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ACCESS providing drive-through COVID-19 testing for first responders, medical personnel

ACCESS Community Health and Research Center, in Dearborn, is among the sites offering drive-through COVID-19 testing for symptomatic medical personnel and first responders, who face exposure risks daily while on-the-job. In partnership with the Wayne State University Physician Group and Wayne State University Health Sciences, ACCESS is providing drive-through testing at two different locations. Dr. Phillip Levy, who is heading the drive-through testing initiative, is the assistant vice president for translational science and clinical research innovation at Wayne State University, and chief innovation officer for the Wayne State University Physician Group. His specialty is emergency medicine, and he is a professor of emergency medicine at Wayne State University. Levy said the people being swabbed are both grateful for the opportunity to be tested and afraid of what the test results might be. “They are afraid for their own health, and grateful that there are organizations such as Wayne State and the Wayne State Physician Group, as well as ACCESS, who are actually there to help them get some answers as to whether or not they are infected,” he said. Levy said they are only testing symptomatic people, in compliance with the NDHSS guidance.
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Black communities hit harder by coronavirus in Michigan, not just Detroit

Residents of Michigan communities with large African-American populations are disproportionately sickened and killed by the coronavirus, according to a Bridge Magazine analysis of public health data. Detroit, which is 79 percent African American, has 7 percent of Michigan’s population but 26 percent of the state’s infections and 25 percent of its deaths. The outbreak so far is centered in southeast Michigan, as Wayne, Oakland and Macomb have 80 percent of the state’s 9,334 cases as of Wednesday. Bridge’s analysis of public records shows: In suburban Wayne County, communities with the largest black populations — Highland Park, Redford Township, Ecorse, River Rouge and Romulus — have roughly double the rate of infection as the county. In Oakland County, infection rates are highest in majority-black Southfield and suburbs with higher-than-average black populations: Lathrup Village, West Bloomfield and Farmington Hills. In Macomb County, nearly 35 percent of all infections were among African Americans, who comprise less than 15 percent of the county’s population. County maps show the most cases are in southern Macomb including Warren, Eastpointe and Roseville, all of which have a higher percentage of African-American residents. Matthew Seeger, a communications professor at Wayne State University who has worked with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said public health officials must tailor messages to different audiences by using different media. He said Whitmer, Duggan and Evans have done an “exceptional job” so far.
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Three weeks into Michigan’s coronavirus crisis, the numbers are rising exponentially

It was three weeks ago today that Michiganders woke to the start of the state’s coronavirus crisis. Between Wednesday, March 25, and Tuesday, March 31, the number of completed coronavirus tests for Michigan residents increased from 9,109 to 25,711. Of those 25,711 completed coronavirus tests on Michigan residents, 6,150-- or 24% -- were positive, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human and Services. It’s unclear how many tests are pending. Some Michigan residents have been pushing for public data on the number of people who have recovered for coronavirus. But it’s too soon to have those numbers, considering the timetable of the epidemic and the timetable of illness and recovery for individual patients, said Dr. Paul Kilgore, a public-health doctor and epidemiologist at Wayne State University. He said that coronavirus symptoms typically last from 10 to 14 days and many are still recuperating “for a couple of weeks afterwards,” he said. “If you’re in the intensive care unit, your recovery is going to be even longer.” Considering the first cases in Michigan were confirmed only three weeks ago, “it’s not all” surprising there is no public data on recoveries from coronavirus, Kilgore said.
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2 of Detroit’s homeless positive for COVID-19 as city adds 300-plus beds, testing

