A Run On Tests For Senators After One Member Positive For COVID

Word that Sen. Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) tested positive for COVID-19 on July 31 has led to a run on tests in the upper chamber.

Five days earlier, Barrett was with Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), on a district exchange program that included a student-less Pershing High School as part of their Motown visit. Hollier then visited Barrett’s district. Barrett says they both wore masks the entire time.

Hollier, whose wife is pregnant, tested negative for the virus Aug 3.

Others who have reportedly been tested include Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), Sen. Betty Jean Alexander (D-Detroit) and Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor).

Sen. Peter Lulido (R-Shelby Twp.), at the urging of his wife, was slated for a test Aug. 4. During last week’s Judiciary and Public Safety Committee hearing on July 30, Lucido sat two seats away from Barrett.

“Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington) sat between us and that’s a pretty big buffer to have,” Lucido joked.

VanderWall said he had already been tested Aug. 3 and he expected to have the results back Aug. 4.

Sen. Ruth Johnson (R-Holly) had just got off the phone with her doctor when MIRS called. She will be tested as soon as possible. Several senators who were in that Judiciary Committee meeting then attended Johnson’s Elections Committee later in the day.

Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing) was tested Aug. 3 with results expected Aug. 4. He reports no symptoms, and neither do Lucido or Johnson.

Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), who also was in that Judiciary Committee meeting with Barrett, got tested July 30, “prompted by something else.” The test was negative.

Chang said, “we’re all hoping that Sen. Barrett recovers well and thoroughly.”

Barrett said he had been having a little bit of “mild fatigue,” but was tested in preparation for upcoming annual National Guard training exercises, to be held in Alpena this year.

“I felt a little bit under the weather on (July 29) and I got my temperature checked, and I didn’t have any of the COVID-type symptoms, so I felt that once I had done a screening and got my temperature checked, I thought I was OK,” Barrett told MIRS.

He was notified Aug. 2 that the test taken July 31 had shown positive.

“I have been going back as much as I can to notify as many people as possible, and I’m sure there are people that I am not going to remember talking to or that I may have passed in the grocery store picking out produce and we had no way of knowing who each other was,” Barrett said.

He said he thought the National Guard did a good job of separating people as they were conducting the testing, so he did not think there was much risk of exposure there.

In the Senate, and in daily life, Barrett said he tries to wear a mask, follow the appropriate protocols, and be respectful of others.

“We are doing our best. I took reasonable protocols and precautions. I don’t live my life in fear or panic. I try to be precautionary in what I do and I ended up having this positive test and we are trying to do our best to respond in the responsible way,” he said.

Barrett said he believes the precautions and protocols put in place in the Senate have been appropriate, and he can’t think of any areas where they could be increased.

“I have tried my best to wear my mask when I am not by myself in my own office, for example. But I have also had meals in my office with other people and have certainly taken my mask off to eat and drink, whatever. I would not say that I have been somebody who has been reckless. I try to be respectful of other people around me. I’ve worn a mask when I go out in public, when I go to the grocery store, when I’m in session in the Senate, when I’m committee. Certainly, when I’m speaking I take my mask off and then I try to put it back on when I’m done,” Barrett said.

He participated in an Unlock Michigan petition signing in Sharp Park July 18, but Barrett said the event was so much earlier than his test result that he sees little likelihood he could have been contagious at the time or that he could have contracted the disease then.

“We were not in an indoor, crowded environment or anything like that with people gathering close together. We were outdoors at a public park, so I don’t think there’s any risk, and it was so long before the test that came back positive that I just don’t see any correlation with that,” Barrett said. “People will want to make that connection, I’m sure, but, no, I don’t see any plausible connection there.”

And Barrett is not backing down from his criticisms of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer leveled in that event. He estimates 580 came through during the course of the day to sign the petition.

“People have somehow suggested that this negates my criticism of the governor. I think there is a big difference between me testing positive for COVID and somehow a viewpoint of how we govern our state and whether or not we should place all political control under one person. If people want to suggest that I don’t have a valid policy position simply because I tested positive for COVID, I think that’s a pretty stupid argument to make,” Barrett said.

All committee meetings in the Senate and House have been canceled for this week, as have a session day in both chambers. A meet-and-greet with winning Republican state House candidates also has been scrubbed.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) issued a statement urging members to get tested.

