has told sophomore students that they are not to attend in-person classes for two weeks. Nursing students confirmed to The Daily that the announcement applies to sophomores only. 

While attendance of in-person classes is prohibited, these students are still allowed to attend nursing labs.

Oct. 18: All students living in Mary Markley Residence Hall and staff members at the dorm were told not to attend in-person classes and were asked to follow enhanced social distancing for the next 14 days after pop-up testing identified 17 new cases on several floors, according to an Oct. 17 COVID-19 cluster notification

“Due to the high prevalence of cases in Markley and the lack of cooperation from a high proportion of residents who have still not participated in mandatory testing-- thus increasing the overall risk for residents -- we are taking additional immediate measures to protect all Markley residents and prevent further spread of COVID-19,” the notification said.

Oct. 17: ‘U’ will put students in quarantine and isolation in buildings with regular residents

All designated spaces in vacant buildings for temporary quarantine and isolation housing in Northwood Apartments and Baits II Residence Hall are now occupied, according to an Oct. 16 email from Michigan Housing.

In response, the University of Michigan will now house students who have been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19 in buildings with regular term residents. The University indicated that this was possible in September, and has put the units to use to “respond to emerging needs” as cases on campus rise

“These additional rooms are part of the university's overall inventory of quarantine and isolation housing spaces,” the email reads.

Quarantine and isolation housing occupancy more than doubled last week. The COVID-19 dashboard says that occupancy is currently at 50% with 300 students in the temporary housing. 

Oct. 16: Quarantine housing spikes as ‘U’ cases cross 1,000 since start of school year

As of Friday, more than one thousand cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed since move-in and quarantine housing is at 46% capacity, according to the University of Michigan’s COVID-19 dashboard. This comes less than two months after move-in and the start of classes. 

Oct. 15: Quarantine housing occupancy continues to rise

The University of Michigan’s quarantine and isolation housing has risen to 41.5% occupancy. This is an increase from 33.2% on Wednesday.

University spokesperson Kim Broekhuizen said the increase is “from students from Markley that have been placed into Q/I housing.”

The University lists a projected 80% capacity as a metric that could prompt “further responses and strategies regarding campus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.” These potential actions could include increased testing, more social distancing requirements and a campus density reduction.  

There are currently 126 students in isolation who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 123 in quarantine who have been exposed to the virus or are awaiting a test result, according to the COVID-19 dashboard.

Oct. 15: COVID-19 emerges in fraternity and sorority life as some chapters party and recruit freshmen

The Daily has uncovered a previously unreported cluster of COVID-19 cases connected to fraternity and sorority life on campus after a party between members in two houses.

 

The Chi Omega sorority had a cluster of COVID-19 cases and went on lockdown after members of the sorority attended a joint party with Delta Chi, a disaffiliated University fraternity, according to four Panhellenic Association sorority members.

Oct. 14: New COVID-19 cluster in Mary Markley, rise in quarantine and isolation housing occupancy 

A new cluster of COVID-19 cases was identified in Mary Markley Residence Hall on Tuesday. The new cases were identified in part through pop-up testing following a previous cluster reported on Oct. 6. 

Additionally, the University’s quarantine and isolation housing has risen to 28.8% occupancy, up from 22.7% on Monday. 

The Markley cluster is on the third floor, where 12 positive cases were discovered. This is the ninth cluster reported in University Housing. All positive cases and close contacts have been moved or are currently in the process of moving to quarantine or isolation.

Oct. 12: The University of Michigan’s quarantine and isolation housing is now at 22.7% occupancy, according to an update posted on the COVID-19 dashboard. There are 56 people in isolation housing who have received a positive test result, and 80 people in quarantine housing who have been exposed to the virus or are awaiting a test result. 

Earlier on Monday, the dashboard briefly reflected that quarantine and isolation occupancy had reached 42.7%. The University said this was the result of a “data entry error causing a number of records to be counted twice.”

The dashboard reports 148 positive test results for the week Oct. 4 as of Monday evening.

