FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2020
Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Directive Recognizing and Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis, Creates the Black Leadership Advisory Council
MDHHS also announced their Equity Impact Assessment Process
LASNING, Mich. — Today Governor Gretchen took action to elevate Black voices in state government, signing Executive Order 2020-163, which creates the Black Leadership Advisory Council. The governor also signed Executive Directive 2020-9, recognizing racism as a public health crisis and taking initial steps to address it within state government. Under the Executive Directive, the governor asked MDHHS to make health equity a major goal, as well as required implicit bias training for all state employees.
“Since I was sworn in as governor, I have made it a top priority to include more people of color, more women, and more members of the LGBTQ+ community at the table. We’ve been able to build a more inclusive state government, but there is more work to do. That’s why today, I am proud to create the Black Leadership Advisory Council of Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer. “We must confront systemic racism head on so we can create a more equitable and just Michigan. This is not about one party or person. I hope we can continue to work towards building a more inclusive and unbiased state that works for everyone.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed, confirmed, and highlighted the deadly nature of pre-existing inequities caused by systemic racism. For example, in cases where race and ethnicity is known, the rate of reported COVID-19 cases for Black/African American Michigan residents is 14,703 per 1,000,000, compared with 4,160 per 1,000,000 for white residents, more than three times higher. And the rate of reported COVID-19 deaths for Black/African American Michigan residents is 1,624 per 1,000,000 compared with 399 per 1,000,000 for White residents, more than four times higher.
“These past several months have been difficult for all of us, but they have been especially tough for Black and Brown people who for generations have battled the harms caused by a system steeped in persistent inequalities. These are the same inequities that have motivated so many Americans of every background to confront the legacy of systemic racism that has been a stain on our state and nation from the beginning,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “That is why, today, we take the much-needed and long-overdue step of recognizing racism as a public health crisis. It is only after we have fully defined the injustice that we can begin to take steps to replace it with a greater system of justice that enables all Michiganders to pursue their fullest dreams and potential.”
The Black Leadership Advisory Council will be included among a set of diverse ethnic commissions within the state of Michigan. Although African Americans are the largest racial minority in the state, this Council is the first of its kind in Michigan to elevate Black leaders and representatives.
The Council will act in an advisory capacity to the governor and develop, review, and recommend policies and actions designed to eradicate and prevent discrimination and racial inequity in Michigan. To accomplish this goal, the Council is charged with:
“During my time as a state legislator, it has struck me as odd that no ethnic commission existed for Michigan’s largest minority population in our state — the Black community. Working with a diverse group of people from across our diaspora, my colleagues and I last month introduced Senate Bill 1034 to create such a commission housed within the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, but it was sadly sent to the Senate Committee on Government Operations to languish,” Senator Erika Geiss said. “Governor Whitmer recognizes the importance of this issue as well and has taken executive action to create the Black Leadership Advisory Council, which I am proud to support. I look forward to seeing this commission come to fruition and ensuring its statutory status as with other ethnic commissions, so that our state can continue to tackle the issues that impact our Black brothers and sisters long into the future.”
Housed within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, the Black Leadership Advisory Council will consist of 16 voting members representing Black leadership in economics, public policy, health and wellness, technology, the environment, agriculture, arts and culture, and more. It will also product an annual report on its activities.
“These actions outlined today by Governor Whitmer will have a transformative impact on our state. We are blessed to have a governor who is willing to hear us, march with us, and use her office to build a better, more equal world.” Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley.
The negative impacts of racism have put the lives of countless people of color at risk. To this day, racism perpetuates inequitable outcomes in the criminal justice system, achievement gaps in education, disproportionate results in health and infant mortality, and job and housing discrimination. Governor Whitmer joined the American Public Health Association, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American College of Emergency Physicians in declaring institutional racism an urgent public health issue.
Executive Directive 2020-9 directs MDHHS to work with other state departments to examine data, develop and plan policies, and engage, communicate and advocate for communities of color. The governor has directed that all state employees be required to take implicit bias training to understand the unconscious preferences we experience without intentional control and how it can impact others. The training is required for existing employees and must be completed within 60 days for newly hired employees.
