First mosquito-borne virus of 2022 detected

First mosquito-borne virus of 2022 detected

MDHHS banner with logo no names

Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 23, 2022

CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, WuthC@michigan.gov

First mosquito-borne virus of 2022 detected in Michigan mosquitoes
Residents urged to protect against mosquito bites

LANSING, Mich. – Mosquitoes recently collected in Bay County have tested positive for Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV) at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Laboratories (MDHHS BOL). These are the first infected mosquito pools detected for 2022. Residents are reminded that the best way to protect themselves against JCV and other mosquito-borne illnesses, including Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV), is to prevent mosquito bites.

Every summer in Michigan, bites from mosquitoes carry the risk of spreading diseases to people and animals. JCV sickened six Michiganders in 2021. Also reported last year were 46 cases of WNV and one case of EEE. Seven of the WNV cases resulted in death.

The JCV virus is spread to people through bites from infected mosquitoes. Most cases occur from late spring through mid-fall. Illness can develop within a few days to two weeks following a bite from an infected mosquito. While most people do not become ill, initial symptoms can include fever, headache and fatigue. In rare cases, it can cause severe disease in the brain and/or spinal cord including encephalitis and meningitis.

“It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “We urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors, avoiding areas where mosquitoes are present if possible, and wearing clothing to cover arms and legs to prevent bites.”

While the JCV is found throughout much of the U.S., cases have been increasing in the Midwest. This likely reflects increased awareness and testing, but may also be due to an increase in the presence of the virus in the environment. This is the second year that the MDHHS BOL is offering virus testing of mosquito pools collected by local health departments and county mosquito control programs. Testing is offered to improve detection and notification of mosquito-borne viruses.

JCV can be spread by mosquitoes that become infected when they feed on deer or other animals that have the virus in their blood. Infected mosquitoes spread the virus to other animals or people through bites. Arboviruses including WNV and EEE spread when mosquitoes contract the virus from biting infected birds then biting a human.

Residents can stay healthy by using simple, effective strategies to protect themselves and their families. The following steps are recommended to avoid mosquito-borne diseases:

  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA-approved products to exposed skin or clothing. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/EmergingDiseases.

Ages 6 months through 4 years eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

Ages 6 months through 4 years eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

MDHHS banner with logo no names

Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 21, 2022

CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, WuthC@michigan.gov

Children ages 6 months through 4 years now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine
Pfizer vaccine, which was already authorized for ages 5 and up, is now authorized down to 6 months of age; Moderna vaccine is now authorized for 6 months through 5 years.

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announces that all Michiganders ages 6 months and up are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. The pediatric vaccine, which received emergency use authorization for this age group from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), was recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on June 18, 2022.

“Today parents of young children can breathe a sigh of relief as Michiganders 6 months and up are eligible to get their safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Parents have been patiently waiting for a vaccine for younger children for years, and now we are ready to help our little ones get the best protection. I am grateful to every Michigander who has gotten their COVID vaccine, taking action to keep themselves, and all our friends, families and neighbors safe. I urge parents to get their children vaccinated so they can enjoy their summer and get ready for the fall, knowing they are protected.”

MDHHS is recommending providers begin vaccinating children ages 6 months and up as soon as possible. It is anticipated that both vaccines could be available as early as today. The Moderna series is two doses given 28 days apart for ages 6 months through 5 years. For children 6 months of age through 4 years, the Pfizer series is three doses, the first two given three weeks apart and the third dose administered at least eight weeks after the second dose. For ages 5 and older, the Pfizer series is two doses given 21 days apart.

“Being able to vaccinate children ages 6 months and up with safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a significant milestone that brings us hope and protects our littlest Michiganders,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “These vaccines are incredibly effective in preventing severe illness, disease and hospitalizations. Even healthy children can suffer serious affects from COVID-19, not just those with underlying conditions. We recommend parents and guardians talk to their child’s medical provider or their local health department about the pediatric vaccine and how it offers protection.”