Oct. 12: New COVID-19 cases traced to Brown Jug, Chapala restaurants

The Washtenaw County Health Department alerted the public Monday afternoon to a possibility of exposure at two Ann Arbor restaurants, Brown Jug on S. University Ave. and Chapala Mexican Restaurant on N. Main St. Anyone who was at Brown Jug from Oct. 1-3 and Oct. 6 and Chapala on Oct. 1 should quarantine and monitor for symptoms.

Currently, 13 cases are linked to the two restaurants, not including six positive cases from Brown Jug back in August.

Oct. 10: New COVID-19 clusters identified in West Quad, South Quad. 

Two new clusters of COVID-19 cases were reported in West Quad Residence Hall and South Quad Residence Hall. The clusters were identified through pop-up testing that was conducted in response to clusters reported on Oct. 6.

The West Quad cluster is on the third and fourth floors, where pop-up testing discovered 10 additional cases. The South Quad cluster is on the fifth floor, where six new cases were identified.

Oct. 6: Three more clusters of COVID-19 cases were reported in campus housing on Tuesday among students at South Quad Residence Hall, West Quad Residence Hall and Mary Markley Residence Hall.

As of Tuesday, there were four reported cases on the fifth floor of South Quad with symptom onset in the last 14 days. At West Quad, there were nine reported cases on the third and fourth floors, while Markley had 11 on the fifth and sixth floors.

Here’s a link to the University’s COVID-19 tracking dashboard for the latest on-campus data.

Oct. 5: Washtenaw County Health Department issues prevention and control orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

The Washtenaw County Health Department announced a set of public health orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the area. The orders come after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had no authority to extend the state’s emergency orders past April 30.

Oct. 2: Whitmer did not have authority to extend emergency COVID-19 orders past April, Michigan Supreme Court rules

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Friday afternoon, saying she did not have the authority to extend executive orders related to COVID-19 precautions past April 30. This ruling potentially nullifies many of Whitmer’s recent executive orders intended to curb the spread of the virus, including her Sept. 29 decision to keep the state of emergency in place until Oct. 27. 

According to the ruling, Whitmer did not “possess the authority to exercise emergency powers” under the Emergency Power of the Governor Act of 1945 because this act violates the Michigan Constitution, inappropriately delegating legislative power to the executive branch. Currently, the EPGA gives the governor the ability to declare a state of emergency if necessary. The Michigan Supreme Court’s ruling will take effect on Oct. 23. 

Oct. 2: Washtenaw County COVID-19 cases exceed U-M threshold for reevaluation of campus operations  

One of the University of Michigan’s metrics for reevaluating campus operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been triggered, University President Mark Schlissel confirmed coming two days after the guidelines were published online. 

Schlissel acknowledged the trigger in an Oct. 2 email to faculty members concerned about the spread of the virus in the surrounding community.

“Yes, the metrics were triggered, and as per the new policy, our public health and medical advisors are discussing, based on the details of the cases and overall context, which next steps are most appropriate,” Schlissel wrote in the email obtained by The Michigan Daily. “As we stated, there are many options for interventions that must be tailored to the exact circumstances. (sic) involved.”

Oct. 1: University releases criteria for review of campus operations in case of COVID-19 outbreak, diminished hospital capacity

The University of Michigan released triggers for reevaluating campus operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, such as an outbreak of cases or diminished capacity at local hospitals. Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, University President Mark Schlissel had declined to provide a specific threshold.

According to the guidelines added to the Campus Blueprint website, the metrics “would prompt consideration of further action.” There is still “no one number that will prompt a change” to the University’s current COVID-19 strategy, the website reads.

 Triggers include five days of test positivity rates above 20% based on results from both on and off-campus testing, an inability to provide effective rapid case investigation and contact tracing, diminished bed capacity or limited personal protective equipment at Michigan Medicine, among other criteria. 

September:

‘U’ students weigh options between on-campus or off-campus COVID-19 tests

Though the University of Michigan provides free COVID-19 testing to symptomatic students, some asymptomatic students are opting to get tested off-campus. 

University Housing confirms two more clusters of COVID-19 in campus residence halls

University Housing has identified two more clusters of COVID-19 cases at on-campus residence halls, this time at the University of Michigan’s Mosher-Jordan and Alice Lloyd Residence Halls.

