Michigan expands its COVID-19 Response

Michigan expands its COVID-19 Response

Contact: Penny Carroll, 586-842-8424

The Michigan National Guard (MING) is expanding its COVID-19 response force for vaccination and testing efforts across the state. Almost 300 additional guard members are being deployed to support this mission.

Beginning Jan. 24, 2021, the MING is scheduled to deploy three additional task forces in order to further assist the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and local health departments.  The surge of Soldiers and Airmen will be assigned directly to specific regions of the state including northern Michigan, mid-Michigan, western Michigan and southeast Michigan. The MING is augmenting local health departments, as requested, in administering the vaccination in clinics in their area.

“The availability of a COVID-19 vaccine is exciting as this allows us to go on the offensive against this ruthless disease,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “This will help reduce the risk and safeguard Michiganders during this pandemic.”

Throughout 2020, the men and women of the Michigan National Guard stepped up as trusted professionals time and time again to support their neighbors when called upon.

“As 2021 begins, we are doubling down on our commitment to the safety of Michigan communities by doing everything we can to make this vaccine as accessible as possible,” said Rogers.

The additional fifty COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Teams (CVTT) will create three additional task forces known as Task Force North, Bronco, and Red Lion.  A CVTT is comprised of one medic and two supporting administrative personnel. They will join Task Force Spartan to ensure Michigan health care agencies have the personnel required to deliver the vaccine in their communities.  CVTTs will be supporting individual teams in some locations and setting up entire mass vaccination clinics where requested.

“We are here to help the state where asked,” said Rogers.  “From the city of Detroit to the far reaches of the Upper Peninsula, the Michigan National Guard will continue to assist our communities in this very important mission.”

Michigan has started Phase 1B of their vaccination plan, which includes those over age 65. As more of the population is eligible for vaccines, the need for additional support administering the doses has increased.  As of Jan. 23, 2021 the Michigan National Guard has administered almost 32,000 vaccines to Michiganders.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine.

MDHHS highlight state’s successes in helping families

MDHHS highlight state’s successes in helping families


CONTACT: Bob Wheaton,  517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. – While keeping Michiganders safe from COVID-19 has been Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s No. 1 priority over the past 10 months, successes in ensuring state residents can feed their families during the once-in-a-century pandemic have been almost as important.

Today Gov. Whitmer is highlighting swift actions her administration has taken during the pandemic to provide access to food for residents whose finances have been affected by the coronavirus.

“Our philosophy is that no one should have to worry about putting food on the table for their families – especially during a pandemic,” Whitmer said. “Michiganders need access to nutritious food to keep them healthy so they can succeed in the economy and realize their dreams, and so their children can excel in school and achieve their full potential. I will continue to fight for policies that will improve food security and look forward to working with President Joe Biden and Senator Debbie Stabenow to remove barriers to accessing food assistance.”

Last spring Michigan was the first state to provide food benefits to children who could no longer take advantage of free and reduced-price lunches because they were staying home due to COVID-19. It became one of the first states to deliver increased monthly food assistance to families that were not already receiving maximum monthly benefits for their household sizes. Michigan also took action to prevent people from losing their food assistance during the pandemic, allowed them to use their benefits to buy food online, and provided the benefits to eligible college students enrolled in Career and Technical Education programs through a partnership involving the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth.

As of fiscal year 2019, one in eight Michigan residents received food assistance. Gov. Whitmer’s Michigan COVID Recovery Plan provides more support for families through food assistance so more Michiganders can afford to put food on the table for themselves and their families.

MDHHS’s Economic Stability Administration provides food assistance to low-income households using federal dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The department partners with Community Action Agencies across the state and the Food Bank Council of Michigan to combat food insecurity. MDHHS’s Aging & Adult Services Agency works with local Area Agencies on Aging to address the food needs of Michigan’s aging adults.

“Every day MDHHS staff in local offices from Southeast Michigan to the Upper Peninsula work to provide residents with access to food through SNAP benefits,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “It’s one of the most important things our department does. Our staff stepped up without missing a beat during difficult circumstances and met the increased need for food assistance that was created by the pandemic – even while our employees adjusted to working remotely to keep everyone safe.”

In May, more than 1.5 million Michiganders received more than $263 million in benefits from the Food Assistance Program. That was up from fewer than 1.2 million people who received more than $137 million in February – prior to the first COVID-19 cases being identified in Michigan. As the state’s economy has reopened, the number of people receiving food assistance has dropped to under 1.3 million, but the need is still great.

The Pandemic-EBT program that helped feed nearly 900,000 children who were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches at school accounted for a significant portion of the increase. MDHHS quickly applied for and received federal approval for the program – making Michigan the first state to offer Pandemic-EBT. The benefits were available in March, April, May and June. MDHHS partnered with the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and is awaiting federal approval of renewed Pandemic-EBT benefits.