More than 500,000 Michigan children under the age of 5 will now be eligible to receive the vaccine. MDHHS recommends all eligible children get vaccinated and stay up-to-date on vaccines even if they have previously had COVID-19. Children younger than 5 can receive vaccine from a primary care provider, local health department or federally qualified health center. Some pharmacies will vaccinate ages 3 and up. Visit Vaccines.gov for nearby vaccine locations – age specific information will soon be available.

“We are extremely grateful to now be able to vaccinate nearly all residents in our state,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “It is important to get children ages 6 months and up vaccinated as quickly as possible to save even more lives and reduce serious illness across our communities, and we want to remind everyone to get boosted if they are eligible. Getting the safe and effective vaccine is an effort that every eligible Michigan resident can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. Working together we can help keep our families safe and healthy.”

In Michigan, there have been more than 427,000 confirmed COVID cases in those age 19 and younger, and 44 deaths have been reported in ages 0 to 19 as of June 15.

“As a mother, pediatrician, and internist I have seen first-hand the disrupting effects of COVID-19 on our daily lives, even when patients do not end up in the hospital,” said Dr. Amy Hepper, Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Michigan Medicine. “I am very excited that this new phase of COVID-19 vaccine approvals for our littlest patients will allow children and their families to continue to return to normal with less disruptions to school, work and family life. These vaccines have been in use for the past 18 months in larger doses for older children and adults. I am confident that they are safe and effective with no long-term effects, and I have already begun recommending them to my patients.”

Vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19. To date, more than 6.7 million Michiganders have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Michigan residents seeking more information about the COVID-19 vaccine can visit Michigan.gov/COVIDvaccine.

For the latest information is available visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Tips and tricks to stay healthy during heat waves

Tips and tricks to stay healthy during heat waves

MDHHS banner with logo no names

Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 14, 2022

CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, WuthC@michigan.gov

MDHHS offers tips and tricks to stay healthy during heat waves

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is urging Michigan residents to take steps to protect themselves from risks related to hot weather.

MDHHS routinely reviews emergency department (ED) data for heat-related illness. As daily temperatures rise above 80 degrees, ED visits for heat-related illness tend to increase. This is often more likely early in the summer season as people are not yet used to high temperatures and are not taking the necessary precautions.

“Michigan residents can take steps to protect themselves from heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “Young children, older adults and those who have medical conditions are at increased risk for heat-related illness, so be sure to check frequently on them and others in your community who may need additional assistance. Limit time in heat, stay hydrated, avoid direct sunlight and find somewhere with air conditioning or take cool showers. Text or call 211 or contact your local health department to locate a cooling center in your area.”

When it is very hot, there is an increased risk of heat-related illness because the body’s temperature rises and cannot be cooled by sweating or the other ways the body cools itself. The most severe heat-related illnesses are heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If not treated, heat exhaustion can worsen and cause heat stroke or death.

To prevent complications from the heat, residents are encouraged to:

  • Drink more fluids and avoid liquids with large amounts of sugar or alcohol.
  • Limit outdoor activities to when it is coolest in the morning and evening.
  • Spend time indoors in air conditioning.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Wear sunscreen, as sunburn affects a body’s ability to cool down.
  • Check on elderly neighbors and relatives to determine if they need assistance.

For those without access to air conditioning, text or call Michigan 211 or contact your local health department to find out if there is a cooling center nearby. You can also spend some time at an air-conditioned store, shopping mall or other public building – even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help.

In addition to staying hydrated and out of the sun, residents are reminded to never leave children or pets alone in a car even with windows cracked. Temperatures inside a car can easily be double the temperature outside. Because a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult they are more susceptible to heatstroke.

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are both forms of heat-related illness. Signs of heat-related illness vary but may include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Tiredness

Heatstroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature and can result in death if not treated promptly. Humidity can make temperatures feel even hotter and further stress the body’s ability to self-regulate. If you suspect someone has heatstroke, call 911 for immediate medical help and try to cool the person down.