According to a notice posted online Sept. 29, 11 positive cases have been reported in Mosher-Jordan since Aug. 31, predominantly on the fifth floor of the building. 

Another notice issued Sept. 29 said there have been 15 positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Alice Lloyd as of then, with cases largely on the third and fourth floors. 

‘U’ adds off-campus testing results to dashboard, showing ‘significant increase' in positive cases

The University of Michigan added outside testing counts to its COVID-19 dashboard on Sept. 24, more than doubling the total number of positive cases at the University since the start of the fall semester. 

The total positive case count since Aug. 30, the day before the start of the school year, was 257 as of the evening of Sept. 24. On the afternoon of Sept. 23, before the University started including off-campus tests that weren’t self-reported, the dashboard reported 117 positive cases in the same time period. 

Dance building closes for two weeks to prevent COVID-19 exposure; 10 percent of department ‘exposed or quarantined’

The Dance Department of the School of Music, Theater & Dance will be closing its building on Central Campus following an increase in possible exposures, according to an email SMTD’s dance chair Christian Matijas-Mecca sent Monday.

Matijas-Mecca told students the dance building would close and instruction would shift online for at least two weeks. 

“Over this weekend we have seen an alarming rise in the number of exposure cases within the department and we expect this number to rise further in the upcoming days,” Matijas-Mecca’s email read. “Currently we have over 10% of the dept reporting as having been exposed or quarantined and I do not want to see these numbers rise any further.”

Cluster of COVID-19 cases confirmed at South Quad

A cluster of COVID-19 cases has been identified on the sixth and eighth floors of South Quad Residence Hall, according to the Washtenaw County Health Department. As of Thursday, there were 19 positive cases recorded.

Whitmer allows movie theaters to reopen, adjusts limits on gatherings

Movie theaters and performance venues can reopen Oct. 9 in accordance with public health guidelines, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced in a Friday press release. Whitmer also altered limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, putting a formula in place to determine capacity at different locations.

After six months out of action, recreational sports facilities set to reopen Sept. 27

After being closed for six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Michigan Department of Recreational Sports will reopen campus recreation facilities this coming Monday, Sept. 28. 

University of Michigan students face confusion, unsanitary conditions in quarantine housing

When LSA junior Sam Burnstein arrived at the University of Michigan’s quarantine housing at Northwood apartments, he was underwhelmed by what he found. 

“When walking into the apartments here, the whole time I kept thinking, ‘This feels like a big afterthought,’” Burnstein said. “It feels like the University had, like, two or three weeks till the school year starts and they’re like, ‘Oh, we need somewhere to put these students,’ because everything was just very haphazardly thrown together.” 

In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, the University has told students who test positive for the virus, are symptomatic or were in close contact with someone who tested positive to isolate or quarantine for up to two weeks. 

But students in University-provided quarantine housing on North Campus have expressed concerns about what they describe as a lack of sanitation, the low quality of the meal delivery service and insufficient communication between them and the University.

COVID-19 cases reported at Brown Jug as semester began

The Brown Jug, a popular student restaurant and bar among students on South University Avenue, has reported at least six positive COVID-19 cases among staff since late August. 

A server, who requested to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation from their employer, told The Daily six employees tested positive for COVID-19 in the past month. Both the server and the restaurant’s owner, Perry Porikos, confirmed these cases. The entire staff was then tested for COVID-19 — all tests came back negative.

You're on campus and you start to feel sick — what should you do?

As the new semester gets busier and students gather for social events and in group living arrangements, it’s likely some students will begin to feel sick. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you get treatment and don’t spread the virus to others on campus. 

After announcing partnership with Michigan Medicine, AstraZeneca places COVID-19 vaccine trial on hold

AstraZeneca, the pharmaceutical company developing a large Phase 3 trial of a COVID-19 vaccine, said it is putting the trial on hold Tuesday just one week after Michigan Medicine announced plans to partner with the company.

Six months later, here’s what treating COVID-19 looks like at Michigan Medicine

Thursday marks six months since the first positive COVID-19 tests were detected in Michigan. Since then, health care professionals at Michigan Medicine adapted to an unprecedented public health crisis that has tested the strength of the hospital’s resources and employees.