“Our immediate focus is on notification to all senators and staff. We will evaluate the need for changes to the legislative calendar in the coming days,” Shirkey said.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) issued a statement saying the House Business Office will explain local testing options available to members and staff.

The House has taken action to encourage flexible remote work options, change voting procedures to encourage social distancing, and expanded cleaning. Those procedures will remain in place to protect members and staff, he said.

Gov Vetoes Mandatory Separate COVID-19 Treatment Centers

Legislation requiring the state to set up at least one physically separate facility to treat COVID-19 patients in each of the state’s eight health care regions was vetoed today by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who dedicated a full page to outline the “inadequacy” of the bill.

Sen. Pete Lucido’s’s (R-Shelby Twp.) SB 0956 rapidly moved through the Legislature when Republican legislators discovered roughly one-third of the state’s COVID-19 deaths were coming from nursing homes and COVID-19 patients were being put into nursing homes with relatively healthy, but elderly, residents.

More than 69 percent of Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths being those 70 and older, putting this elderly population most at risk of succumbing to the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The thought was that if the governor could hurriedly put up field hospitals within the TCF Center and Novi’s civic center, other facilities could be outfitted to treat COVID-19 patients as quickly.

The governor wrote, however, the bill is based on a “false premise” that the current isolation units where COVID-19 patients are being treated aren’t doing the job. She also questioned the wisdom of moving frail, elderly people to new facilities without doctor approval or family notification.

SB 0956 also doesn’t explain how the new facilities would be staffed or paid for. It also doesn’t explain how these frail residents would be protected “during the potentially traumatic transfer from one facility to another,” Whitmer wrote.

The Michigan Senior Advocates Council asked Whitmer to veto the bill because its Sept. 1 deadline by which the Department of Health and Human Services would need to act by is “unrealistic.”

“SB 0956 is nothing more than a political game . . . It’s time for the Republican Legislature to get serious about protecting our most vulnerable and addressing the public health and economic crisis faced by our state,” Whitmer said.

Lucido said in response, “This is a tragic, tragic day for those vulnerable people in these facilities.

“This is a sad day for those who can’t take care of themselves,” he said, adding that other states have changed their policies on treating elderly COVID patients to something closer to his proposal.

The Macomb County legislator said he is going to push for a veto override. Testimony in legislative committees showed the facilities do exist to create separate COVID-19 treatment hubs, he said. Contracts can be signed quickly. Staff exists to treat these patients, Lucido said.

“She didn’t use common sense based on the number of deaths that have occurred,” he added. “This makes no sense at all.”

Top 5 Things Sen. Peters Wants In Next Coronavirus Relief Package

Emergency money for schools, state and local governments and additional COVID-19 testing is on the top of the priority list for a potential fifth coronavirus relief package that may pass Congress before the Aug. 10 break in the mind of U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.).

The first-term senator, talking to a handful of reporters after casting his primary election absentee ballot, said Traverse City residents aren’t finding out their results to COVID-19 tests for six days. In Grand Rapids, results can take between four and 10 days.

“That’s simply unacceptable,” Peters said. “We have to speed up the delivery of these tasks. We’ve got to provide resources to do that. We can’t deal with the economic crisis until we deal with the public health crisis.”

Traditional schools will need additional money to provide online instruction this fall, Peters said.

Also: “Michigan is in really tough shape financially, as well as local units of government. We need to provide resources to state and local governments.”

Peters added that small business need to get the resources to survive, which means another round of the Paycheck Protection Program, and an extension of the $600-a-week premium payment for the unemployed. The extra money will no longer be in the unemployment check of an estimated 500,000 unemployed Michigan workers.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell left state and local government relief out of the Republican-led U.S. Senate proposed relief package. The Democratic-led U.S. House included $1 trillion in relief to state and local governments as part of its bill.

Asked for whom he voted in the Andy Meisner-David Coulter Oakland County executive race, Peters said he had friends on both sides of this highly competitive race and would not publicly release his vote. The same held true for the Oakland County prosecutor race between incumbent Jessica Cooper and Karen McDonald.

Peters said he’s staying out of all primary races, including the one involving his colleague in the neighboring congressional district, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), and Brenda Jones.

“I’ve got friends in all the races,” he said.

Peters was also asked if the federal government should have done more to prepare for a pandemic in the face of reports penned years ago, noting that the country was ill-prepared if one were to hit U.S. shores.