Other actions that Whitmer and MDHHS took to address food insecurity during COVID-19 include:

  • Starting the Restaurant Meals Program, through which aging adults, residents with disabilities and homeless people can use their food assistance to get hot prepared meals at participating restaurants. The program also helps an industry that has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
  • Forming a Food Security Council that has made recommendations that are being implemented to address food insecurity.
  • Providing home-delivered meals to older adults through Michigan’s aging network. More than 46,000 people received more than 6.4 million home-delivered meals from March through September 2020 – an 8% increase in the number of meals.
  • Providing home-delivered meals to older adults through Michigan’s aging network while congregate dining sites were closed during the pandemic. More than 37,000 congregate meal participants received more than 1.6 million home-delivered meals during fiscal year 2020.
  • Distributing 47,600 quarantine boxes of 20 meals each to adults 60 and over through Area Agencies on Aging, as well as arranging for 115,428 USDA-produced boxes to be distributed to older adult by the local agencies.
  • Distributing 230,000 USDA Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers to allow older adults to get local, fresh fruit and produce.

MDHHS also implemented a 15% increase supported by Whitmer and MDHHS and secured by Sen. Stabenow (D-MI) in the recently enacted Coronavirus Relief Act. This will increase food assistance benefits by $102 per month for a household of four, for six months.

“The COVID19 pandemic brought economic challenges to many Michigan households. Swift government action provided by the Governor’s administration brought emergency relief from the toxic stress of food insecurity,” said Phil Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan.

“At the same time, many who faced food security pre-COVID-19 have become more vulnerable; specifically, older adults, those quarantined or at greater health risk, individuals with disabilities, and those without transportation and/or residing in rural or underserved communities,” he said. “High food insecurity rates also correlate with pronounced racial disparities, in a manner similar to health disparities and COVID-19 health outcomes. By forming commissions and task forces to address these needs, collaborative efforts between state government and community-based organizations, like the Food Bank Council, Governor Whitmer has allowed partnerships to form that will last long after the pandemic is past. There is still much to do to meet the need but the political and personal will is present to address the challenges made plain by the pandemic.”

To apply for food assistance or other public assistance benefits, go to www.Michigan.gov/MIBridges.

Information around the COVID-19 outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

AG Teams up with Uber, Polaris to Raise Awareness on Human Trafficking 

AG Teams up with Uber, Polaris to Raise Awareness on Human Trafficking 

Attorney General Dana Nessel

Media Contacts:

Ryan Jarvi
(c) 517-599-2746

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021

Attorney General Nessel Teams up with Uber, Polaris to Raise Awareness on Human Trafficking

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has teamed up with Uber and nonprofit Polaris, a leading advocacy organization in the fight against human trafficking, to help raise awareness of this global issue.

Through this public awareness campaign, Uber is working to equip all its drivers, delivery people and customers in Michigan with information on how human trafficking may be present in their communities and what people can do to help someone who might be a trafficking victim.

More than 4,000 victims of human trafficking have been identified in Michigan since 2007, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which is operated by Polaris.

“Human trafficking is a violation of human rights impacting millions around the world and this issue is made worse as traffickers exploit the lack of awareness around this often hidden crime,” Nessel said. “I commend Uber for their collaborative efforts to raise awareness within our communities. We each play a role in combatting this issue and it starts with equipping law enforcement, community leaders and the general public, as well, with resources and knowledge to identify and address human trafficking.”

“We are excited to partner with Attorney General Dana Nessel to reinforce our commitment to help raise awareness of this heinous crime,” said Trevor Theunissen, director of public affairs at Uber. “Drivers and delivery people are in a unique position because they have the proximity and context to interact with at-risk individuals through the Uber platform. By providing them resources and education with the help of Polaris and General Nessel, we can help spread awareness and encourage them to take action.”

Click here for more information about how Michigan is addressing human trafficking.

Governor’s Office Ready to Work on COVID Recovery Plan

Governor’s Office Ready to Work on COVID Recovery Plan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic


January 27, 2021

Media Contact: [email protected]


Governor’s Office Ready to Work on Bipartisan COVID Recovery Plan to Support Small Businesses, Get Kids Back in School Safely


LANSING, Mich. – Today, the office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer released the following statement from Communications Director Tiffany Brown:


“We are pleased to see that House Republicans are embracing the key elements of Governor Whitmer’s MI COVID Recovery Plan that prioritizes vaccine distribution, support for small businesses, and getting our kids back in the classroom,” said Communications Director Tiffany Brown. “Governor Whitmer is ready and eager to work with Republicans in the legislature to pass a bipartisan economic recovery plan that supports our small businesses and helps get families back on their feet. It is also crucial that we pass a plan that helps vaccinate our educators and puts more dollars into classrooms so we can get our kids back in school safely while staying focused on protecting public health. This is not the time for partisan games. It’s time to get to work.”