University to begin weekly surveillance testing for COVID-19

The University of Michigan will begin voluntary COVID-19 testing next week, with plans to reach a weekly testing goal of approximately 3,000 individuals by the end of September, University President Mark Schlissel said in an email to students September 3.

Summer:

Two cases of COVID-19 confirmed in West Quad as students move in

Two residents in West Quad Residence Hall who also visited South Quad Dining Hall tested positive for the virus, according to a notice from Danielle Sheen, executive director of the Environment, Health & Safety Department, which was dated Aug. 26 and taped in West Quad.

Majority of undergraduate research to be put on hold this fall as labs limit capacity

With classes for the fall term starting Monday, research labs are set to welcome students back as well. However, in adherence to social distancing guidelines, the University of Michigan Office of Research has limited research capacity to only 45 percent density during shifts, causing all undergraduate students except seniors to miss out on in-person research experience this semester. 

Armed police officers will not accompany U-M ambassadors on patrols

Sworn or armed police officers will not walk and ride around campus to regulate student behavior in an “adjusted” Michigan Ambassadors program, the University of Michigan confirmed on Twitter the afternoon of Aug. 30. The change came in response to “community concerns,” according to the announcement.

Frustrated with fall reopening, faculty members consider vote of no confidence in administration

University of Michigan faculty members are considering a vote of no confidence in the administration due to the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and fall reopening plan, faculty members said at an emergency Faculty Senate meeting Aug. 28.

The meeting came a few days after a July 31 memo to University President Mark Schlissel from the President’s Advisory COVID-19 Committee on Ethics and Privacy was inadvertently made public and began circulating online, sparking criticism toward University administration. The memo explicitly warned against the University’s reopening plan, and noted that the current plan would hit vulnerable populations the hardest.

'There’s just no follow-through': Housing precautions go unenforced during move-in

In the main hallway of Markley Residence Hall is a selection of large blue move-in bins. Standing next to the bins is a portable whiteboard sign with a hand-written message: “Please wipe before & after use!” On the floor lies a tube of disinfectant wipes, empty. 

 This week, thousands of students are moving into University of Michigan residence halls. Students still have roommates, highly contaminable areas like bathrooms are still cleaned twice a day and social distancing is difficult to regulate in the narrow hallways. 

In practice, many of the measures that the University says it’s taking are not being enforced, leaving some students confused and concerned.

University launches website to screen for COVID-19 before allowing access to buildings

There's a new step this year for those wishing to enter the University of Michigan buildings.

The University launched ResponsiBLUE, a website created to help students, faculty and staff reduce the spread of COVID-19 on campus, on Monday as the school prepares for the hybrid fall semester beginning next week.

Schlissel, ‘struggling’ with how to bring undergrads back to campus, sought advice from UNC

Before outbreaks of COVID-19 at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill forced the school to backtrack on offering in-person classes, UNC’s leadership provided advice to University of Michigan administrators on how to reopen.

In a May 16 email, President Mark Schlissel asked Myron Cohen, UNC’s associate vice chancellor for Global Health and Medical Affairs and a professor of epidemiology, to set aside time to discuss how students could safely return to campus. Schlissel said he was “struggling” with devising a plan to do so.

‘If there’s one big party, we’ll halt the whole semester’: Chief Health Officer discusses risk factors of social activities

The Michigan Daily sat down with the University’s Chief Health Officer Preeti Malani to discuss what activities students can safely participate in, as well as how the University can succeed where other institutions have failed. 

Ambassadors managing off-campus student behavior to begin work Aug. 20

Four canvassing teams of two to three people — made up of students, staff, faculty, volunteers and community engagement officers from the Division of Public Safety and Security and AAPD — will walk across campus and near-campus neighborhoods seven days a week from noon to midnight. They will rove daily from Aug. 20 to Aug. 30, according to an AAPD release.  

After Aug. 30, ambassadors will work Thursday to Saturday for the rest of the semester. The teams will “serve as a visible presence and reminder to students and other community members of the need to follow public health guidance.” 