“Implicit, unconscious bias exists within each of us, and as public servants we have a duty to understand how our bias can impact the lives of others,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am committed to leading by example and making sure state government is a model for equality, understanding, and fairness.”
Under Executive Directive 2020-9, data documenting differences in health outcomes among racial and ethnic groups in Michigan must be collected, analyzed, and made publicly available to help leaders implement equitable policies. Additionally, departments must understand how racial disparities in societal, environmental, and behavioral factors intersect to affect access to resources like good jobs, access to healthy and affordable food and housing, equitable transportation options, and quality public education.
The Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities will work in partnership with departments to develop a plan that details how Michigan will eliminate the root causes of the inequities that cause disparities in health outcomes for our residents.
MDHHS has introduced an Equity Impact Assessment (EIA) tool to help prevent implicit bias from affecting the policies and practices the department develops to serve the community. The EIA guides leaders to think through the full implications of their decisions on minority populations and is proven to decrease systematic disparities and inequities in marginalized populations.
To apply to the Black Leadership Advisory Council visit Michigan.gov/appointments and click “Black Leaders Advisory Council” from the drop menu of the application. Applications are due by Wednesday, August 19th.
To view video, click the link below:
To view Executive Order 2020-163 and Executive Directive 2020-9, click the link below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2020
Gov. Whitmer Lowers Flags to Honor Michigan State Police Trooper Caleb Starr
LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol Complex and upon all public buildings and grounds across the state of Michigan to be lowered to half-staff on Thursday, August 6, 2020, to honor the life and service of Michigan State Police Trooper Caleb Starr, who passed away after being struck by a drunk driver while on-duty.
“Trooper Caleb Starr’s passing is a devastating loss for the Michigan State Police and the entire state of Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer. “He embodied the leadership and record of service that we look for in great public servants. I want to offer my sincere condolences to his wife, Rachael, and their two young daughters. ”
Trooper Starr joined the Michigan State Police in September of 2018, as a member of the 135th Trooper Recruit School.
The crash occurred in Boston Township in Ionia County on July 10 shortly before 10 p.m. Trooper Starr was westbound on Grand River Avenue in his patrol vehicle when a vehicle traveling east, driven by a 28-year-old woman from Utah, crossed the centerline. He was flown by medical helicopter to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, where he was being treated until he passed away on July 31. Charges are pending against the female driver.
Trooper Starr was 33 years old. He is survived by his wife, Rachael, who is a civilian member of the MSP, and their two young daughters.
The State of Michigan recognizes the duty, honor and selfless service of Trooper Caleb Starr by lowering flags to half-staff. Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations also are encouraged to display the flag at half-staff.
To lower flags to half-staff, flags should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The process is reversed before the flag is lowered for the day.
Flags should be returned to full-staff on Friday, August 7, 2020.
Virtual Session Is August 12 For Oakland County Manufacturers Interested In PPE Resilience Grant Program
Pontiac, Michigan – Oakland County manufacturers are encouraged to participate in a virtual information session to see if they qualify for grants to purchase Industry 4.0 state-of-the art digital technologies and become part of the county’s distributive manufacturing network.
The session, set for August 12 at 11 a.m., is offered by Oakland County and Automation Alley to qualified small and medium-size manufacturers. The program goal is to build a product independence pipeline with up to 300 of the county’s small and medium-sized manufacturers. These manufacturers would help fight the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics without having to rely on other countries to produce critical personal protective equipment (PPE) for our health care workers, hospitals, first responders and residents.
“There is an urgent need to move these companies into digital manufacturing quickly,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. “Our companies need to be nimble and responsive as digital-ready sources of essential manufactured PPE as well as being prepared for future disruptions.”
Oakland and Macomb Counties, in partnership with Automation Alley, announced the program in June. The Industry 4.0 PPE Resilience Grants Program is funded by $10 million from Oakland County and $2 million from Macomb County.
The 45-minute session will be led by Sean Carlson, deputy Oakland County executive, and Tom Kelly, Automation Alley executive director and chief executive officer.
Interested manufacturers can register for the no cost virtual session at https://members.automationalley.com/events/details/virtual-info-session-ppe-resilience-grant-program-for-oakland-manufacturers-15027.
A separate virtual session will be held for Macomb manufacturers on August 26 at 11 a.m.