Two people in the city’s homeless shelter system have tested positive for COVID-19 and are being separated with 27 others at a new facility opened amid the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic. Detroit has added about 325 shelter beds for homeless people, rooms for isolation and launched a formal testing program for symptomatic members of the homeless community in an attempt to quell the spread. Wayne State University, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the affiliated DMC Foundation have partnered for on-site COVID-19 testing at the location. Two staffers from Wayne State University are visiting the shelter on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to get swabs for testing, said Dr. Phillip Levy, professor of emergency medicine and chief innovation officer for the WSU Physician Group. Levy echoed experts in calling homeless people particularly at risk in the outbreak, saying members of the community don't have regular interactions with health care providers and have limited care other than emergency departments. "If we can avoid them getting exposed and potentially succumbing to worse outcomes because of their other risk factors, then it's really a no-brainer," he said. "... That's how you measure a society, how it takes care of its most vulnerable."
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COVID-19 and chloroquine: FDA authorizes use, but risks persist

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency authorization to use chloroquine and hyrdoxychloroquine to treat patients with COVID-19. In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA’s Chief Scientist, Rear Admiral Denise Hinton, wrote that the potential benefits of treatment with these drugs outweigh the potential risks. She based that conclusion on “limited in vitro and anecdotal data” available from use of the drugs in other countries, and the fact that the novel coronavirus has created a national public health emergency. Chloroquine has been used for decades to treat malaria. A similar drug, hydroxychloroquine, is commonly prescribed for patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions. Clinical trials are underway to determine if these are effective treatments for COVID-19. But until those tests are completed, physicians warn against calling it a cure yet. “There’s no good evidence at this point, no good randomized control trials to show that it will make a difference,” says Dr. Cynthia Aaron, medical director of the Michigan Poison Center at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine. Aaron says chloroquine and hyrdoxychloroquine did show some promise in treating people with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which is also caused by a strain of coronavirus. “But to say that there’s irrefutable evidence that it’s effective at this point, that just doesn’t exist,” Aaron says.
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Opinion: Incoming freshmen, don't panic. Colleges will support you

Dawn Medley, associate vice president of enrollment management, wrote an opinion piece reassuring incoming freshmen during the COVID-19 crisis. “Today, my entire enrollment management division is working remotely as is 95% of our university. I spend my days at a laptop, with headphones, and managing in a time unlike any other. First we focused on making sure that our current students had their needs met. For some, they went home. For others, we are their home. Now we are taking events designed around the “in person experience” and turning them into “experiences for the person.” Our faculty are moving mountains to take all of their experience and plans for coursework and distill it into educational, engaging and electronic forms…Parents and students, higher education institutions will support you. No, we don’t have all the answers yet because the questions and landscape change daily, but we are adapting rapidly.
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'Southeast Michigan is burning': Michigan's coronavirus case count doubles every 3 days

Sick people fill intensive care units of already overtaxed southeastern Michigan hospitals at a pace of about 100 new coronavirus patients a day. So far, 111 Michiganders have died, and at least 4,650 had confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday afternoon, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. What we do know is that the official coronavirus case count is currently doubling about every three days in Michigan. "Southeast Michigan is burning right now," said Dr. Teena Chopra, medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology at DMC Harper University Hospital and a professor at Wayne State University. "Our hospital systems are being overrun at this point," Chopra said. "They are all struggling. ... We are under-resourced and we need to make sure that we get more help. You know, we are asking, all of us are asking, for help. And the governor knows that." It has been just 19 days since the state reported its first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the evening of March 10. Eight days later, a Southgate man in his 50s was the first to die of the disease, and that's when the case counts around the state began to rise rapidly because of "a combination of increased detection of cases through laboratory testing as well as community-wide transmission," said Dr. Paul Kilgore, an associate professor at Wayne State University's Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Reducing the rate of COVID-19 infections hinges on how well people adhere to the governor's order, said Kilgore. "The way I've been looking at social distancing is that it's really kind of our vaccine. You're the vaccine. I'm the vaccine. And the extent to which we apply this intervention to the population is exactly the way that we would apply a vaccine. The more people that do social distancing, or the greater the percentage of the population that social distance, that will determine the effectiveness or efficacy of social distancing, just like you would evaluate a vaccine," Kilgore said. 
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For some recovering addicts, Michigan’s stay-home order sparks fear of relapse