With two weeks until classes start, what exactly fall semester will look like is unclear

To cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Michigan is putting together a fall semester unprecedented in the school’s history. Classes will be largely online, tables in the newly opened Michigan Union are six feet apart and everyone on campus will be wearing masks. 

Students and faculty aren’t sure what to expect, and many questions remain unanswered with two weeks to go before classes start.

The Michigan Daily asked University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald about COVID-19 outbreak scenarios, testing and tracing, behavior enforcement, facilities and housing. Here’s what we do and don’t know about the University’s plans to bring students back to campus.

Students expect 'U' to roll back reopening as colleges backtrack on fall plans 

As universities across the country reverse from in-person to completely remote instruction for the fall, University of Michigan students say they can see the writing on the wall: the in-residence, hybrid semester expected to start later this month won’t last.

Students first expressed concern about the upcoming fall semester when the announcement for an in-person fall was made in June. While many said they were initially happy to hear that the University was planning to bring students back, they feared that the plan would not hold and the administration was placing profit above student safety. In April, the University said it estimated financial losses of between $400 million and $1 billion due to COVID-19.

Big Ten postpones fall season

After a meeting on Tuesday morning, Big Ten Presidents and Chancellors voted to postpone fall sports.

“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”

Men's and women's soccer and cross country, field hockey, volleyball and football will all be affected by the decision.

Bars in Michigan are again prohibited from offering indoor services

As the state confronts an uptick in new cases of COVID-19, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order on Wednesday shutting down indoor bar service for most of Michigan. 

After months of being shut down, bars and restaurants in Michigan had been allowed to reopen for indoor service with limited capacity on June 8. Now, establishments that earn more than 70 percent of their gross receipts from alcohol sales must again shut down their indoor service. 

In the absence of restrictions, students crowd Ann Arbor bars and restaurants

Over the past several weekends, students have taken to social media to express concern about a significant increase in the number of people in Ann Arbor as students start to move back and go out to restaurants and bars. 

Undergraduate students unable to resume in-person research

While many University of Michigan students use the summer months to gain experience from internships and jobs, others engage in various research projects across campus to gain critical skills for career development. But in a matter of weeks, those plans to participate in cutting-edge research at the No. 1 public research university in the U.S. were halted as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all non-essential in-person research activity.

Ann Arbor businesses plan reopenings amid COVID-19

On June 1, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted Michigan’s stay-at-home order, allowing bars and restaurants to reopen on June 8 for dining at 50 percent capacity. The next day, Ann Arbor City Council passed a resolution closing some main streets in the city like East Liberty Street, South State Street and South University Avenue from 2 p.m. on Fridays to 8 p.m on Sundays to enable restaurants to expand outside dining. 

Though COVID-19 rates are decreasing in Michigan, many business owners are still taking safety and health precautions when interacting with customers such as wearing gloves and masks, consistently sanitizing surfaces and limiting customer capacity. 

University opens limited research

On May 16, University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel announced in an email to the University community that laboratory research will begin to resume, citing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2020-90 Executive Order which allows research activities with some limitations. 

“As the largest public research university in the nation, this is a significant development for our state and our university as we continue to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic,” Schlissel wrote. “We’re beginning to see how certain activities can resume in a public health-informed manner, while also understanding that work will be very different in the months ahead.”

Ann Arbor Art Fair cancellation deals blow to local artists, businesses

On May 7, directors of the 2020 Ann Arbor Art Fair announced the event would be canceled due to safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 61st annual fair was to be held July 16-19. According to a press release, the directors began planning for the 2021 fair and are determined to keep the momentum for the event rolling into next year.

The fair typically hosts more than 1,000 artists and 500,000 attendees from across the country. 

Undocumented essential workers protest workplace exploitation, demand safe working conditions during pandemic

On Friday, a caravan of approximately 100 cars drove across Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti to disrupt traffic and protest the exploitation of undocumented immigrants in essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Movimiento Cosecha, a nonviolent national movement advocating for the respect and protection of undocumented immigrants’ rights, organized the protest as part of a nationwide movement.

