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Duggan: Detroit will run $100M deficit due to COVID-19 outbreak

The economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc on the finances of Detroit, a city just six years removed from exiting the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Mayor Mike Duggan said that he expects the city will run a $100 million deficit this fiscal year amid the COVID-19 crisis. He said that while there will be “painful cuts” as a result, shelling out to protect residents remains Detroit’s priority. “We’re going to spend what we need to, to take care of our residents,” Duggan said. “Then as a community, we’re going to have to deal with the fact that we have a major budget deficit.” Duggan’s administration has worked to build up its reserves and a strong management team, as part of a forecasting partnership with Wayne State University and the University of Michigan.
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COVID-19 patient advocacy at a distance, maintaining mental health at home

Arash Javanbakht, director of the Stress, Trauma, and Anxiety Research Clinic and a professor of psychiatry at Wayne State University, discusses maintaining mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. “We can be physically distant and safe, but not be a-social. The idea of socially distancing from other people and not being connected is scary to us because we’re social creatures,” he said. “There are multiple stressors that people are dealing with at this time. In fact, a lot of factors that contribute to stress, trauma, and anxiety, in general, are happening right now. Transition is always stressful, and everybody is going through multiple transitions, from changes in work style and family balance, and having to stay home and develop a new routine. All of those changes happened fairly suddenly.”
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Michigan reports 77 more deaths; Beaumont CEO calls for more hospital reporting

Another 77 people in Michigan have died due to COVID-19, pushing total deaths up to 617 – a 14 percent increase from Saturday. The number of new cases in the state increased by 1,493 from Saturday, brining the total to 15,718, according to data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The city of Detroit, which has by far the largest number of cases and deaths in the state, reported an additional 27 deaths over the 24-hour period, bringing its total death count to 158. The number of cases in the city hit 4,495, an increase of 545 from the previous day. At least five health care workers have died in Southeast Michigan from COVID-19 since early March. Wayne State University’s School of Social Work and College of Nursing are launching a crisis hotline Tuesday, April 7 to offer support for first responders and health care workers on the front lines of the outbreak.
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Help with COVID-19 patients or lose job, Beaumont Health says

Beaumont Health, the state’s largest health care system, informed employees that anyone who refuses a transfer to work with COVID-19 patients will be considered to have resigned and ineligible for future employment. The policy provides exceptions for those with underlying conditions, and comes amid increasing angst in Metro Detroit hospital systems that are reaching capacity in the face of the nation’s third largest outbreak of the coronavirus. Adding to the stress is the news of deaths and hospitalizations of colleagues and concerns over shortages of protective equipment. “There has not been a time, in my lifetime, of so much angst and tension in the healthcare community,” said Dr. Richard Balon, program director for the psychiatry residency at Detroit Medical Center and a professor of psychiatry and anesthesiology at Wayne State University's School of Medicine. “We are facing an additional crisis – mental health issues in healthcare workers due to this enormous pressure, tension, the push to make difficult decisions, feelings of lack of support, lack of protection, long hours, not being with their families, and worry about endangering their families by bringing the infection home.”
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As coronavirus bears down on Michigan, college football coaches brace for the worst

Wayne State University football coach Paul Winters has found a silver lining. The coach may have lost spring practice, but he has already tackled the work he usually reserves for June and July. In some ways, he said, “I will be better prepared for a season than I ever have.” As the novel coronavirus has rocked the country and shut down the sports world, there is growing anxiety within college athletics about the prospect of football not being played in 2020. That uncertainty is palpable in Michigan, and 21 colleges or universities that have NCAA football programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Division II or III were polled about their thoughts on the upcoming season.
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Wayne State University employee studying sociology dies from coronavirus

A Wayne State University employee who was also studying for a degree in sociology died from complications related to the coronavirus, WSU President M. Roy Wilson announced Saturday. Darrin Adams worked at the university for almost six years as a custodian, primarily in Manoogian Hall. “He was one of us, and we all grieve his loss. Darrin leaves behind family and friends, and we keep them in our thoughts as they deal with this unexpected loss. We hope that their grief is assuaged by good memories of a life well lived,” Wilson said.
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Wayne State University Physician Group buys four rapid test units

More instant tests are in the hands of Detroit doctors fighting against the coronavirus pandemic. Wayne State University Physician Group has purchased four new devices that quickly deliver COVID-19 test results. The devices can process a total of 500 tests each day and provide results within an hour. They will be placed in Detroit hospitals so patients who test positive can be isolated immediately. “Once patients have symptoms or they have contracted the virus, the most important thing is access to testing, and the faster we can get the results from testing the better job we will be able to do,” said Dr. Charles Shanley, CEO of Wayne State University Physician Group.
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WSU wins lawsuit filed by University Pediatricians over Medicaid funds

All 11 counts in an 8-month-old lawsuit filed in September against Wayne State University have been dismissed. University Pediatricians, a 220-member private pediatrics group once affiliated with Wayne State that practices at DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan, accused the university of taking nearly $61 million in Medicaid funds. Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens rejected University Pediatrician’s argument. Dr. Herman B. Gray, chair of WSU’s Department of Pediatrics, hailed the judge’s decision to dismiss the case and said Wayne State used public dollars properly. “This is an outstanding decision for Wayne State University, and validates the university’s position that the Medicaid funds were used appropriately,” said Gray. “It has been our position that Wayne State has always acted with honesty and integrity, and that has been supported by this decisive legal victory.”

