Robin Erb

Robin Erb, who leads health coverage for Michigan Health Watch, believes it is our personal stories that keep us connected on common ground, whatever the break-neck fragmentation of a digital world. A long-time journalist, Robin previously spent six years at the Detroit Free Press chronicling the fight against —and sometimes the triumph over— our most horrific diseases. Her award-winning stories chronicled the battle over the Affordable Care Act, state expansion of Medicaid, cutting-edge research led by Michigan’s hospitals and universities, deadly mistakes and extraordinary care in Michigan’s nursing homes, and a nearly forgotten mix-up of chemicals in cattle feed in the 1970s and its lingering effects today. She holds bachelor’s degrees in communications and political science from Miami University and a master’s in organizational leadership from Lourdes University (Toledo, Ohio). You can contact Robin at rerb@bridgemi.com or 734-725-1155.

Articles

He had dementia and COVID. She wanted to hold him when he died.

He had dementia and COVID. She wanted to hold him when he died.

November 23, 2020 | Robin Erb

After months of being separated from her husband during the COVID lockdown, Melanie Zeiger was thrilled to move Jerry into adult foster care, where she could hold his hand. Then COVID returned to the state’s long-term care centers, isolating them once more.

Michigan officials say no to big Thanksgiving gatherings. Who will listen?

Michigan officials say no to big Thanksgiving gatherings. Who will listen?

November 20, 2020 | Robin Erb

A worst-case scenario calls for 1,000 daily Michigan deaths from coronavirus by year’s end if we don’t change our ways. But getting compliance from those opposed to government pandemic orders is proving a hard sell.

Michigan to close high schools, colleges, bars for 3 weeks as COVID spikes

Michigan to close high schools, colleges, bars for 3 weeks as COVID spikes

November 15, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting, Robin Erb, Ron French

A surge in the coronavirus in Michigan means another round of restrictions, including efforts to limit family gatherings for Thanksgiving.

Want a COVID test for your Michigan Thanksgiving? Expect… to… wait.

Want a COVID test for your Michigan Thanksgiving? Expect… to… wait.

November 13, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Robin Erb

With a surge on demand for testing — which is expected to grow in the coming days — some labs already face a backlog.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: COVID’s deadliest days in Michigan loom ahead

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: COVID’s deadliest days in Michigan loom ahead

November 12, 2020 | Robin Erb

Just hours after Michigan hospital leaders urged the wearing of masks, the governor pleaded with residents to cancel large Thanksgiving and holiday plans and take urgent measures to prevent the virus’ spread.

Michigan hospitals plead with residents to mask up, ditch holiday plans

Michigan hospitals plead with residents to mask up, ditch holiday plans

November 12, 2020 | Robin Erb

With a surge in COVID cases across the state and country, hospital staff is limited. The CEO’s say another statewide lock-down isn’t the answer but are urging residents instead to take personal steps to reduce spread of the virus.

Michigan passes 200,000 COVID cases. What we’ve learned, and haven’t.

Michigan passes 200,000 COVID cases. What we’ve learned, and haven’t.

November 6, 2020 | Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson

Michigan’s public health leaders and doctors begin to wonder: Will a pandemic-weary public take notice?

A small hospital in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula braces for COVID

A small hospital in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula braces for COVID

November 6, 2020 | Robin Erb

There are 15 hospitals sprinkled across more than 300 miles in the U.P. Many have no or few beds for ICU patients. And that’s usually fine, until a pandemic strikes.

Michigan’s deer season could scatter COVID-19, health leaders say

Michigan’s deer season could scatter COVID-19, health leaders say

November 1, 2020 | Robin Erb, Bob Campbell

Cards, drinking, shared meals and sleeping quarters — deer camp traditions could send hunters home with COVID-19 as well as a prized buck, say health officials.

Upper Peninsula man nearly killed by COVID. He still doubts the data.

Upper Peninsula man nearly killed by COVID. He still doubts the data.

November 1, 2020 | Robin Erb

After nine days in the hospital, Dwaine Taylor — COVID case #290 in Delta County — said he no longer believes the coronavirus is a hoax. But he remains skeptical of the cases elsewhere, underscoring an awkward truth: COVID is complex, and so are people and politics.

Michigan hospitals turn to $15 minimum wage to fill job openings

Michigan hospitals turn to $15 minimum wage to fill job openings

October 26, 2020 | Paula Gardner, Robin Erb

Two of the state’s largest health care systems bumped minimum wages to $15 an hour amid competition for entry-level workers. Nursing home employees in 14 southeast Michigan nursing homes also are on their way to pay increases.

As Mackinac Island empties for winter, COVID arrives for a stay

As Mackinac Island empties for winter, COVID arrives for a stay

October 25, 2020 | Robin Erb

Tourists flooded onto the iconic Michigan landmark during the second half of the summer. Somehow, the island escaped large COVID-19 outbreaks. That has now changed.

Michigan Christian school shut over COVID, files ‘religious liberty’ suit

Michigan Christian school shut over COVID, files ‘religious liberty’ suit

October 23, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

Libertas Christian School in Hudsonville says health rules infringe on its religious liberties and free speech. Health officials say two teachers tested positive for COVID-19 and the school won’t cooperate with contact tracers.

Months after COVID, 1 in 4 Michiganders studied have yet to recover

Months after COVID, 1 in 4 Michiganders studied have yet to recover

October 21, 2020 | Robin Erb

In a study of people who suffered severe to minimal symptoms, there were significant levels of fatigue, shortness of breath and stress. Researchers at the University of Michigan will continue to examine the ongoing toll in the state.

Another casualty of COVID: testing for lead poisoning in Michigan

Another casualty of COVID: testing for lead poisoning in Michigan

October 21, 2020 | Robin Erb

In old paint, water pipes and the ground, lead can leave a child with a lifetime of learning problems and mental health issues. But during the pandemic, the number of children being tested for poisoning has been cut in half.

Coronavirus hits new high in Michigan. Is it a ‘blip’ or ‘surge’?

Coronavirus hits new high in Michigan. Is it a ‘blip’ or ‘surge’?

October 15, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Robin Erb

As cases surge to levels unseen in months, the virus is spreading fast in corners of Michigan that had been mostly spared. Experts blame ‘pandemic fatigue’ but the good news is deaths remain relatively low.

‘Open up everything!’ Michigan GOP’s push for herd immunity on COVID

‘Open up everything!’ Michigan GOP’s push for herd immunity on COVID

October 12, 2020 | Robin Erb

A Michigan infectious disease doctor says we’ve overdone coronavirus lockdown rules, an argument embraced by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey. The medical establishment calls such views dangerous.

Health experts to Shirkey: COVID herd immunity would kill 30K in Michigan

Health experts to Shirkey: COVID herd immunity would kill 30K in Michigan

October 12, 2020 | Robin Erb, Jonathan Oosting

Five public health leaders have sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey rebuking his comments about “herd immunity” and asking for a hearing focused on the science of the virus.

50 men held an Upper Peninsula retreat traced to COVID. No one’s talking.

50 men held an Upper Peninsula retreat traced to COVID. No one’s talking.

October 9, 2020 | Robin Erb

Officials said the organizer hung up on a nurse trying to warn others of possible exposure. Another person accused health officials of ‘working for Satan.’ Meanwhile, infections proliferate in the eastern U.P.

Whitmer order sets up COVID-positive nursing units in Michigan

Whitmer order sets up COVID-positive nursing units in Michigan

October 1, 2020 | Robin Erb

The latest executive order also loosens community dining restrictions in facilities and expands reporting requirements of coronavirus cases to include legal guardians and prospective residents or staff.

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