Movimiento Cosecha published a national press release arguing for the federal government to take greater action to protect undocumented essential workers and immigrants who have put their lives in danger to work in essential businesses.

Spring:

'U' researchers use 3D printing to support COVID-19 response in hospitals 

Kyle VanKoevering, assistant professor of otolaryngology, and his research team used 3D printing technology to develop a device that can support multiple patients on a single ventilator. The vent-splitter works by adjusting and monitoring pressures according to the needs of each patient on the same ventilator.

Whitmer announces essential workers get free tuition

In a press release Wednesday night, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the creation of the Futures for Frontliners program to provide essential workers a tuition-free pathway to a college degree or technical certificate to support those working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whitmer extends state of emergency through May 28

After the Republican-controlled legislature denied an extension of the emergency and disaster declaration set to expire April 30 at midnight, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed three new executive orders to continue Michigan’s state of emergency and disaster.

The new orders will be in effect through May 28.

Whitmer extends stay at home order to May 15, orders face coverings in enclosed public spaces

At a press conference Friday morning, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced an executive order extending Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order through May 15. The new order requires residents to wear homemade face coverings — such as scarves, handkerchiefs or clothes — in enclosed public spaces, including grocery stores and pharmacies. Whitmer said while face covering is crucial to protecting the public and critical employees, no one will be subject to criminal penalty for not wearing one. 

Schlissel addresses Senate Assembly on pandemic response, OIE update

More than 100 members of the Senate Assembly met informally over Zoom on April 20 for the final meeting of the academic year. Mark Schlissel, president of the University of Michigan, joined the call to update the Assembly members on the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This discussion followed a statement released about the University’s financial status and changes they are implementing to address the financial gap and other challenges arising from COVID-19. 

'U' freezes faculty salary, hiring as coronavirus pandemic slows revenue

Mark Schlissel, president of the University of Michigan, released a statement on April 20 regarding the University’s financial situation. According to Schlissel, the University is expected to lose between $400 million and $1 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Whitmer announces creation of task force addressing racial disparities in COVID-19 infections, deaths

At a press conference the afternoon of April 20, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the creation of a task force dedicated to addressing racial disparities in COVID-19 related deaths. 40 percent of reported coronavirus deaths in the state are Black residents, though Black people make up only 14 percent of the state’s total population. 

Washtenaw County Black Residents discuss barriers to preventing COVID-19

Washtenaw County has more than 700 cases of COVID-19 as of this week. While residents who identify as African American or Black make up 12.4 percent of the county population, 48 percent of hospitalized cases are residents who identify as African American or Black.

Despite not being able to physically meet, student organizations carry on

“Was supposed to” seems to have become one of the most commonly used phrases of this semester. 

The Prison Creative Arts Project was supposed to put on an exhibition of prisoner art from mid-March to early April. Shift, a creator space for University of Michigan students, was supposed to have a project showcase. The Michigan Journal of International Affairs was supposed to print and distribute their journal.

Yet in spite of a global pandemic and unprecedented changes to daily life, all three of these student organizations, along with other groups across campus, found ways to modify their plans to finish out the semester. 

Protesters rally against Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders, clog downtown Lansing

Thousands of disgruntled Michiganders descended on downtown Lansing the afternoon of April 15 to provide a new soundtrack to dissent amid a global pandemic: the blaring horn. Lines of cars and trucks miles long stopped traffic on the streets surrounding the Michigan State Capitol as part of “Operation Gridlock,” a protest organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Michigan Freedom Fund against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 stay-at-home executive orders. 

Michigan Medicine health care workers hold rally to demand more national support

Approximately 20 health care workers gathered in front of the University of Michigan Hospital on April 15 as part of a national rally to demand support for hospital staff. They were joined by about 50 other supporters driving by with posters and signs. 

Research town hall discusses effects of COVID-19 pandemic, reopening labs

Research leadership from across the University of Michigan held a virtual town hall April 14 with updates about the research operations during the coronavirus pandemic. Held via Zoom, the panel included moderator Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research, and four other speakers. More than 100 questions were submitted to the panelists.

