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COVID_19 Updates

To combat the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan, today Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order.

Effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 24, 2020, through April 13, 2020, all Michigan businesses and operations must temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. In addition, all Michiganders must stay in their homes unless they’re a part of the critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.

YOU CAN:

  • Go to the grocery store or pick up take-out food.
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up a needed prescription.
  • Engage in outdoor activities like walking, hiking, running, biking.
  • Go to the hospital or secure any care necessary to address a medical emergency or to preserve your health or the health of a loved one.
  • Fill your car with gas.
  • Return to Michigan to a home or place of residence from outside the State.
  • Leave the State for a home or residence elsewhere.
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian for needed medical care.

YOU MAY NOT:

  • Leave the home to work unless your employer designates you as a critical infrastructure worker.
  • Participate in any public gatherings.
  • Visit someone in the hospital, nursing home, or other residential care facilities (with limited exceptions).
  • Go to the mall or to restaurants.

BUSINESSES THAT REMAIN OPEN FOR IN-PERSON WORK MUST TAKE AGGRESSIVE STEPS TO MINIMIZE THE VIRUS’S SPREAD. THEY MUST:

  • Promote remote work to the fullest extent possible.
  • Restrict the number of workers present in-person on the job.
  • Keep employees at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible and enabling social distancing for customers who are standing in line.
  • Any other social distancing practices and mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

For those who have questions about the state’s actions to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

ABC 12 Latest report on helping workers who lost their job due to COVID_19

LANSING (WJRT) (3/16/2020) – Workers who are off the job because of coronavirus are eligible for expanded unemployment benefits.

Whitmer signed an order Monday allowing employees to obtain state jobless benefits if they need to care for a family member or aren’t allowed to work due to COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.

Their eligibility continues through 11:59 p.m. April 14 unless it gets extended. Unemployment benefits will be offered to:

— Workers dealing with an unanticipated family care responsibility due to school closures or a loved one who is ill.
— Workers who are sick, quarantined or unable to work and who don’t have access to paid leave options.
— First responders and health care workers who become ill after exposure to a patient with COVID-19, which is the illness caused by coronavirus.

Michigan’s unemployment benefit eligibility period also will increase from 20 weeks to 26 weeks and workers have 28 days to file a claim.

“While we work together to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, we must do everything we can to help working families,” Whitmer said. “This executive order will provide immediate relief to those who can’t go to work, and who rely on their paycheck to put food on the table for themselves and their families.”

Displaced workers can file for unemployment benefits by calling 1-866-500-0017 or on the state website. No in-person applications will be accepted at state unemployment offices, which are closed to the public.

Unemployment Website

https://miwam.unemployment.state.mi.us/ClmMiWAM/_/

Businesses are not charged for employees drawing unemployment benefits due to coronavirus.

Whitmer also announced she is working with the federal Small Business Administration to offer help for Michigan businesses losing money due to slowdowns related to coronavirus.

Coronavirus symptoms include mild to severe respiratory illness, fever, cough and shortness of breath. The best ways to prevent coronavirus and other viruses include:

— Washing hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds.
— Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
— Covering to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
— Avoiding contact with sick people and staying home when ill.
— Replace handshakes with elbow bumps.
— Stay at least 6 feet away from others when in a public setting.

 

McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital

At this time, McLaren Northern Michigan is only testing patients who are hospitalized.
McLaren Northern Michigan has instituted a COVID-19 hotline to help relieve the concerns of our community. The information outlines signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and steps to take if you are concerned. There is an option to speak to a McLaren care team member if there are further questions.
HOTLINE: 231.487.5550
NEW INFORMATION AS OF 3/22/2020
STATUS OF COVID-19
FIRST COVID-19 CASE AT McLAREN NORTHERN MICHIGAN
As of Sunday, March 22 at 6 p.m., there is 1 confirmed COVID-19 patients at McLaren Northern Michigan. Tests are pending for other patients currently hospitalized at McLaren Northern Michigan.
A MESSAGE FROM YOUR HOSPITALS & HEALTH DEPT
Joint Statement from McLaren Northern Michigan, Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital, and the Health Department of Northwest Michigan
The COVID-19 outbreak has accelerated in highly populated areas downstate, but locally we still have an opportunity to reduce the spread in our community. The best way to mitigate community spread for now is to practice social distancing.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT
McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation Seeks Medical Supplies
While McLaren Northern Michigan currently has the appropriate medical supplies to properly protect employees and medical staff, and care for patients, we are preparing for a national shortage of medical supplies in the coming weeks. To safeguard our staff and patients, McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation is seeking community donations of:
  • New, unused masks (including construction grade)
  • Medical grade gloves
  • Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes with an alcohol content of 60% or more
  • Non-contact forehead thermometers
  • Homemade fabric face masks (more information below)
Please call the Foundation at 231-487-3500 to arrange a drop off time for your donation. Donations will be accepted in Petoskey and Cheboygan. DO NOT bring your donations directly to the hospital or emergency departments – we are restricting visitors at this time.
McLaren Northern Michigan Accepting Donations of Homemade Masks
We are currently accepting donations of homemade isolation masks. While isolation masks are not used to treat COVID-19 patients, they are imperative and will meet a critical need in the hospital’s other patient care areas.