Local police trying to get COVID-19 testing for officers

A group of doctors is helping test first responders get tested in southeast Michigan, but local law enforcement say it could be beneficial statewide. “We’re very appreciative of what this physician’s group is doing,” said Saginaw Township Police Chief Donald Pussehl. Wayne State University physicians have tested 1,800 first responders in southeast Michigan at no cost. Pussehl, and other first responders to help expand Wayne State’s mobile COVID-19 testing.
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Black people are 40% of COVID-19 deaths in Michigan. What does that mean?

Black people make up over a third of all COVID-19 cases in Michigan, according to data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. While black people make up only about 12% of the state’s population, they make up about 40% of all COVID-19 deaths reported. Jonathan Stillo, an assistant professor of anthropology, works right in the city where the highest concentration of cases and deaths exists – Detroit. Stillo says the pandemic was always going to adversely affect vulnerable populations, which includes impoverished communities. “These racial breakdowns we have here could be used to justify the allocation of resources that could help cities like Detroit, even beyond this COVID crisis,” he said. “Certain people are really suffering right now, and they’re people who have the same right to health and security as anyone else does. Maybe this crisis can highlight that.”
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WSU prevails in lawsuit filed by pediatricians group

ll 11 counts in an 8-month-old lawsuit filed in September against Wayne State University have been dismissed. University Pediatricians, a 220-member private pediatrics group once affiliated with Wayne State that practices at DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan, accused the university of taking nearly $61 million in Medicaid funds. Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens rejected University Pediatrician’s argument. Dr. Herman B. Gray, chair of WSU’s Department of Pediatrics, hailed the judge’s decision to dismiss the case and said Wayne State used public dollars properly. “This is an outstanding decision for Wayne State University, and validates the university’s position that the Medicaid funds were used appropriately,” said Gray. “It has been our position that Wayne State has always acted with honesty and integrity, and that has been supported by this decisive legal victory.”
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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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Michigan medical school, nursing students to get early start in careers to aid in coronavirus outbreak

As the coronavirus outbreak strains Michigan's health care workforce, hospitals and officials are looking to soon-to-be graduates for help. The state's licensing department issued a directive that allows nurses to obtain a temporary license early to help aid in the growing number of coronavirus infections. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order that temporarily suspended the scope of practice laws and allowed doctors and nurses to treat coronavirus patients. Her administration put out a request for nurses and doctors to help staff the 1,000-bed emergency field hospital being constructed inside TCF Center in downtown Detroit. Wayne State University has 72 undergraduates expected to complete the nursing program this semester, spokesman Matt Lockwood said in an email. "Our nursing students are graduating at the usual time, but the new rules from (LARA) will allow them to work on a temporary license while they await their licensing exam," he said. Wayne State has no plans to speed up the graduation of medical students. Citing guidance from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, Lockwood said the intent is "noble" but "problematic." The ACGME said entering unplanned residencies early is a "highly undesirable path" due to potential rule violations and uncertainty applicability of the experience to initial board certification.
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Surge in Detroit COVID-19 patients could lead to rationing, do not resuscitate orders

The Henry Ford Health System has developed a policy officials say they hope to never have to use in which a scarce supply of ventilators would be reserved for patients who have the best chance of getting better. Other hospital systems nationwide are debating whether to order that COVID-19 patients who are dying should not be resuscitated, because the process exposes health personnel and equipment to so much infection they might not be able to help other patients. They add there is a poor chance that many of these patients will survive for very long even if all measures are taken to prolong their live. Lance Gable, a Wayne State University law professor, is an internationally-recognized expert on bioethics, and helped Michigan’s state government develop guidelines for using scare medical resources during a public health emergency. “We are going to have to make some tough decisions about how to best allocate resources,” Gable said.
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A doctor explains why Detroit’s COVID-19 cases are ‘pretty much exploding right now’

Having a coronavirus outbreak in Detroit is like “putting oil to the fire,” says infectious disease specialist Dr. Teena Chopra, who is a professor of internal medicine at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine. The city is set to become on the U.S. hot spots of the pandemic largely due to the city’s higher risk and “socially disadvantaged” population, according to Dr. Chopra, who spoke with As it Happens host Carol Off.
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#CoronaCommencement: How COVID-19 has affected college graduations for the class of 2020

May marks the start of commencement season for many colleges and universities across the country. However, the current coronavirus crisis has put many spring graduations in jeopardy. Wayne State University, Michigan State University, and Michigan Tech have all postponed their spring commencement ceremonies, and the University of Michigan canceled spring commencement exercises across all its campuses. For college seniors, it has been hard to process the crisis.