Michigan Medicine receives 22,000 unusable masks from federal stockpile

As part of its effort to curb the impact of COVID-19, the federal government shipped more than 700,000 surgical masks to the state of Michigan last week from its stockpile. Michigan Medicine received 22,000 of those masks, but they are defunct, the Detroit Free Press reported on April 14. 

Which Ann Arbor businesses are accepting donations through GoFundMe? Who is offering takeout and delivery?

Click this link to see which Ann Arbor businesses are seeking support through GoFundMe, and which restaurants are offering takeout and/or delivery. 

Dingell announces over $66 million in COVID relief for Michigan colleges and universities

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., announced Friday that colleges and universities with campuses in Michigan’s 12th district will receive more than $66 million in emergency grants to cover “significant” financial losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Half of the funding to institutions must be distributed to students in the form of emergency cash grants to help students pay for food, housing and other basic necessities. 

Meijer employees at 3 store locations test positive for COVID-19

At least three Meijer store locations across the state of Michigan have had team members test positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from the organization yesterday. Among these are store locations in Grandville, Cedar Springs, and Ann Arbor, Mich. 

More than 100 Michigan Medicine employees test positive for COVID-19

28 Michigan Medicine employees have been tested for COVID-19 and 110 of those tests have come back positive as of April 6, according to a press release from Michigan Medicine.

Amid forced closures, Ann Arbor businesses question future of local economy

The coronavirus pandemic hit when rising rent prices and an increase in development across the city were already putting a strain on local businesses. In 2018, 18 businesses closed, with most closures affecting businesses that had been open for more than 25 years. Rent prices also soared in the past year, leaving business owners struggling to pay their employees at rates that would allow them to reside within city limits. 

But the pandemic and subsequent executive orders have placed local businesses in a unique situation, leaving many to rely on community support in order to meet their rent and pay employees. 

Students, faculty question spring, summer tuition costs, quality of remote learning

On March 23, University President Mark Schlissel notified the University of Michigan community that spring and summer terms classes would be conducted remotely. Despite the move to continue online instruction, tuition for the spring/summer terms will remain the same, University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald told The Daily. 

‘I really had to advocate strongly for myself’: Michigan Medicine nurses struggle to access COVID-19 testing

Michigan Medicine nurses at high risk of contracting the virus have had different experiences navigating the risk of caring for patients versus returning to work, with some struggling to obtain COVID-19 testing.

Ann Arbor residents hope for rent relief during pandemic

As the spread of the novel coronavirus forces businesses across the state to shut down and residents to shelter in place, many people have been laid off, leaving them struggling to pay rent and other bills.

Whitmer suspends in-person K-12 schooling for remainder of the school year

Following Michigan’s “state of disaster” declaration, on April 2 Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-35 ordering all K-12 school buildings to close for the remainder of the school year. District facilities are open to use by public school employees and contractors if safe social distancing is practiced.

Rep. Debbie Dingell talks Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order at weekly town hall

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., hosted her weekly telephone town hall on April 1 to talk about the coronavirus outbreak and answer questions from constituents. She spoke alongside health care professional Kimberly Wisdom, senior vice president of Community Health & Equity and chief wellness and diversity officer at Henry Ford Health System, and Jeff Donofrio, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

University of Michigan preps to turn indoor track facility into field hospital

Michigan Medicine presented projections on how social distancing will impact the number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 at its peak and noted plans to convert an indoor track facility into a field hospital during a virtual press conference on the afternoon of March 31.

Students lose jobs due to campus closures

With businesses temporarily closing and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order, many students’ on-campus jobs have been left in limbo.

Schlissel on ‘U’ COVID-19 response: ‘We’ve adapted pretty darn fast’

Each month, The Michigan Daily sits down with the University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel to discuss important questions about University policy, commitments and challenges. This month, the interview was conducted virtually. Topics discussed in this month’s interview included COVID-19, sexual misconduct allegations against faculty and GEO bargaining. 

Students to be reimbursed for unused meal plans, University says

University of Michigan students with meal plans will be reimbursed for meal credits lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an email sent to The Daily by University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald. The announcement comes nearly two weeks after the University announced dining halls would be moved to take-out only. 