Bill Gates had said in 2018 that the U.S. Government was falling short in preparing the nation for the “significant probability of a large and lethal modern-day pandemic occurring our lifetimes,” according to The Washington Post.

“The cuts we have seen in public health departments have had a definite impact,” he said. “We’ve been calling for increased funding for public health departments, which are critical at the early stages of the crisis. If you have testing and then contact tracing, you can contain the disease.

“So, certainly, pushes to have more funding for local public health departments was essential and, unfortunately, that didn’t come forward.”

Statewide COVID Fatality Rate Down To 7.7%; Highest Point Was 9.74% In May

The statewide fatality rate from COVID-19 as of today now stands at 7.7 percent, down from a high of 9.74 percent from back in mid-May.

The cumulative total for Michigan July 29 was 80,172 cases and 6,172 deaths, amounting to 7.7 percent overall fatality rate On May 13, the state hit a 9.74 percent rate when there were 48,391 total cases and 4,714 deaths.

The last time the fatality rate was this low was back on April 19, with a death rate of 7.61 percent.

Michigan has seen 4,841 cases in the past seven days, or 48 cases per 100,000 people, according to The New York Times tally of COVID cases nationwide.

In comparison to other states, Florida has seen the most cases in the past week – 72,143 cases. Florida also leads in cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days, with 336.

As far as deaths go, The Times has Michigan at 41 total the past week, and less than 1 person per 100,000. The leader in this category is Texas, with 2,196 deaths in the past week and 8 deaths per 100,000.

Whitmer Order Allows Higher Ed Entities To Prep Large Spaces For Instruction

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an order July 29 allowing colleges and universities to proceed with converting large spaces for instruction without approval or inspection.

The order amends the Michigan Administrative Code during the State of Emergency to allow colleges and universities converting large spaces to provide socially distanced learning without inspection or approval from the Bureau of Fire Services.

Under the order, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) will issue further guidance governing temporary approval of the use of a space as an instructional facility.

Henry Ford Chosen For Coronavirus Trial

The Henry Ford Health System is the only hospital system in Michigan chosen as a Phase 3 trial site for a particular vaccine study, the National Institutes of Health announced July 27.

Henry Ford is enrolling volunteers into this randomized double-blind study of whether a two-dose vaccine prevents COVID-19 infection in those exposed to the coronavirus. About 90 healthcare systems in the country are looking to enroll 30,000 volunteers to participate in the Moderna mRNA-1273 Coronavirus Efficacy (COVE) vaccine study.

The study’s first two phases involving more than 600 participants showed the vaccine to be safe. Phase 2 showed the vaccine produces antibodies. Phase 3 will determine whether that will provide protection against the COVID-19 virus.

“Our best hope of controlling COVID-19 is with a vaccine,” said Dr. Marcus Zervos, Division Chief of Infectious Disease for Henry Ford Health System. “The Moderna vaccine seems to be very promising. In the initial studies that have been done so far, it looks to be safe and has produced protective antibodies at the level of a natural infection.”

All study participants will have a 50 percent chance of receiving the study vaccine or placebo, a sterile saline solution that does not contain any active vaccine. Anyone age 18 or older who is not immunocompromised or pregnant or planning to become pregnant can volunteer for the study, as long as they have not had COVID-19 or another vaccine or treatment.

Michigan Ranks Third For ‘Fiscal Shock’ From COVID Pandemic

Michigan ranks third among states in the degree of “fiscal shock” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a paper published today by the Council of State Governments.

CSG put the “combined fiscal shock” to the state, when compared as a percentage to the prior revenue forecast, at 21.4 percent.

Only Alaska (33.1 percent) and Wyoming (27.9 percent) ranked higher.

Next came Nevada, 20.2 percent; Idaho, 17.1 percent; then Hawaii, 16.7 percent.

States that rely heavily on amusement and energy tax revenues, such as Alaska (51 percent of state tax revenue), Wyoming (32 percent), New Mexico (21 percent) and Nevada (12 percent) are experiencing the greatest general fund revenue declines as a percentage because oil prices have plummeted.

Michigan also faces a significant expected increase in Medicaid expenditures as residents lose jobs and employer-based healthcare coverage.

Iowa, Arkansas, Mississippi, Arizona and Delaware are the states reporting the lowest overall percentage decline. This can be attributed to industry-specific mitigating factors.

Iowa and Delaware, for instance, have a high concentration of state GDP in the finance and insurance sector and a low concentration in the leisure and hospitality sector.