Michigan’s stay-home order, meant to protect the health of state residents, could be a challenge to the health of recovering alcoholics and addicts who’ve found in-person support meetings canceled and services like methadone dispensaries modified. Now, they’ll have to navigate a world where many paths to recovery have become digital. Many meetings are moving online, and some in recovery are trying to stay in contact through phone calls and Internet meetings. Still, some state leaders in the recovery community acknowledge that the isolation that comes from being cooped up at home sparks fears of relapse. For many Michiganders, the promise of a $1,200 check and other unemployment benefits from the federal government will spell relief. But for those who are recovering from substance abuse addictions, a big check could trigger a relapse. There are some ways to avoid this potential trigger, according to Dr. David Ledgerwood, director of Wayne State University School of Medicine’s nicotine and tobacco research division. People in recovery should find a way to ensure that their stimulus check goes towards necessities, Ledgerwood suggested, such as setting up a bank account specifically for paying bills. They could also tell a trusted family member to distribute the money. Telemedicine therapy can be beneficial for folks who have limited transportation options or duties like childcare, said Dr. Arash Javanbakht, director of the stress, trauma and anxiety research clinic at Wayne State University. Doing therapy from the comfort of one’s home could also provide new insight for clinicians into a patient’s living situation as well, he added. Javanbakht, who had been seeing patients through video calls once a week before the outbreak, said he and his patients were skeptical of teletherapy at first, but left their sessions feeling excited by the prospect.
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Can I complain about coronavirus? Why it is OK to vent, sometimes

Arash Javanbakht, assistant professor of psychiatry, wrote an article for The Conversation about how the pandemic has changed our normal lives. “The COVID-19 pandemic is different from many crises in that it has affected all of us regardless of politics, economics, religion, age or nationality. This virus is a good reminder that humanity is vulnerable to what nature throws at us, and that we are all in this together. This pandemic has profoundly changed our way of living. Overnight, dining out, exercising at the gym or seeing friends in person became impossible for millions of Americans. Remote working, reduced work hours and income, and uncertainty are indeed stressful. Most of us are having to make important adjustments and quickly learn new skills, such as how to do virtual meetings or be motivated to work from home. Given we are creatures of habit, these adjustments can be hard. We are also stressed by continuous exposure to sad news, often contradictory predictions and recommendations coming from different sources. The constantly changing and evolving nature of this situation is very frustrating.”
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Michigan hospitals, Wayne State collaborate to bring coronavirus clinical trials to metro Detroit

Top research doctors at four Southeast Michigan health systems and Wayne State University have formed a partnership to participate in large-scale COVID-19 drug trials they hope will lead to a vaccine, antiviral medicines and other drugs to combat the deadly coronavirus. Physician participants who formed the study group are part of Henry Ford Health System, Ascension Michigan, Beaumont Health, Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State. "We hope our work here will last well into the future, should COVID-19 continue to be a threat," said Dr. Phillip Levy, professor and associate chair for research in Wayne’s State’s department of emergency medicine. "By combining forces, we can marshal greater research capabilities to effectively test vaccines and treatments to combat this virus."
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Jobless claims in Michigan, U.S. spike in wake of coronavirus pandemic

Nearly 3.3 million people are out of work in the United States, according to the most recent jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor; quadrupling the previous record set in 1982. "These numbers are unprecedented. 3.3 million jobless claims. I think the high water mark in the 80s was 600,000. No one saw this coming," said Matthew Roling, executive director of Wayne State's Office of Business Innovation. And in Michigan, unemployment claims are also way up. There's been a 550 percent increase in the number of claims filed compared to those usually filed during this time of year, according to the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. "And I think it speaks to the total lack of clarity that most employers feel right now," Roling said. He added that small businesses in the state have been hit especially hard under the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order. “Employers don’t really have the freedom or flexibility with their balance sheets the money that they have available, to keep these employees on. And so the most humane thing for them to do is to let these folks go so that they can seek benefits," he said. But Roling also pointed out that Detroit's automakers shifting gears during this crisis, to help make vital medical equipment, is moving Michigan in the right direction in the both the short and long-term. “While obviously making ventilators might not employ the same number of people as making pick-up trucks, a lot of Michigan’s economy is based manufacturing," he said, noting that industry tends.
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When Dementia Meets the Coronavirus Crisis

