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

Michigan Tech, Houghton County move to online learning amid COVID

Michigan Tech, Houghton County move to online learning amid COVID

September 28, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

COVID-19 cases have quintupled in Houghton County in the western Upper Peninsula this month. The halt to in-person learning is scheduled to extend to Oct. 12.

1 in 3 U.S. parents will skip kids’ flu shots, but Michigan has early gains

1 in 3 U.S. parents will skip kids’ flu shots, but Michigan has early gains

September 28, 2020 | Robin Erb

Despite pleas from health experts to guard against flu before a COVID resurgence, some parents aren’t comfortable taking children to the doctor. But so far in Michigan, there’s a 30 percent rise in flu shots.

Whitmer orders Michigan schools to tell the public about COVID cases

Whitmer orders Michigan schools to tell the public about COVID cases

September 25, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

Pressure mounted for more than a month on the administration to require more immediate public notifications of coronavirus outbreaks at Michigan schools as students returned for the fall term.

Michigan State, U-M change reporting to disclose more campus COVID cases

Michigan State, U-M change reporting to disclose more campus COVID cases

September 24, 2020 | Robin Erb

The number of coronavirus cases on the Michigan State University website since Aug. 24 jumped to 1,219 Thursday, two days after Ingham County health officer Linda Vail noted the website was significantly undercounting MSU-related cases. U-M boosts its reporting too.

 

MSU called out on COVID cases, and warned football game may be at risk

MSU called out on COVID cases, and warned football game may be at risk

September 22, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

Ingham County health officer Linda Vail said Michigan State has more than double the number of coronavirus cases listed on the school’s website. She said if case counts don’t drop, she would advise MSU to call off its opening game against Rutgers.

Five ways Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, replacement could impact Michigan

Five ways Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, replacement could impact Michigan

September 21, 2020 | Riley Beggin, Robin Erb

Health care, abortion and even the presidential election could be impacted by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Friday evening.

Surviving COVID, but with life changed, and the future less certain

Surviving COVID, but with life changed, and the future less certain

September 21, 2020 | Robin Erb

After being hospitalized with the coronavirus, many “long-hauler” patients return home with a host of serious symptoms, from brain fog to tremors and unrelenting fatigue. Longer-term complications such as dementia or organ problems are still being studied.

Michigan health officials seek to increase flu vaccines by 1M amid pandemic

Michigan health officials seek to increase flu vaccines by 1M amid pandemic

September 21, 2020 | Robin Erb

Health officials worry about a ‘twindemic’ of the flu and COVID-19, and some are getting creative about distributing vaccines as many workplaces remain closed.

Michigan infant, whose death was tied to COVID, had serious health troubles

Michigan infant, whose death was tied to COVID, had serious health troubles

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. 

Grand Valley State students ordered to stay home to tamp down COVID-19 upswing

Grand Valley State students ordered to stay home to tamp down COVID-19 upswing

September 16, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

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.

In tense hearing, Whitmer official defends MI COVID nursing home strategy

In tense hearing, Whitmer official defends MI COVID nursing home strategy

September 16, 2020 | Robin Erb, Jonathan Oosting

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.

Coronavirus outbreaks force mandatory quarantine at 23 MSU frats, sororities

Coronavirus outbreaks force mandatory quarantine at 23 MSU frats, sororities

September 14, 2020 | Ron French, Robin Erb

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.

Outdoor visits now ‘expected’ at Michigan nursing homes, state says

Outdoor visits now ‘expected’ at Michigan nursing homes, state says

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.

Xavier DeGroat will not be stopped. Michigan autism activist goes to D.C.

Xavier DeGroat will not be stopped. Michigan autism activist goes to D.C.

September 8, 2020 | Robin Erb

DeGroat’s bulldog persistence has yielded bipartisan legislation in Lansing and a network of powerful backers. 

Michigan colleges pass 1,000 COVID cases. Apparently, students like to party.

Michigan colleges pass 1,000 COVID cases. Apparently, students like to party.

September 8, 2020 | Ron French, Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson

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.

Whitmer’s ‘real-time’ school coronavirus outbreak data could be a week old

Whitmer’s ‘real-time’ school coronavirus outbreak data could be a week old

September 8, 2020 | Ron French, Robin Erb

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.

Quesadillas, Netflix and silence in Central Michigan’s ‘COVID dorm’

Quesadillas, Netflix and silence in Central Michigan’s ‘COVID dorm’

September 2, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

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.

Michigan to identify K-12 schools with coronavirus outbreaks Sept. 14

Michigan to identify K-12 schools with coronavirus outbreaks Sept. 14

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.

Teachers: Michigan must improve transparency on COVID outbreaks at schools

Teachers: Michigan must improve transparency on COVID outbreaks at schools

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.

COVID-19 at your Michigan school? Odds are, nobody is required to tell you.

COVID-19 at your Michigan school? Odds are, nobody is required to tell you.

August 26, 2020 | Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson, Ron French

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.

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