SBA 

Check out the link below to see if your business qualifies for a loan due to COVID 19!

https://www.sba.gov/about-sba/sba-newsroom/press-releases-media-advisories/sba-updates-criteria-states-requesting-disaster-assistance-loans-small-businesses-impacted

 

Semco Energy Gas Company

https://www.semcoenergygas.com/main/Default

Important Message to SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company Customers

UPDATE 03/15/2020 8:00 PM
To Our Community:
At SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company, taking care of our customers, our employees and our communities is what we do. Every day, we safely and reliably provide natural gas service so that our customers can heat their homes and prepare their meals. While the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is an unprecedented challenge to Michigan and our nation, the dedicated SEMCO team is committed to doing all we can to continue serving our customers and minimizing any inconvenience. We have preparedness plans in place and are continuing to follow the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention and our governmental authorities.

As circumstances warrant in the coming days, we may need to make some operational adjustments. If that is the case, we will post any changes on our website and on our social media channels. Importantly, during these challenging times we are suspending customer disconnections and waiving late fees for anyone unable to pay their monthly bills. Please call us at 800-624-2019 or visit our website www.semcoenergygas.com for additional information.

Emergency Response and Service Visits
Our dedicated team will continue to respond to emergency leak calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will also continue to perform essential service visits following precautionary protocols.
We appreciate your patience as we work to provide the best possible service during this public health emergency. The health well-being and safety of our customers, associates and communities will continue to be our top priority each day.

Sincerely,
Colleen Starring
President SEMCO ENERGY Gas Company

 

03/12/2020 3:30 PM
SEMCO Energy Gas Company is actively monitoring Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Michigan.  SEMCO does not currently anticipate an impact to its services, but the company has implemented guidelines for employees who are in direct contact with customers.

These guidelines include:  avoiding contact with non-work surfaces, washing/sanitizing hands before and after entering homes or businesses and practicing social distancing whenever possible.   When a SEMCO customer requests service that requires an employee to enter  a home or business, SEMCO’s Customer Service Representatives will ask if anyone in the home or business is feeling ill.  This information will allow SEMCO employees to take appropriate precautions to limit the risk of any exposure to illness to SEMCO’s customers and its employees.

Odawa Casino

 

MDO Labor and Economics

State Provides Guidance to Employers Contemplating Potential Layoffs

LANSING, MICH. The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity today provided guidance to Michigan employers on how to avoid potential layoffs related to COVID-19.

“We know that many families and businesses are and will experience economic pain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said LEO Director Jeff Donofrio. “Through Governor Whitmer’s executive action and existing state programs, there are resources for employers affected by COVID-19. We are also strongly urging job providers facing work shortages to place their employees on temporary leave as opposed to termination, so that they may remain eligible for potential federal assistance.”

Work Share If employers are financially distressed but hope to continue operations by cutting back hours, they are encouraged to use the Unemployment Insurance Agency’s Work Share program that allows employers to maintain employment levels and business operations during declines in regular business activity rather than laying off workers. More information about the program can be found at www.michigan.gov/workshare.

Temporary Leave vs. Termination Due to the uncertainty regarding potential congressional action regarding whether and how furloughed workers will be able to access federal paid sick, family and medical leave resources, employers are strongly urged to place employees on  temporary leave and advise the worker that they expect to have work available within 120-days as opposed to termination. There is no additional cost to employers, employees remain eligible for UI benefits through the state, and employees may remain eligible for potential federal assistance.

Steps for employers placing employers on temporary unpaid leave:

  • Do not terminate the employee – specify a temporary/indefinite leave with return to work expected that is within 120 days.
  • Do not create a contractual obligation to bring the employee back to work – Let the employee know that the situation is fluid and subject to change.
  • Provide the employee with a formal Unemployment Compensation Notice. Employers will need to provide their Employer Account Number and Federal Identification Number.
  • Communicate to the employee about their rights. Under Governor Whitmer’s recent Executive Order, workers are placed on leave, or are unable to work because they are sick, quarantined, immunocompromised, or have an unanticipated family care responsibility, are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Ensure employers are provided information on how to obtain unemployment insurance benefits. A factsheet can be found here.
  • Get each employee’s up-to-date contact information.
  • Let employees know if you will be putting updated information on the entity’s website or intranet, if applicable.
  • Appoint a single, or limited number of individuals who will field questions, and communicate that information to employees.
  • Keep a tally of all questions and answers.  Periodically share with employees.

The state is monitoring issues related to continued medical insurance coverage and will update accordingly.

Elimination of Certain Unemployment Costs to Employers

Under the governor’s order, an employer or employing unit must not be charged for unemployment benefits if their employees become unemployed because of an executive order requiring them to close or limit operations.

Other Resources

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s call center stands ready to support businesses looking for assistance through other available state programs. For more information, visit the MEDC’s website: www.michiganbusiness.org or call 888.522.0103. The Michigan Small Business Development Center can also provide resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visit their website https://sbdcmichigan.org/small-business-covid19/ for additional information.

Governor Whitmer is also seeking additional solutions for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Earlier this month, Congress passed legislation that makes $1 billion available to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide low-interest loans to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor has informed SBA that she is seeking an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Declaration for the state and has initiated the process to receive the declaration from SBA. Once granted, small businesses in qualifying areas will be able to access low-interest loans through the SBA. In the interim, we are encouraging small businesses that could benefit from SBA loans to start collecting the information they’ll need to complete and submit their application. Examples of information needed can be found here. For additional information or to obtain help preparing the loan application in advance of the declaration, please contact the Michigan SBA offices in Detroit or Grand Rapids.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

 

 

LMAS Health Department