For more information about how to protect yourself and your loved ones from heat-related illness, see the MDHHS Heat Awareness and Safety Fact Sheet, or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

MDHHS seeks proposals for children who are crime victims

MDHHS seeks proposals for children who are crime victims

MDHHS banner with logo no names

Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 9, 2022 

CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112, WheatonB@michigan.gov

MDHHS seeks proposals to provide supervised visitation and safe exchange services for children who are crime victims

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Division of Victim Services is seeking proposals from organizations that can assist with visitation between parents and children.

Proposals are for providing supervised visitation and safe visitation exchange for children with parents in situations involving domestic or dating violence, child abuse, sexual assault or stalking.

Eligible applicants include federally recognized Native American tribes and 501(c)(3) nonprofits, including faith-based organizations.

This request for proposals is open only to Supervised Visitation and Safe Exchange programs to expand and enhance existing services. Examples of how this can be accomplished include offering a second location, employing bilingual monitors and increasing services hours by providing additional evening and weekend hours.

The award period is Oct. 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2023. MDHHS anticipates issuing up to five awards with a maximum of $250,000 possible for a single award.

Grant applications must be submitted electronically through the EGrAMS program by 3 p.m., Wednesday, July 20.

For more information or to apply, visit the EGrAMS website and select the “About EGrAMS” link in the left panel to access the “Competitive Application Instructions” training manual. The complete request for proposals can be accessed under the “Current Grants” section under the “Bureau of Community Services” link and by selecting the “SUPVS-2023” grant program.

Age-Friendly Action Plan approved by Gov. Whitmer

Age-Friendly Action Plan approved by Gov. Whitmer

MDHHS banner with logo no names

Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 9, 2022 

MDHHS CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-211, WheatonB@michigan.gov

AARP CONTACT: Cathleen Simlar, 248-472-7836, CSimlar@aarp.org

Michigan’s Age-Friendly Action Plan approved by Gov. Whitmer

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) have approved and submitted Michigan’s Age-Friendly Action Plan to AARP.

This plan was the culmination of more than a year of collaboration with AARP and MDHHS’s Behavioral and Physical Health and Aging Services Administration to craft a comprehensive strategy to help Michigan’s older residents live well and safely in their communities.

Michigan’s plan can be found on the AARP website.

The plan follows Michigan’s designation in October 2019 as an AARP Age-Friendly State, the first step in a multi-year process to make Michigan more livable for people of every age. Michigan was the first state in the Midwest to join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. So far, eight municipalities in Michigan – Auburn Hills, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Lansing, Novi, Royal Oak and Southfield – have joined the Age-Friendly community network and many more are in the planning stages.

“One of MDHHS’s priorities is to ensure that Michiganders can age in their homes and communities for as long as possible while continuing to contribute to the economy and live healthy lives,” said Farah Hanley, MDHHS chief deputy director for health. “The Age-Friendly Plan will help us accomplish this important goal.”

Michigan’s residents 60 and older make up roughly a quarter of the state’s population.

Under the plan, Michigan’s Age-Friendly work will focus on six areas:

  1. Community and Information – Expand the reach of information and awareness of aging network services, ensuring all older adults and caregivers can access culturally and linguistically appropriate quality services where and when they need them.
  2. Respect and Social Inclusion – Prioritize resources to promote social interaction and connectedness, including expanding access to technology and transportation.
  3. Social Participation – Increase the number of aging network services that can be offered virtually, like Personal Action Toward Health and support groups.
  4. Transportation – Ensure older adults and caregivers have transportation options that meet their needs in their communities.
  5. Community and Health Services – Increase the number of well-trained, qualified and supportive multicultural direct care workers through collaboration by elevating the workforce, improving retention, promoting its collective value and supporting opportunities to increase wages.
  6. Elder Abuse & Exploitation – Leverage services and resources to ensure older adults have access to programs and services they need to make their own decisions to enable them to age in place.

According to AARP, Michigan’s Age-Friendly Action Plan is the blueprint needed to help adults 50 and older remain in their homes and communities for the long-term.

