Michigan Health Watch

In-depth reporting on the intersection between public policy and important health topics ‒ such as insurance coverage, hospital admissions, opioid abuse, access to care, medical research and the business of health care ‒ that impact nearly every Michigan resident. 

Articles

COVID vaccines begin in Michigan. Will workers have to take them?

COVID vaccines begin in Michigan. Will workers have to take them?

December 14, 2020 | Robin Erb, Paula Gardner

On Monday, a 46-year-old pulmonologist at Spectrum Health became the first Michigan recipient of a COVID-19 vaccine. Health leaders say broad vaccination is needed to protect society, but businesses, including hospitals, do not yet appear ready to require them of workers.

What's it like to get the first vaccines? Health care workers share hopes, fears

What's it like to get the first vaccines? Health care workers share hopes, fears

December 14, 2020 | Kate Wells, Michigan Radio

Michigan health care workers have spent the last nine months in the trenches battling COVID. But not all will opt-in.

Michigan may have missed COVID Thanksgiving surge sweeping nation

Michigan may have missed COVID Thanksgiving surge sweeping nation

December 14, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

Two weeks after the holiday, coronavirus cases are declining in Michigan as they are increasing elsewhere. Health officials are optimistic families heeded the message to avoid larger gatherings.

Michigan releases more details about who gets COVID vaccine first

Michigan releases more details about who gets COVID vaccine first

December 11, 2020 | Robin Erb

Distribution begins with 56 hospitals and 16 health departments throughout Michigan, while those in health care settings, essential workers and the elderly are first in line.

Need health insurance? Deadline is Dec. 15 for thousands in Michigan

Need health insurance? Deadline is Dec. 15 for thousands in Michigan

December 11, 2020 | Robin Erb

An estimated 222,000 Michiganders lost employer-sponsored coverage in one four-month period this spring because of COVID-19, according to one report.

COVID-19 vaccine nears approval. What Michigan needs to know.

COVID-19 vaccine nears approval. What Michigan needs to know.

December 10, 2020 | Robin Erb, Ted Roelofs

Vaccines may be shipped soon from Pfizer’s Kalamazoo plant, as the vaccine nears final approval. Michigan is receiving more than 250,000 doses, and first priority goes to health care workers.

Lots of unknowns as Michigan hospitals await first COVID-19 vaccine shipments

Lots of unknowns as Michigan hospitals await first COVID-19 vaccine shipments

December 10, 2020 | Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press

The massive coronavirus vaccination effort to immunize Michigan's roughly 600,000 health care workers — and eventually the entire population — is in high gear as Pfizer's vaccine candidate undergoes a federal hearing Thursday to review whether it can be safely injected into the arms of millions of Americans.

For COVID long-haulers, trouble lingers long after 'recovery'

For COVID long-haulers, trouble lingers long after 'recovery'

December 9, 2020 | Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press

Those who survive COVID-19 are often left with puzzling and sometimes debilitating conditions months after they are considered recovered from the infectious part of the disease.

As COVID deaths rise again in Michigan, its victims are changing

As COVID deaths rise again in Michigan, its victims are changing

December 8, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

Michigan is experiencing its highest levels of mortality since early in the pandemic. But COVID’s victims now are typically older and whiter.

Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan COVID ‘pause’ will go at least 12 more days

Gretchen Whitmer says Michigan COVID ‘pause’ will go at least 12 more days

December 7, 2020 | Robin Erb, Paula Gardner

The extension keeps bowling alleys, casinos and other businesses closed and bans indoor service at bars and restaurants while Whitmer again calls on the GOP Legislature for more unemployment aid and a mask mandate.

As COVID vaccine nears, Michigan calibrates pitch to wary African Americans

As COVID vaccine nears, Michigan calibrates pitch to wary African Americans

December 7, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

State officials are reaching out to Black residents, who have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic. While there is significant public skepticism toward a COVID vaccine, mistrust runs even deeper in the African-American community due to a legacy of mistreatment in government public health efforts.

A small Upper Peninsula hospital pleads: You’re our neighbors, help us

A small Upper Peninsula hospital pleads: You’re our neighbors, help us

December 7, 2020 | Robin Erb

The number of COVID hospitalizations across Michigan fell four days straight, teasing hope even as dozens of hospitals remain at or near capacity. It’s “not sustainable,” according to a state hospital association, asking Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to continue pandemic orders.

Six things to know about the safety of the leading COVID vaccines

Six things to know about the safety of the leading COVID vaccines

December 3, 2020 | Robin Erb

Dr. Arnold Monto of the University of Michigan chairs a national panel that will recommend whether to approve two vaccines for COVID-19 in the United States. He outlined what is known, and what isn’t, about the vaccines’ safety and reliability.

Michigan Republicans grill state health chief on COVID shutdown orders

Michigan Republicans grill state health chief on COVID shutdown orders

December 3, 2020 | Robin Erb

Robert Gordon, head of state public health, faced criticism from GOP legislators Thursday, who contend the Whitmer administration does not give enough weight to the mental health damage inflicted by school and economic shutdown orders.

Michigan health workers, senior facilities likely first for COVID vaccine

Michigan health workers, senior facilities likely first for COVID vaccine

December 1, 2020 | Robin Erb, Kelly House

A federal panel Tuesday evening issued guidance that prioritizes Michigan’s front-line workers and its elderly in long-term care facilities. Vaccines for other vulnerable groups to follow, before the general public.

COVID vaccine for Michigan health workers may arrive by next week

COVID vaccine for Michigan health workers may arrive by next week

December 1, 2020 | Robin Erb, Kelly House

Michigan’s health care workers would be the first in line to receive a vaccine, which was developed within a year — an unprecedented effort against a deadly virus. A vaccine for the general population could arrive as early as spring, Michigan’s chief medical executive tells Bridge.

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.

With COVID everywhere, Michigan contact tracers losing control of spread

With COVID everywhere, Michigan contact tracers losing control of spread

November 20, 2020 | Kelly House

The public health system is so overwhelmed, health departments are advising residents not to expect a call from contact tracers if they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus. Meanwhile, federal money may soon run out.

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 weekly 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 hospital workers weary as public support fades, COVID cases rise

Michigan hospital workers weary as public support fades, COVID cases rise

November 20, 2020 | Dustin Dwyer, Michigan Radio, Kate Wells, Michigan Radio

The sadness and stress of handling so many COVID patients is getting to the state’s frontline health care workers, many of whom already struggled to cope in a job with long hours, little gratitude and daily tragedy.

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