As the coronavirus advances, it is taking a particularly harsh toll on the many who are caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. While the disease itself does not necessarily place patients at high risk for contracting the virus, they and their caregivers face a range of special challenges. Dementia patients are typically very sensitive to changes in routine and often require a great deal of hands-on care, both factors that are hard to manage now. Family members who usually rely on day care programs or visiting caregivers may be finding themselves with full-time responsibilities, while others whose loved ones are in facilities are unable to visit them now. Among the greatest challenges is how to minimize disruption in care that is intensely personal. “Care for dementia patients is ‘high touch,’” said Peter Lichtenberg, a professor of psychology and director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University. He recommends that caregivers take measures to avoid their own exposures by having provisions delivered, disinfecting surfaces and employing proper hand-washing techniques
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Detroit is a COVID-19 hotspot. What the data do, and don't, tell us

Metro Detroit has become one of the nation’s COVID-19 hotspots. And experts predict the situation will get even more dire in the next several weeks. The city of Detroit is a hotspot within the hotspot. As of Thursday, the city reported 888 COVID-19 cases, with 19 deaths so far. Why is that? Jonathan Stillo, a medical anthropologist and assistant professor at Wayne State University, said some of the explanation for Detroit’s numbers in particular comes down to simple geography—densely-populated urban centers foster the spread of communicable diseases, and Detroit may just be a bit ahead of the curve compared to some other places. “But we’re still nowhere near where we need to be in terms of seeing the whole picture,” Stillo said. “Right now, we’re only seeing little snapshots, and those are totally dependent on how much testing is happening. “It makes the job of researchers, and folks who are trying to figure out what’s going on and make policy to address it, really hard. We’re flying blind, I think, in a lot of ways.” Stillo said data on racial demographics would be helpful. So would data about whether groups of people who are disproportionately sick and dying have certain underlying conditions. Although it’s difficult to tell whether specific racial groups such as African Americans might be at higher risk from COVID-19, Stillo said some basic public health and social science data tell us that’s probably the case. “African American folks in Detroit have higher rates of asthma, they have higher rates of diabetes, they have higher rates of some of these conditions that we think may make outcomes worse,” Stillo said. “You’re sort of layering biological problems on top of already-existing social problems.
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Should I exercise during the coronavirus pandemic? Experts explain the just right exercise curve

Tamara Hew-Butler, associate professor of exercise and sports science, and Mariane Fahlman, professor of kinesiology, health and sport studies, wrote an article offering practical tips on how much people should (and should not) exercise. “Both too much and too little are bad while somewhere in the middle is just right. Scientists commonly refer to this statistical phenomenon as a “J-shaped” curve. Research has shown exercise can influence the body’s immune system. 
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How to survive anxiety in the age of COVID-19

Arash Javanbakht, M.D., director of the Stress, Trauma, and Anxiety Research Clinic (STARC) at Wayne State University, wrote a piece for Psychology Today about surviving in the age of COVID-19. Javanbakht wrote: “There are aspects of all of our lives that are affected by the new pandemic, regardless of our political, religious, age, or national background. This virus is a reminder that we humans are all vulnerable to what nature throws at us, and in it together. Overnight, our ability to dine out, be at a coffee shop, or exercise declined. This is important especially for those who had routines including these activities, or those with less social support, whose social interactions were limited to such activities, or their social life did involve such activities like spending time with friends at the gym. Remote working, reduced work hours and income, and inability to predict future of work, especially for those with limited financial resources, or jobs mainly affected by the crisis are highly stressful. We all are also stressed by the news, especially given the inherent emotionally triggering nature of the U.S. news media, and too much focus on disaster pornography, as well as contradicting news, predictions, and recommendations coming from different outlets and authorities. The constantly changing and evolving nature of such news is also stressing on all those who follow them.”
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Free drive-thru virus testing Sunday for Detroit, Dearborn first responders

