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 email@example.com or 734-725-1155.
September 18, 2020 | Robin Erb
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, had said the boy died “because of COVID-19.” But a medical examiner’s report lists a birth defect as the cause of death, with respiratory problems caused by COVID as a complicating factor.
COVID is spreading at Grand Valley through off-campus gatherings and students who become infected aren’t saying who they’ve been hanging out with, health officials said.
Republican legislators accused Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration of failing to adequately prepare for the pandemic. “20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing,” countered state health director Robert Gordon.
Saying an upswing in COVID cases is “quickly becoming a crisis,” Ingham County health officer orders lockdown on 30 frats, sororities and other big homes. The mandatory order comes after the health department recommended voluntary quarantines for some 38K students.
September 10, 2020 | Robin Erb
Michigan health officials announced that nursing homes may find ways to allow loved ones to meet with residents under certain conditions. The state also may soon approve a provision that allows family members to volunteer in homes.
September 8, 2020 | Robin Erb
DeGroat’s bulldog persistence has yielded bipartisan legislation in Lansing and a network of powerful backers.
Strict health protocols on campuses aren’t stopping the spread of coronavirus. With cases rising fast, some experts fear more a wave of deaths, but others say aggressive testing and quarantining could prevent the worst from happening.
Michigan will begin listing schools with outbreaks Monday, but disclosure is bogged down by testing delays and reporting lag times. Some fear the information will be so dated, it could be of little use to parents.
The hallways are deadly quiet. They can hear sounds from other rooms but don’t know who lives there, and can’t visit. Life in CMU’s COVID Dorm is an eerie, monotonous journey for two, now-separated roommates.
September 1, 2020 | Robin Erb
The state’s announcement follows weeks of pressure as many parents must decide whether to send their children to school or have them learn from home. State officials did not include colleges in its decision.
August 27, 2020 | Robin Erb
State law gives schools wide discretion on whether to inform the public if there’s an outbreak. That must change, says a union representing 120,000 teachers and support staff.
The governor’s office and state health officials have yet to identify schools with active coronavirus outbreaks. And under current state policy, there is no requirement of a public announcement.
With guesswork built into coronavirus testing at Michigan colleges and universities, campus leaders hope to keep students and staff safe. Nobody, it seems, knows if their plans are likely to work.
Michigan has already reported 14 school-related COVID-19 outbreaks. CMU’s appears to be another.
There are 14 coronavirus outbreaks reported at Michigan colleges and K-12 schools. The state’s top doc says Michigan’s data system doesn’t collect school names now, and will have to be updated. Until then, nothing.
The state health department declined to say which K-12 schools or colleges had confirmed outbreaks, noting that it has not done so for many businesses. One education leader said parents will likely want to know.
August 17, 2020 | Robin Erb
A federal agency is allowing Philip Morris to market its product as producing fewer harmful chemicals than smoked tobacco, even as it delivers about as much nicotine.
August 12, 2020 | Robin Erb
Saying they are underpaid and unprotected, union members of SEIU Healthcare Michigan say they’re ready to walk. State nursing home advocate says pay has increased; COVID made staffing and PPE a struggle.
August 11, 2020 | Robin Erb
In Michigan and elsewhere, Black residents have lower life expectancies and face a host of health inequities. An order from Gov. Whitmer declares racism a health threat, but officials say funding and follow-through is key to make a difference.
August 10, 2020 | Robin Erb
Despite new guidelines intended to give nursing homes and other facilities more discretion to allow visitors during a pandemic, families say some centers remain rigid, hurting the residents they are trying to protect.