“We know from a recent AARP survey that 77% of older adults want to age in place, and there’s no doubt helping them do so makes sense for everyone,” said AARP Michigan Director Paula D. Cunningham. “Older residents earn money, pay taxes and purchase many goods and services, particularly locally. An age-friendly state sustains not only the individual but our communities, and that will become even more critical in just six short years when Michigan will have more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 18 for the first time in our history.”

Michigan will now turn to implementing the recommendations and working with local partners alongside AARP to encourage age-friendly initiatives in all parts of the state.

MDHHS seeks proposals for children who are crime victims

MDHHS and GetSetUp renew partnership

MDHHS banner with logo no names

Press Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 7, 2022 

MDHHS CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112, WheatonB@michigan.gov

GETSETUP CONTACT: Liz Miller, 888-559-1614, press@getsetup.io

MDHHS and GetSetUp renew partnership and expand to Library of Michigan to continue reducing isolation for older adults

LANSING, Mich. – GetSetUp, an interactive learning community where older adults better their lives through the pursuit of learning, has renewed its partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

The partnership with MDHHS’s Behavioral and Physical Health and Aging Services Administration has been so effective that the state is expanding free access to the program through 2023 and increasing access through an agreement with the Library of Michigan and its 400 branches around the state. Library patrons can access GetSetUp from public access computers, or they can log on through their library’s website and direct questions to library staff.

GetSetUp’s initial partnership with MDHHS reduced isolation and loneliness by making its services available to the 2.4 million older adults in Michigan. That included reaching 108,000 older adult learners in the first year who enjoyed classes and discussions on a variety of topics such as healthy aging, fitness, photography, technology and mental well-being.

GetSetUp offers real-time, engaging learning experiences that range from teaching everyday technical skills to enrichment-focused courses taught by expert instructors. Since starting the partnership with Michigan in 2020, GetSetUp has expanded to more than 4,500 classes. It offers classes 24 hours per day in languages such as English, Spanish, Hindi and Mandarin, with instructors and participants from all over the world. Its custom-designed video platform was made specifically for older adults to easily learn new skills and connect with a trusted community. 

“With over 40% of Michigan older adults living alone across a diverse geography and in rural areas, social isolation and loneliness are critical problems we are taking proactive steps to address,” said Farah Hanley, chief deputy director for health at MDHHS.

“GetSetUp is a key part of our solution, helping older adults overcome their fears and reluctance to learn technology, providing safe socialization opportunities, and creating a sense of purpose through learning that improves mood and mental health,” Hanley said. “We are excited to extend our partnership with GetSetUp through 2023.”

GetSetUp’s model of community-based classes taught by experts – who are older adults themselves – has helped older adults become more comfortable with technology so they can now access state-provided services and manage their own health and wellness. They’ve also explored their creative sides and shared their knowledge with others. Michigan community members who are participating are spending on average two to 10 hours a week on GetSetUp. Dozens of Michiganders have become active ambassadors who host their own interest groups on topics that matter to them, including Dealing with Diabetes, Meatless Recipes and more. Several Michiganders have even become paid guides on the platform, serving as a model and inspiration for expanding peoples’ economic opportunities. 

“We are thrilled to be continuing to partner with MDHHS and expanding to include the Library of Michigan and its branches,” said Lawrence Kosick, president and co-founder at GetSetUp.“We admire how dedicated to meeting the needs of their older adults the State of Michigan has been and the support they have fostered in scaling GetSetUp’s life-long learning offerings to their older adult community. We look forward to reaching even more Michiganders to assure that they, too, have the opportunity to stay active and engaged and reimagine themselves at any age in a safe, fun and interactive way.” 

About GetSetUp

GetSetUp is on a mission to help those over 55 learn new skills, connect with others, and unlock new life experiences. The social learning platform helps more than 4.6 million older adults in 160 countries stay mentally and physically fit, creates economic opportunities through jobs and reskilling, and provides a community where people find meaning and purpose by sharing their knowledge and passions and forming new connections. Classes are taught by older adults on a highly interactive, custom-built video platform where older adults can connect during and in between classes. Learn more at www.getsetup.io/michigan