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Amid School Closures, 10 New Coronavirus Cases In Michigan

In this Tuesday, March 10, 2020, file photo, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announces the state’s first two cases of coronavirus, at the Michigan State Police headquarters in Windsor Township, Mich. Coronavirus cases in Michigan rose sharply late Thursday, March 12, 2020, as officials announced more cases, and as some K-12 schools began announcing closures while others began training staff to potentially move to online learning only. (AP Photo/David Eggert, File)

By David Eggert, Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday night that, effective Monday, all of Michigan’s public and private schools will closed until April 6 as efforts continue to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Michigan reported 10 additional coronavirus cases Thursday, raising the state’s tally to 12, as some K-12 schools began announcing weekslong closures while others began training staff to potentially move to online learning only.

Earlier in the day, the Michigan Legislature approved spending up to $25 million to combat the virus that is now a global pandemic. The supplemental budget bill, which Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will sign, will allocate $10 million to state agencies for preparedness and response to COVID-19.

Officials said all the new cases are are adults — three in Kent County; two in Oakland County; two from Washtenaw County; and one each from Ingham, St. Clair and Montcalm counties. All but one had traveled internationally or domestically, including one on a cruise.

Whitmer and other top officials, including the state superintendent, planned to update reporters late Thursday night.

Meanwhile, the Michigan High School Athletic Association suspended winter sports tournaments indefinitely. The state Capitol suspended tours and events through May 1. Whitmer this week recommended the cancellation or postponement of events with more than 100 people in a shared space.

“This is a true and real public health crisis at the time, and we need to do what we can to help slow and mitigate the spread of this virus,” said Mark Uyl, executive director of the athletic association.

The state funding may cover monitoring, lab testing, contact tracing and infection control. An additional $15 million will be set aside in a new coronavirus response fund and can be appropriated later. The legislation also will authorize the the state to spend up to $50 million in federal coronavirus funding.

The state Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday it can test about 1,300 people, up from 300 last week. The state had conducted 135 tests as of Thursday. Ninety-seven were negative, three were positive and the results of 26 tests were pending .

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive and chief deputy health director, told lawmakers that there is no backlog at the state lab and that some private labs had come online with COVID-19 testing.

“We’ve known it was coming. But the idea is if you slow it enough, you can prepare your public health systems, we can prepare the community, and we can make sure our health care system, our hospitals, are not inundated with very sick patients,” she said.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.

The state Senate will curtail how often it meets while both it and the House will allow staff over age 60 or with underlying health conditions to work from home. Legislators also began introducing coronavirus bills, including to remove cost barriers to testing and treatment and to strengthen a law that restricts businesses from price-gouging essential items during an emergency.

Several school districts in Washtenaw County, including Ann Arbor — the state’s fourth-largest — said they will close for at least three weeks. The largest district in Michigan, Detroit, told its 50,000 students not to attend Friday while employees consider and prepare for the “possible extended closure of schools.”

Other Detroit-area districts, including Rochester, West Bloomfield, Birmingham and Grosse Pointe, briefly closed or said they will close to prepare teachers for possible online instruction in the days ahead. All of Michigan’s 15 public universities are shifting to online classes or other methods for a few weeks or longer.

In Kent County, home to Grand Rapids, schools remained open, although field trips, large gatherings and performing arts involving more than 100 people were canceled.

With no COVID-19 cases in the Grand Rapids area, “there’s not a lot of benefit” to closing schools, said Joann Hoganson, county director of community wellness. Hours later, cases were announced in the county.

Catholic schools in southeastern Michigan will be closed Friday and Monday for “deep cleaning,” but weekend Masses will not be canceled, the Detroit Archdiocese said.

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra canceled four days of performances of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” But its online video archive will be available for free, starting Friday, at “so that we can continue to share the gift of music,” president Anne Parsons said.


Associated Press writer Ed White in Detroit contributed to this story.


The post Amid School Closures, 10 New Coronavirus Cases In Michigan appeared first on The Village Reporter.

Source: The Village Reporter

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