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 has 6th highest number of COVID-19 cases in nation, 5th highest deaths

Michigan has 6th highest number of COVID-19 cases in nation, 5th highest deaths

November 18, 2020 | Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press

Michigan now ranks sixth nationally in coronavirus cases and fifth for the number of COVID-19 related deaths, state health officials say.

Beaumont Health paid CEO $2.6 million bonus weeks before bailout

Beaumont Health paid CEO $2.6 million bonus weeks before bailout

November 17, 2020 | Jennifer Dixon, Detroit Free Press

Beaumont Health paid its chief executive a $2.6 million bonus weeks before the state's largest hospital system turned to the federal government for a financial bailout.

Want a COVID test for your Michigan Thanksgiving? Expect… to… wait.

Want a COVID test for your Michigan Thanksgiving? Expect… to… wait.

November 13, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Robin Erb

With a surge on demand for testing — which is expected to grow in the coming days — some labs already face a backlog.

Michigan hospitals plead with residents to mask up, ditch holiday plans

Michigan hospitals plead with residents to mask up, ditch holiday plans

November 12, 2020 | Robin Erb

With a surge in COVID cases across the state and country, hospital staff is limited. The CEO’s say another statewide lock-down isn’t the answer but are urging residents instead to take personal steps to reduce spread of the virus.

Losing one of their own to COVID: Flint hospital mourns beloved nurse

Losing one of their own to COVID: Flint hospital mourns beloved nurse

November 12, 2020 | Kate Wells, Michigan Radio

Santa Staples, born on Christmas Day, was a singular presence at McClaren, where she ran the operating room with military precision. A nurse for 33 years, she died Saturday of COVID-19, one of at least two Michigan nurses lost to the virus in the past week.

COVID patients quadruple in Michigan hospitals since October

COVID patients quadruple in Michigan hospitals since October

November 9, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

The number of coronavirus cases has skyrocketed in recent weeks and those cases are creating increasing demand on hospitals across the state. Health care leaders are calling for more vigilance with masks and social distancing.

Michigan passes 200,000 COVID cases. What we’ve learned, and haven’t.

Michigan passes 200,000 COVID cases. What we’ve learned, and haven’t.

November 6, 2020 | Robin Erb, Mike Wilkinson

Michigan’s public health leaders and doctors begin to wonder: Will a pandemic-weary public take notice?

A small hospital in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula braces for COVID

A small hospital in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula braces for COVID

November 6, 2020 | Robin Erb

There are 15 hospitals sprinkled across more than 300 miles in the U.P. Many have no or few beds for ICU patients. And that’s usually fine, until a pandemic strikes.

Michigan’s deer season could scatter COVID-19, health leaders say

Michigan’s deer season could scatter COVID-19, health leaders say

November 1, 2020 | Robin Erb, Bob Campbell

Cards, drinking, shared meals and sleeping quarters — deer camp traditions could send hunters home with COVID-19 as well as a prized buck, say health officials.

Upper Peninsula man nearly killed by COVID. He still doubts the data.

Upper Peninsula man nearly killed by COVID. He still doubts the data.

November 1, 2020 | Robin Erb

After nine days in the hospital, Dwaine Taylor — COVID case #290 in Delta County — said he no longer believes the coronavirus is a hoax. But he remains skeptical of the cases elsewhere, underscoring an awkward truth: COVID is complex, and so are people and politics.

West Michigan contact tracers are overwhelmed by volume of COVID cases

West Michigan contact tracers are overwhelmed by volume of COVID cases

October 30, 2020 | Ted Roelofs

As Michigan cases spike, health officials in Kent, Calhoun and Ottawa counties say they need more personnel to quickly contact infected individuals to help limit the spread of the coronavirus. And too often, the people they do reach won’t cooperate.

Michigan hospitals turn to $15 minimum wage to fill job openings

Michigan hospitals turn to $15 minimum wage to fill job openings

October 26, 2020 | Paula Gardner, Robin Erb

Two of the state’s largest health care systems bumped minimum wages to $15 an hour amid competition for entry-level workers. Nursing home employees in 14 southeast Michigan nursing homes also are on their way to pay increases.

As Mackinac Island empties for winter, COVID arrives for a stay

As Mackinac Island empties for winter, COVID arrives for a stay

October 25, 2020 | Robin Erb

Tourists flooded onto the iconic Michigan landmark during the second half of the summer. Somehow, the island escaped large COVID-19 outbreaks. That has now changed.

Michigan hospitals paid bonuses amid COVID, then took bailouts, cut jobs

Michigan hospitals paid bonuses amid COVID, then took bailouts, cut jobs

October 23, 2020 | Jennifer Dixon, Detroit Free Press

Beaumont Health and Henry Ford Health System, two of the state’s largest nonprofit systems, awarded executive bonuses in March, as the pandemic descended on the state. They then laid off thousands and accepted more than $700 million in U.S. taxpayer funds.

Months after COVID, 1 in 4 Michiganders studied have yet to recover

Months after COVID, 1 in 4 Michiganders studied have yet to recover

October 21, 2020 | Robin Erb

In a study of people who suffered severe to minimal symptoms, there were significant levels of fatigue, shortness of breath and stress. Researchers at the University of Michigan will continue to examine the ongoing toll in the state.

Another casualty of COVID: testing for lead poisoning in Michigan

Another casualty of COVID: testing for lead poisoning in Michigan

October 21, 2020 | Robin Erb

In old paint, water pipes and the ground, lead can leave a child with a lifetime of learning problems and mental health issues. But during the pandemic, the number of children being tested for poisoning has been cut in half.

Coronavirus hits new high in Michigan. Is it a ‘blip’ or ‘surge’?

Coronavirus hits new high in Michigan. Is it a ‘blip’ or ‘surge’?

October 15, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson, Robin Erb

As cases surge to levels unseen in months, the virus is spreading fast in corners of Michigan that had been mostly spared. Experts blame ‘pandemic fatigue’ but the good news is deaths remain relatively low.

Michigan riding ‘second’ COVID wave that could bring more deaths

Michigan riding ‘second’ COVID wave that could bring more deaths

October 13, 2020 | Mike Wilkinson

Cases of the new coronavirus are increasing across all Michigan regions, with hospitalizations doubling since late September. Residents are urged to stick with restrictions as flu season begins despite “pandemic fatigue.”

‘Open up everything!’ Michigan GOP’s push for herd immunity on COVID

‘Open up everything!’ Michigan GOP’s push for herd immunity on COVID

October 12, 2020 | Robin Erb

A Michigan infectious disease doctor says we’ve overdone coronavirus lockdown rules, an argument embraced by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey. The medical establishment calls such views dangerous.

Health experts to Shirkey: COVID herd immunity would kill 30K in Michigan

Health experts to Shirkey: COVID herd immunity would kill 30K in Michigan

October 12, 2020 | Robin Erb, Jonathan Oosting

Five public health leaders have sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey rebuking his comments about “herd immunity” and asking for a hearing focused on the science of the virus.

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