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

Swabs, sewage and campus bubbles: Can COVID testing keep colleges open?

Swabs, sewage and campus bubbles: Can COVID testing keep colleges open?

August 24, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

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. 

Central Michigan started class Monday. By Friday: 38 coronavirus cases

Central Michigan started class Monday. By Friday: 38 coronavirus cases

August 21, 2020 | Ron French, Robin Erb

Michigan has already reported 14 school-related COVID-19 outbreaks. CMU’s appears to be another.

Michigan to identify schools with COVID outbreaks. In a couple of weeks.

Michigan to identify schools with COVID outbreaks. In a couple of weeks.

August 21, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

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.

Michigan has 14 school-related coronavirus outbreaks. State won’t say where.

Michigan has 14 school-related coronavirus outbreaks. State won’t say where.

August 19, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French

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. 

IQOS (heated tobacco) replaces vaping as the next cigarette alternative

IQOS (heated tobacco) replaces vaping as the next cigarette alternative

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.

Staff at Michigan nursing homes ravaged by COVID-19 set to strike

Staff at Michigan nursing homes ravaged by COVID-19 set to strike

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.

Michigan declares racism a health crisis. Without funding, it’s symbolic.

Michigan declares racism a health crisis. Without funding, it’s symbolic.

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.

Michigan families fight to see seniors amid COVID-19, even in hospice care

Michigan families fight to see seniors amid COVID-19, even in hospice care

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.

What do you want? she asked her hubby in MI nursing home. ‘You,’ he said.

What do you want? she asked her hubby in MI nursing home. ‘You,’ he said.

August 10, 2020 | Robin Erb

Isolation is sapping the life of residents in nursing homes and other facilities amid no-visitation policies during COVID-19. As restrictions grind on, Bridge tells the stories of six residents, who are fading a bit day by lonely day. 

Poll: 3 in 10 in Michigan reluctant to take a free COVID-19 vaccine

Poll: 3 in 10 in Michigan reluctant to take a free COVID-19 vaccine

August 5, 2020 | Robin Erb

The rush to develop a vaccine quickly is the very reason many COVID vaccine skeptics say they don’t trust it. If not enough people take an approved vaccine, it would be difficult to achieve herd immunity to protect residents from the virus.

Michigan hospitals test if plasma from recovering patients can curb COVID-19

Michigan hospitals test if plasma from recovering patients can curb COVID-19

July 30, 2020 | Robin Erb

Antibody-rich plasma is thought to save lives among the sickest coronavirus patients. Michigan’s major hospitals now will see if it helps the mildly sick before they get worse.

Opioid abuse surges in Michigan amid misery from the coronavirus

Opioid abuse surges in Michigan amid misery from the coronavirus

July 27, 2020 | Robin Erb

New state data and reports from county medical examiners show a rise in opioid-related overdoses and deaths in parts of Michigan, which was likely fueled by the isolation and anxiety of the pandemic.

Michigan COVID-19 labs are again seeing delays as more people are tested

Michigan COVID-19 labs are again seeing delays as more people are tested

July 22, 2020 | Robin Erb

COVID-19 tests were once reserved for very sick or at-risk groups. Now people across the state are now getting tested. But the volume is slowing results and straining test supplies, making it harder to track the virus’ spread. 

What COVID-19 test is best? Who pays in Michigan? What you need to know.

What COVID-19 test is best? Who pays in Michigan? What you need to know.

July 22, 2020 | Robin Erb

Testing criteria has changed. So have the options. But which test is most reliable? Bridge has sorted out answers to some frequently asked questions. 

A Michigan guide to wearing masks, or not, during coronavirus

A Michigan guide to wearing masks, or not, during coronavirus

July 15, 2020 | Robin Erb

Do masks work? Do disability or medical privacy laws allow me to enter a store without one? Michigan researchers, doctors and a lawyer weigh in on the much-debated mask mandate.

Violence erupts in Michigan over state mask mandate ‘powder keg’

Violence erupts in Michigan over state mask mandate ‘powder keg’

July 14, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ron French, Jonathan Oosting

Tensions are boiling over as confrontations increase over Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's mask rule designed to contain COVID-19 becomes “the number one anxiety-producing pain point for retailers right now.”

Across Michigan, coronavirus contact tracers face lies, anger and silence

Across Michigan, coronavirus contact tracers face lies, anger and silence

July 12, 2020 | Robin Erb

Disheartened by images of raucous crowds ignoring safety measures, some health officials wonder if contact tracing — long a trusted tactic in controlling infectious diseases — may be losing its usefulness.

Michigan’s newest headache: Young adults are driving coronavirus growth

Michigan’s newest headache: Young adults are driving coronavirus growth

July 7, 2020 | Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson

 Industries that serve the vulnerable see risky behaviors among young workers, but say they’re limited on what they can do.

Computer pad can help Michigan seniors use telehealth during coronavirus

Computer pad can help Michigan seniors use telehealth during coronavirus

July 6, 2020 | Robin Erb

Metro Detroit seniors are embracing online doctor visits using a customized tablet that makes technology less intimidating. It could prove a model for seniors increasingly dependent on telehealth to visit doctors.

Michigan study: Hydroxychloroquine saved lives among coronavirus patients

Michigan study: Hydroxychloroquine saved lives among coronavirus patients

July 2, 2020 | Robin Erb, Kate Wells, Michigan Radio

The drug’s effects had been called into question after a series of studies and controversies since it was promoted by President Trump. A study at Henry Ford Health System found lower death rates when the drug is given early. 

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