Spring, summer classes to be conducted online

Following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order requiring all “non-essential” businesses to cease operations and residents to stay home, Mark Schlissel, president of the University of Michigan, notified the community in an email on March 23 that spring and summer term classes will take place remotely through online platforms. 

All undergraduate classes to be graded on Pass/No Record basis

All undergraduate courses at the University of Michigan will transition to an alternative grade policy, according to an email sent to students from Acting Provost Susan Collins on March 20. In place of a letter grade, students will now receive a “Pass” or “No Record Covid” on their permanent transcripts.

Campaigns adjust strategies during COVID-19 outbreak

Campus organizations supporting political campaigns — whether in support of national, state or local politicians — have put in effort in trying to get their candidates elected by connecting to voters face-to-face. But now traditional methods of campaign mobilization have been either upended or called off due to the recent outbreaks of COVID-19, a pandemic sweeping the U.S. and the rest of the world. 

Students in residence halls must leave unless they ‘truly have no other alternatives’

All students living in University of Michigan residence halls must leave campus unless they fill out a request to remain in housing, according to an email sent to everyone still living on campus Tuesday afternoon. If their request is approved, the email notes, they are not guaranteed to continue their current housing assignment and may have to move to a new building. 

Whitmer orders all restaurants, entertainment venues to close temporarily

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order on Monday morning closing all Michigan restaurants, bars and entertainment venues in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The order goes into effect at 3 p.m. on Monday and the restrictions will last until March 30.

Whitmer signs executive order directing Michigan residents to stay home

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order Monday morning in response to COVID-19. The order will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 24 and requires all businesses deemed “non-essential” to suspend their operations until further notice. 

Ann Arbor City Council declares state of emergency in response to COVID-19

Minutes before the March 16 Ann Arbor City Council meeting, Mayor Christopher Taylor declared a local state of emergency regarding the current COVID-19 situation. 

Beginning March 17, all city of Ann Arbor buildings and non-critical services will be closed until April 5. 

Case of COVID-19 confirmed at student apartment building Vic Village

A confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Vic Village-North student apartment building on Central Campus was announced by the leasing office in an email to residents Friday afternoon. It is the first case to be discovered at either student on-campus or off-campus housing at the University of Michigan, though it remains unclear if the individual is a student. 

All study abroad programs canceled, students asked to return home

The University of Michigan is suspending all study abroad programs effective immediately and asking all students to return to the United States by March 20, according to an email from Rachel Reuter, Center for Global and Intercultural Study health and safety adviser, sent Thursday. 

Students react to classes being moved online amid COVID-19 virus

The University of Michigan announced the decision to cancel in-person classes three days after students returned from Spring Break, initiating a wave of uncertainty and concern.

‘U’ moves classes online in response to coronavirus

The University of Michigan announced on Wednesday all classes on all three campuses will be held online beginning March 16 through the end of the semester, April 21, in response to the COVID-19 virus. Classes on Thursday and Friday will be canceled. However, the University will remain open, including dorms and dining halls.

COVID-19 patient being treated at Michigan Medicine

One of the two people confirmed to have COVID-19 in the state of Michigan by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Tuesday night is an inpatient at Michigan Medicine, according to an update from Michigan Medicine.

First coronavirus cases confirmed in Michigan; fate of classes, study abroad uncertain

Two cases of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 disease have been diagnosed in Michigan. Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency on Tuesday night.

Coronavirus forces students to alter spring break plans

Amid concerns about health with the rise of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, University of Michigan students have altered travel plans for spring break.

Fate of study abroad program unclear after coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan

Since the University of Michigan issued a travel restriction on Jan. 27 for the entire country of China due to the recent coronavirus outbreak, all undergraduate and most graduate student travel to China has been prohibited and many study abroad programs have been canceled. The University’s travel ban specifically discourages any “non-essential” travel to China for students, faculty and staff and has affected all spring and summer study abroad programs affiliated with the Center for Global and Intercultural Study.

COVID-19 numbers around the state:

Here is a link to two interactive COVID-19 data graphics, and here is a link to get more county data in the state of Michigan. One tracks the current case and death count in Michigan by county. The other tracks the case and death count over time. Hover over the graphs for more information. 



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