Whitmer Focuses on Finding Common Ground

Whitmer Focuses on Finding Common Ground

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic


January 27, 2021

Media Contact: [email protected]


Governor Whitmer Focuses on Finding Common Ground to Grow Michigan’s Economy in State of the State Address, Urges the Legislature to Pass the MI COVID Recovery Plan

Governor also announces plans to get Michigan Back to Work, protect public health, provide $500 grants to educators, calls for bipartisan action on prescription drugs, local road funding

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Whitmer delivered her third State of the State address, where she announced a series of bold actions to grow our economy and get things done for the people of Michigan. In her speech, the governor announced Michigan Back to Work: her plan to help us grow our economy and get Michiganders back on their feet. Over the next year, the Whitmer Administration will announce initiatives and projects big and small – from tech, mobility and manufacturing growth, to clean energy and road construction. This will protect, grow, and create more good paying jobs.

This year is about fixing the damn road ahead – finding common ground to grow our economy and get families and businesses back on their feet,” said Governor Whitmer. “The Michigan Back to Work plan that I’m announcing today will help us do just that. We will leverage all of the resources of state government to rebuild our economy back better, harnessing every economic tool at our disposal and working with leaders in state government, business, and beyond to create an environment where entrepreneurs can create more good-paying jobs for all Michiganders. This is how we can jumpstart our economy and help families and business owners thrive in our state.”


BIPARTISAN ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Governor Whitmer highlighted a number of bipartisan actions she took with the Republican legislature last year, including signing two bipartisan budgets, creating the bipartisan Michigan Reconnect Program, and passing and signing historic Clean Slate legislation to make Michigan’s criminal justice system more fair.

MI COVID RECOVERY PLAN: Governor Whitmer called on the Michigan Legislature to work with her to pass the Michigan COVID Recovery plan focused on distributing vaccines, getting our kids back on track, supporting small businesses, and jumpstarting our economy. The governor’s plan will support small businesses long after the pandemic is over. The governor’s MI COVID Recovery Plan includes a call on the Michigan Legislature to permanently extend unemployment benefits from 20 weeks to 26 weeks.

FUNDING FOR LOCAL ROADS: Governor Whitmer called on the Michigan legislature to work with her to provide local communities more options to fix local roads and bridges, which has received bipartisan support. Last year, Governor Whitmer announced the Rebuilding Michigan Bonding Plan to create and sustain tens of thousands of jobs and start fixing the damn roads without an increase at the pump. Since then, our hardworking construction workers have completed the I-496 Rebuilding Michigan project in November, with hundreds of more projects on the horizon, Including heavily traveled sections of I-96 in Oakland County, I-69 in Calhoun County and I-94 in Berrien County.

MI CLASSROOM HEROES: The governor announced the MI Classroom Heroes grants of up to $500 each for teachers and support staff. These grants will go out in February, and will help offset some expenses and the extraordinary efforts Michigan’s educators have made throughout the pandemic.

GOOD JOBS FOR MICHIGAN: The governor called on the legislature to pass Good Jobs for Michigan legislation to retain and grow our businesses and create jobs. Pfizer was the first business to utilize Good Jobs for Michigan, and did so to build their sterile drug manufacturing plant and create 450 good-paying jobs in Portage. Passing this legislation will be good for our families, our businesses, and our economy. Let’s get it done.

MI CLEAN WATER: The governor called on the legislature to pass the MI Clean Water plan, a $500 million comprehensive water investment in Michigan’s water infrastructure that she announced last year. MI Clean Water will direct dollars to communities for safe, clean water to residents and expanding green infrastructure, and it supports over 7,500 Michigan jobs.

LOWERING THE COST OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: The bipartisan Prescription Drug Task Force that the governor announced last year has developed a plan to lower prescription drug costs and create more transparency in how drugs are priced. The governor announced that members of her cabinet worked with bipartisan, bicameral members of the legislature to support legislation that requires transparency, holds accountable those profiting from skyrocketing prices, and makes necessary medications affordable for all Michigan families. She called on the legislature to pass this legislation and send it to her desk.

FIXING THE DAMN ROAD AHEAD: The governor announced the “Fixing the Damn Road Ahead” tour to engage with and learn from Michigan voters – whether they’re Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. She will engage with people across the state to focus on what unites us, improve how we talk to each other, and fix the damn road ahead.

Governor Whitmer has spent her two years in office working around the clock to protect public health, save lives, and get things done for the people of Michigan. She’s committed to continue that work to end the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all, grow our economy, and get families and businesses back on their feet.

To view the governor’s full State of the State address, quotes from the speech, fact sheets on each of her policy proposals, and information on her special guests, please visit Michigan.gov/MISOTS21.

Please see below for photos from the governor’s State of the State Address: