Coronavirus in Michigan: Day 78

Greater Lansing scores 20,000 face masks from China

State officials report at least 15 more local COVID-19 cases

Posted

TUESDAY, May 26 — A shipment of 20,000 face masks is on its way from China to Lansing.

Officials at the Lansing Economic Area Partnership announced today that the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Government in China will donate up to 20,000 masks to health care workers across Lansing in a “gesture of kindness and solidarity from across the globe.”

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said city officials recently developed a sort of sister city relationship with Hohhot in Inner Mongolia, China. Hohhot officials — in collaboration with LEAP and a local attorney — saw the local need for masks in Greater Lansing and reached out to help, he said.

“Lansing is proud to be an international city,” Schor said in a press release. “This kind gesture will have a positive impact on protecting our community and I am appreciative of this donation.”

Officials billed the donation — valued at over $100,000 — as the most significant of its kind from China to Michigan. About 10,000 masks will be distributed to dental offices, mental health facilities and retirement homes in Greater Lansing. The rest will be sent across Michigan.

According to officials at LEAP, He Xian, a local attorney at Butzel Long, was a “critical partner” in facilitating the donation and forging a sister city type of relationship with Hohhot’s government. LEAP also helped coordinate and facilitate the donation and cover the $350 import fee.

Across Michigan…

RELAUNCH Greater Lansing — task force of regional business leaders — has developed a comprehensive resource guide that will serve as a blueprint for local employers as they work to safely restart their businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new guide contains relevant information on best practices that workplaces should follow, with different levels of importance depending on the industry. It also addressed essential workplace COVID-19 procedures. Read more at lansingchamber.org/relaunch.

***

Michigan State University students will return to campus this fall despite COVID-19 concerns, though the university will offer remote learning options and end the in-person portion of courses by Thanksgiving, according to reports in the Lansing State Journal.

Students will be back on campus on Sept. 2. An MSU taskforce is still considering options, but a number of precautions have already been adopted, including ending all in-person instruction by Thanksgiving and having students finish the last three weeks of the semester remotely, limiting large gatherings and wearing facemasks.

***

More than 700 Ingham County employees will be laid off for one day each week in June and July as county officials make a series of virus-related budget cutbacks.

The Ingham County Board of Commissioners voted this week to approve several measures to address budgetary hurdles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them: One-day layoffs geared at saving $1.3 million on payroll over the summer.

At least 744 of the county’s 1,168 employees will be furloughed one day each week between June and July, officials said. They will retain their benefits and be automatically enrolled for state unemployment and an extra $600 per week in federal COVID-19 assistance funding.

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Beginning on Monday, East Lansing will resume parking enforcement operations at street meters, multi-space lots and permitted lots across the city. The touchless Passport Parking app is available at all streetside meters and other metered parking spaces in the city.

And while free parking will still be available at downtown ramps across East Lansing, the city will set a two-hour time limit on those spaces beginning in June. Those who park longer than two hours will be again required to pay usual ticketed rates to get through the gates at each ramp.

Additionally, city officials have decided to postpone plans to increase rates on monthly parking permits and streetside meters. Those changes could always take effect later this year. Visit cityofeastlansing.com/parkingdowntown for more details on the city’s parking restrictions.

***

Michiganders will be able to hit the slot machines starting as early as Friday as four tribes in the state announced the reopening of their casinos, according to reports in The Detroit Free Press.

At least seven casinos will open with safety regulations, including limiting capacity and continuous sanitation. They include Gun Lake in Wayland, Soaring Eagle in Mount Pleasant, Bay Mills in Brimley, Firekeepers in Battle Creek, Kings Club in Bay Mills and Saganing Eagles in Standish. Whitmer’s executive orders have no authority over sovereign tribal territories.

Some Detroit shopping malls, including Great Lakes Crossing Outlet in Auburn Hills and Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, are also reopening on Friday under newly revised restrictions on retailers.

***

The state Unemployment Insurance Agency is warning residents of criminal attempts to file imposter benefits claims. The U.S. Secret Service also recently issued an alert regarding an international criminal ring exploiting the pandemic to commit large-scale unemployment fraud.

Officials said no personal data from claimants has been stolen in Michigan. Imposter claims are filed using previously stolen or fraudulent personal information. In tandem with federal and state authorities, the UIA is now taking additional precautions to authenticate claim eligibility.

These additional changes could impact both new and existing claimants, officials warned. Some existing claimants may have received “Stop Payment” notices on their accounts and have been sent instructions on how to submit the additional information before claims can be processed.

***

With the cancellation of summer camps and other programming across Michigan, Todd Martin Youth Leadership has created an entirely virtual summer tennis program available in Lansing.

The goal: Ensure Lansing youth still have the opportunity to strengthen their tennis and leadership skills with free programming on weekdays from June 8 to Aug. 14. Instructors will utilize online instruction to ensure students stay educated, while also staying home and safe.

Visit tmyl.org/summer-tennis for more details or to register for the summer tennis program.

***

Business taxpayers in Michigan who have deferred paying their sales, use and withholding taxes can now choose an installment payment option to satisfy their outstanding tax balance.

In a special notice issued yesterday, the state Treasury Department is now allowing business taxpayers scheduled to make tax payments in February, March, April and May on June 20 — including quarterly filers — to pay their entire outstanding balance or pay their outstanding balance in monthly payments over the next six months. Penalties and interest are waived.

In the numbers…

At least 15 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Greater Lansing today, with no additional deaths tracked since yesterday. The regional death toll stands at 41 with 1,038 confirmed cases.

Michigan tracked at least another 504 coronavirus statewide cases this afternoon with another 68 virus-related deaths, pushing the case count past 55,500 with over 5,300 reported dead.

Ingham County                     

Cases — 717 (+11)

Recovered Cases — 368

Recovery Rate — 51.3%

Deaths — 25 (No change)

Fatality Rate — 3.5%

As of yesterday, zip code 48911 tracks 211-220 cases. Zip code 48910 tracks 81-90 cases. Zip code 48823 tracks 71-80 cases. Zip code 48854 and 48906 tracks 51-60 cases. Zip code 48864 tracks 41-50 cases. Zip codes 48842 and 48912 each track 31-40 cases. Zip code 48915 tracks 21-30 cases. Zip codes 48917, 48840, and 48895 each track 11-20 cases. Zip codes 48285, 48819, 48827, 48892, 48933, 49251, 49264 and 49285 each track 10 cases or fewer.

Eaton County                 

Cases — 179 (+1)

Recovered Cases — 160

Recovery Rate — 89.4%

Deaths — 6 (No change)  

Fatality Rate — 3.4%

Clinton County                                                                                            

Cases — 142 (+3)

Deaths — 10 (No change)

Fatality Rate — 7%

The Mid-Michigan County Health Department does not report recovery statistics.                   

Michigan                        

Cases — 55,608 (+504)

Recoveries — 33,168 (as of 5/22/20)                

Recovery Rate — 59.6%

Deaths — 5,334 (+68)

Fatality Rate — 9.6%

U.S.                  

Cases — 1,694,599

Deaths — 99,983

Fatality Rate — 5.9%

Source: CNN  

As of today, Michigan reports the eighth most cases of any state, behind New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Texas. Michigan for weeks has ranked fourth in the country in virus-related deaths, behind New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

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