In the News
The county saw a record 2,121 new cases of Covid-19 from November 11 to November 24, with thirteen deaths reported from November 14 to December 2. But Governor Whitmer’s “Pause to save lives” seems to be helping: new infections and hospitalizations both retreated from their recent peaks this week, with 148 new cases and ten hospitalizations reported on December 2—although the effect of Thanksgiving dinners remains to be seen.
Despite national media reports of a crisis in Covid beds and medical staff, both University Hospital and St. Joseph Mercy Hospital report that they have adequate staff and space. “Our teams at the various hospitals have been planning for the second wave for a long time,” emails St. Joe’s Bobby Maldonado, “and can flex up or down as needed.”
Michigan Medicine tightens restrictions on visitors. To keep patients and staff safe from Covid-19, adult patients may only have visitors for end-of-life care, labor and delivery, and other scenarios listed here. Pediatric patients may still be visited by their primary care providers (for instance, Mom and Dad).
Covid-19 test results are coming back faster. Tests by hospitals and public health departments are reporting in an average of two days in Michigan, while commercial tests are taking an average of three days—greatly improved from delays of several weeks over the summer. State labs have processed close to one million tests in the past two weeks. Click here to locate testing sites by zip code.
Michigan may receive hundreds of thousands of doses of Covid-19 vaccines by mid-December. Pending emergency-use approval, Henry Ford Hospital could get the Pfizer vaccine as soon as December 12, and the Moderna vaccine could be available for distribution by early January. Michigan Radio
Construction has begun on another campus high rise. The 130-unit Vic Village South was approved more than a year ago, and cleared out most of the businesses between Church St. and East University soon afterward. Like all student-targeted projects it faced uncertainty during the pandemic, but now it’s moving forward: on Monday, the eastbound lane of South U was closed for an estimated thirty-month construction period. a2gov.org
Gelman plume spreads through Ann Arbor groundwater carrying dioxane into the Allen Creek drain in the West Park area. Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner Evan Pratt believes polluter Gelman Sciences is violating a consent judgement and may put local homeowners at risk. If high precipitation causes water to leach into West Park area basements, the City will test those basements for dioxane. Mlive
AADL will resume contactless pickup on December 9. MeLCat borrowing is suspended for December and Shelf Service is on hold until further notice. Twenty-four hour, high-speed wifi access points are being installed this month in the parking lots at Malletts Creek, Westgate, Traverwood, and Pittsfield branches. No login required. aadl.org
Since the pandemic hit in March, local nonprofits have been in crisis mode, struggling to meet escalating needs with shrinking budgets. “I fluctuate between optimism and feeling crushed. I'm sure other nonprofits are on the brink of disaster," says Mel Drumm, of the Hands-On Museum. See the Observer’s December feature, “Giving in the Time of Covid,” by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds.