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

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.

Getting Michiganders to take COVID-19 vaccine: ‘My trust just isn’t there’

Getting Michiganders to take COVID-19 vaccine: ‘My trust just isn’t there’

July 28, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

Large numbers in the U.S., especially African Americans with an eye on history, say they’re wary of a COVID-19 vaccine. Public health leaders say much work is needed to develop public confidence in the safety of a vaccine.

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. 

Here’s what Michigan nursing homes that escaped coronavirus did right

Here’s what Michigan nursing homes that escaped coronavirus did right

July 20, 2020 | Patricia Anstett

Nursing facilities across much of Michigan were devastated by COVID-19, but roughly 200 homes have dodged the virus. Their strategies can help public health experts develop best practices for the next outbreak.

Michigan coronavirus cases rise. Here’s why we are not Texas or Florida.

Michigan coronavirus cases rise. Here’s why we are not Texas or Florida.

July 17, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

Case increases in Michigan bear watching but the state is not yet experiencing the explosion seen in the South and West. Here are the metrics public health experts follow to mark the virus’ arc in Michigan.

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.

As Michigan COVID cases soar, infected residents won’t cooperate with tracers

As Michigan COVID cases soar, infected residents won’t cooperate with tracers

July 15, 2020 | Riley Beggin

State officials say a third of people contacted by tracers are refusing to say who they’ve potentially exposed, helping fuel a recent jump in coronavirus cases that has Michigan health officials worried.

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.

Huge drop in Michigan vaccinations scares experts during coronavirus

Huge drop in Michigan vaccinations scares experts during coronavirus

July 8, 2020 | Ted Roelofs, Ron French

Michigan vaccinations in May were down 46 percent, raising health concerns about the flu and other illnesses. More troubling: rates for children 9 to 18 were down 66 percent, casting doubt on whether they will be allowed to enroll in school in the fall.

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 hospital: Our coronavirus test gives results in minutes, not days

Michigan hospital: Our coronavirus test gives results in minutes, not days

July 6, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

Researchers at Beaumont Health say they are using technology they first developed to detect the zika virus. The test, which has yet to win FDA approval, is reliable, inexpensive and easier to administer, researchers say.

Hold on, they begged. In Michigan, a gun and loophole helped him let go.

Hold on, they begged. In Michigan, a gun and loophole helped him let go.

July 6, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

The coronavirus pandemic made it hard to see therapists but easy to buy a gun. Now, a Michigan family is grieving and searching for answers after their son’s suicide.

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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