CSG estimated that states combined face an estimated $169-253 billion shortfall for the fiscal years ending in 2020 and 2021.

CSG, with support from the accounting firm KPMG LLP, examined near-term budget impacts, the economic risk of ongoing pandemic effects and shutdowns, the resiliency of states to respond and strategies for fiscal recovery.

The findings were released today in a report titled “COVID-19: Fiscal Impact to States and Strategies for Recovery.”

“The effects of the pandemic have disrupted every aspect of state government and created unprecedented budget challenges for the states,” CSG Executive Director and CEO David Adkins said. “The road to recovery for each state is daunting, requiring customized and tailored solutions in response to each state’s unique circumstances.”

The report aims to help states understand the continuing economic risk associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, analyze resiliency factors and explore strategies to recover from the unique challenges of the pandemic.

“While the rainy day reserves of the states were at record highs at the beginning of 2020, those funds have been quickly depleted as a result of precipitous declines in tax revenues and new demands for unbudgeted expenditures,” Adkins said.

Initial estimates conclude that U.S. growth may take beyond 2024 to reach 2019 levels.

COVID Tracking Site: MI’s Contact Tracing ‘Insufficient’ To Stop Spread Of Virus

The state said it’s successfully tracing “nearly two-thirds” of all contacts within 48 hours of new COVID-19 infections, but a data tracking site estimates Michigan is tracing 31 percent of new COVID infections within 48 hours, which is considered “insufficient tracing to stop the spread of COVID,”

The 31 percent metric is down from when the state was tracing 100 percent of contacts in June, according to COVID Act Now. The site keeps tabs on the states’ pandemic response and its contact tracing, which is reaching out to anyone who may have had contact with an infected person.

The website said “best available data” shows Michigan has 1,050 contact tracers as of July 17 and based on an average of 682 new daily cases, COVID Act Now believes Michigan actually needs 3,410 staffers to trace all cases within 48 hours.

The state’s contact tracing rate as calculated by COVID Act Now has been dropping since the site had Michigan tracing 100 percent of contacts as of June 19.

Michigan is considered an “at-risk” state for COVID-19 along with several states north of the Mason Dixon line. California and states in the northeast have “controlled disease growth” and Vermont is “on track to contact COVID-19.” Nearly all states in the southeastern conference join Arizona and Nevada as having “active or imminent outbreak problems.”

Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, an Alaskan lawmaker and one of the creators of COVID Act Now, said the “rising number of cases is affirmatively a contributor” to Michigan’s dropping contact tracing rate.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the state has 500 fully trained volunteers as of July 20 with another 150 being trained over the next two weeks, spokesperson Lynn Sutfin said.

In addition, Sutfin said there are more than 300 people at local health departments who are doing contact tracing, and the DHHS is doling out grants to the locals to hire more contact tracers.

That still puts the state’s estimate of 950 contact tracers below COVID Act Now’s estimate of 1,050.

Yet Sutfin said the state is looking at hitting performance targets and not just at how many people are working.

She said when contact tracing is occurring centrally, the volunteers are attempting outreach to more than 95 percent of all contacts within 24 hours, and within 48 hours, successful outreach is documented nearly two-thirds of the time for all contacts.

According to COVID Act Now, “experts recommend that at least 90 percent of contacts for each new case must be traced within 48 hours in order to contain COVID.”

Additionally, Sutfin said in the first 24 hours, 45 percent of contacts are successfully reached. In 51 percent of the cases, interviews with people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are completed within 24 hours.

Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun has urged the public to pick up their phone calls because they could be the contact tracers calling to warn them they’ve come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Business Can’t Assume Unmasked Patrons Have Medical Excuse

Business owners shouldn’t assume someone not wearing a mask inside their establishments are medically unable to do so, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in an update to her mandatory mask executive order July 17.

The governor wrote in Executive Order 2020-153 that if a customer says he or she is not medically able to wear a mask, an employee can take that person at his or her word.

“If everyone in Michigan masks up, we can save thousands of lives and put ourselves in a better position to send our kids back to school in the fall,” Whitmer said. “For the safety of our loved ones and our dedicated first responders on the front lines: Mask up, Michigan.”

House Republicans issued a statement that by the governor encouraging store clerks to confront people for not wearing masks she is forcing store clerks “to be the police in misguided and potentially dangerous” situations.