MDHHS encourages Medicaid providers to apply for federal COVID-19 relief dollars now available
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:July 31, 2020
CONTACT: Bob Wheaton, 517-241-2112
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is urging Medicaid providers that are struggling financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for federal funds intended to assist them.
The deadline to apply for Provider Relief Fund dollars from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration is Aug. 28. The federal administration extended that deadline after receiving a relatively low response rate from Medicaid providers who were earlier notified by the federal government and in Michigan by MDHHS’s Medical Services Administration.
This funding is available from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It must cover lost revenue attributable to COVID-19 or health-related expenses on purchases to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
“Our Medicaid partners provide critical health care coverage to Michiganders and have continued to do so during the pandemic,” said Kate Massey, director of MDHHS’s Medical Services Administration. “They took a financial hit when many medical appointments were cancelled as a result of COVID-19. These federal dollars are available to help providers so that they can continue to assist Medicaid beneficiaries.”
Medicaid providers can find more information about eligibility and apply on the U.S. Health and Human Services Provider Relief Fund website.
|DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.|
Increase In COVID-19 Cases In South Lyon And Fenton Region
Pontiac, Michigan –Oakland County Health Division, Livingston County Health Department and Genesee County Health Department report a steep increase in COVID-19 cases in the South Lyon and Fenton areas since mid-July among individuals 15 – 19 years-old. Some of the cases reported attending large indoor and outdoor gatherings, including graduation parties and prom like events, during July.
“We need parents and young people in our community to recognize the risk they take to their own health and that of their family and friends when attending gatherings without taking precautions,” Leigh-Anne Stafford, Health Officer, Oakland County Health Division said. “We can work together across our communities to contain the spread and I urge parents to be aware of activities your kids attend.”
“When attending both indoor and outdoor gatherings, it is important to stay six feet from others and wear a mask,” Dianne McCormick, Health Officer, Livingston County health Department said. “Socializing responsibly could help quickly turn things around.”
“When individuals cooperate with Health Departments to complete contract tracing and case investigations, it goes a long way to stopping the spread of COVID-19,”John McKellar, Health Officer, Genesee County health Department said. “No one wants to be the one who spreads COVID-19 to someone who becomes very ill or dies.”
Preliminary information indicates a significant increase in cases among high school age students and those numbers could change as case investigation continues in the three counties. In Oakland County, COVID-19 cases among 15 – 19-year-olds in the South Lyon area increased from three cases during late-June to mid-July to 42 from mid-July to early August. Similar trends for this age group have been observed Countywide in Livingston and Genesee counties. For Livingston County, cases increased from three cases during late-June to mid-July to 19 from mid-July to early August and in Genesee County, cases increased from 19 during late-June to mid-July to 94 from mid-July to early August.
The three health departments are conducting case investigations to identify individuals who have potentially been exposed. Initial information has determined that 15 – 19-year-olds from Oakland Livingston and Genesee attended at least six large gatherings.
If you attended a large gathering in the South Lyon and/or Fenton area during mid to late July and you think you are developing any of the symptoms of COVID-19 described below, call your physician or local health department. People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms from mild to severe. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
If you are considering attending an indoor or outdoor event, take precautions by:
- Maintaining six feet social distance from those outside your household
- Wearing a face covering when you cannot stay six feet from others
- Washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Staying home when sick
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The spread of COVID-19 can be reduced with cloth face coverings, social distancing, and staying home when sick except to get medical care.
For more information on COVID-19, for Oakland County visit www.oakgov.com/covid. Contact Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. with health-related questions. For all other COVID-19 questions, contact the COVID-19 Help Hotline at 248-858-1000 or email@example.com. For up-to-date public health information, follow @publichealthOC on Facebook and Twitter. For Livingston County, call 517-546-9850, email: COVID19@livgov.com or visit https://www.livgov.com/health/ph/Pages/COVID19.aspx. For Genesee County call 810-424-4443 or visit www.gchd.us.
Oakland County: Bill Mullan, Oakland County Media and Communications Officer, 248-858-1048
Livingston County: Natasha Radke, Public Information Officer, 517-546-9850
Genesee County: Suzanne Cupal, Public Information Officer, 810-768-7970