Health care workers and first responders in Detroit and Dearborn with symptoms of COVID-19 can get a free virus screening Sunday. The Wayne State University Physician Group is partnering with  WSU Health Sciences and social service organization ACCESS to provide drive-thru screening from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at ACCESS Community Health and Research Center in Dearborn. Volunteer clinicians are providing nasal tests at no charge to health care workers, police officers, firefighters, and medics from across the region who are displaying COVID-19  symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat. “Wayne State has long played an integral role in the health and well-being of the Detroit community, which is why it’s critical we step up and help test those who are involved in caring for others,” said Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson. “Testing is an important measure toward controlling the spread of the virus, and we’ve made this drive-through testing process as accessible as possible for those on the front lines of care who have symptoms suggesting that they may be infected.” 
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Looking for coronavirus case numbers in Michigan? Why official data lags

People looking for the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Oakland County on Thursday morning found two numbers: the state said there were 23 confirmed cases, while a report based off the county’s numbers said 94. They’re different because the state’s data lags. The state initially reported it at 6 p.m. every day, then switched to 2 p.m., reporting the confirmed cases from across the state as of midnight the day before. On Thursday the state data lagged even more as officials added in information from private labs and got the latest state number out – 336 confirmed cases, 105 in Oakland County – a little after 3 p.m. And the discrepancy with Oakland County is just one of many around Michigan as some county health departments and local hospitals release their own data in a patchwork. “It is understandable that people want as much data as possible, and government and others should work aggressively to provide that data,” said Matthew W. Seeger, dean and professor of Wayne State University’s Department of Communication. “They should do so with as much context as possible, and that’s really hard in a crisis situation.” It’s important that information is coming from trusted government sources, Seeger said, because a crisis creates an information void. That void can increase the chance of misinformation spreading. "Crisis creates an information vacuum which is going to be filled. It can be filled by subject matter experts and government officials, or it can be filled by your friend from high school,” Seeger said. He encouraged people to consult official sources like the CDC, and correct misinformation they may hear or see on social media.
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Should I freeze my mask? And other questions for local physicians about COVID-19

Dr. Paul Kilgore, associate professor and director of research at Wayne State’s Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, talked about the medical and public safety implications of the novel coronavirus on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson. What are requirements for getting a test? “You can list, write down signs and symptoms you’re experiencing, including when they started. Record if symptoms getting worse. Call doctor/nurse and they’ll tell you if you need a test,” said Kilgore. At what point should people consult their doctor if they think they have symptoms? “The “disease can progress fairly rapidly, [so] write down progression. [It] doesn’t hurt to call the clinic if you have signs/symptoms and let them know, better early than late.” How do we help elders in our neighborhood or in our family in a safe way? “Organizations are out there trying to help, but don’t always know where vulnerable populations are. Might help to let those organizations know where help is needed.”
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Make homemade broth, and other nutritionist tips during COVID-19

Some local groceries have been picked thin in the wake of thousands of Metro Detroiters stocking up in preparation for quarantine. But instead of frozen and canned foods, one Wayne State nutritionist says creating your own soups and grain-based dishes is a healthier way to feed yourself and your family during this crisis. “You don’t want to be throwing anything away right now. You want to maximize what you have,” said Wayne State University nutritionist Diane Cress. Cress says, before you go shopping again, pay attention to what can still be used at home. “Get your nutrients from food and then you get the right doses. If you get them from supplements, things are imbalanced. Food is cheaper and tastes better.”