“She wants all mask-free people approached and interrogated for their non-compliance,” the caucus wrote on its Twitter account.

The Department of Civil Rights gave three options for businesses to implement its “no mask, no service policy.”

– Provide anyone who does not have a face covering an alternative to entering without one – for example, carry out service or have someone shop for them

– Offer some other accommodation, like a face shield, if the person has a medical condition that prevents him or her from wearing a mask

– Banning from the establishment anyone whose reason for not wearing the mask isn’t covered in the Executive Order

Also, Whitmer wrote that while masks are strongly encouraged at the voting booth, they are not required. It creates a rare exception for those not required to wear a face covering in a public indoor venue or during outdoor gatherings of numerous people.

Others not required to wear a mask include those who are:

– Younger than 5, although kids from 2-5 are still encouraged to put one on. Children younger than 2 should not wear a mask

– Medically unable to wear one

– Eating or drinking in a restaurant

– Exercising

– Receiving a service where a face covering would get in the way, like someone getting their teeth cleaned

– Needing to identify another person

– Communicating with the deaf or hard of hearing

– Working as police, EMS or firefighters if a mask would “seriously interfere” with their duties

– Officiating a religious gathering

The governor’s order on mask wearing comes as Michigan’s cases of COVID-19 have ramped back up after reaching a low point in early June. Department of Health and Human Services numbers had 660 new cases and 7 deaths over the last 24 hours ending July 17. Michigan reached 72,502 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 6,108 deaths.

To put the tallies in perspective, the number of confirmed cases in Michigan is roughly equal to the population of Southfield. The number of total deaths is roughly equal to the population of Holly, Milan or Huntington Woods.

Whitmer noted a German study that found that requiring face coverings be worn decreases COVID-19 growth rates by about 40 percent.

COVID Shines A Light On Racial Disparities In Health Care

It’s not just COVID-19. Racial disparities exist throughout health care, according to the Lansing Branch of the NAACP and Protect Our Care Michigan.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist was charged with heading up a special committee when it was shown that 40 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in Michigan are Blacks when they only make up 15 percent of the population.

But as Michiganders are losing their jobs due to the economic slowdown spurred by the coronavirus, they’re losing their health care. And that impacts Black people more, said Dale COPEDGE, president Lansing’s NAACP during a press call July 16.

“These are not new issues for Black people,” Copedge said. “These disparities have existed for decades and is only amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Renee Canady, chief executive officer of the Michigan Public Health Institute, said the country has historically tied access to health care to employment status.

“There is another whole group of people that, while they are employed, their employer can’t afford health care,” Canady said. “Is health care and access to health care a right or a privilege?”

She contended that the Affordable Care Act and Healthy Michigan have provided health care coverage to 755,000 Michiganders who otherwise would not have it. Nationally, the number is 20 million who have health insurance because of the ACA. It has helped lower the uninsured rate for African Americans by more than one-third.

Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) said President Donald Trump’s continued court challenge of the ACA throughout the pandemic isn’t helpful.

“Instead of addressing the true threats of a pandemic, this president and Republicans at the national level continue to do everything in their power to overturn the Affordable Care Act and snatch health care from millions of Americans,” Anthony said.

She contended that the administration has failed every step of the way during the pandemic. It didn’t secure testing. It didn’t secure personal protection equipment (PPE) until hospitals were begging for it.

Anthony also said the administration has repeatedly ignored experts and spread misinformation about COVID-19 instead of “rolling up his sleeves and doing the real work of saving peoples lives.”

Anthony contended that Democrats in the state Legislature have offered numerous proposals to increase access to health care, including capping co-pays at $100 and investigating the rising price of insulin. Democrats also offered a response plan specifically for the pandemic.

Number of Sheriffs Not Enforcing Mask Rule Up To 12

At least 12 Michigan county sheriffs have announced they will not be actively writing $500 tickets to business patrons who are not wearing masks indoors.

On July 15, Montcalm County Sheriff Mike Williams and Ionia County Sheriff Charlie Noll said the governor’s multiple executive orders “have led to great confusion among local law enforcement, as well as the public at large,” according to the Daily News.

They both said they would be referring any complaints to the Attorney General’s office.

They join the sheriffs in at least Antrim, Arenac, Gratiot, Livingston, Saginaw, Shiawassee and Van Buren in saying they would not be enforcing the executive order.

The Macomb County Sheriff wrote on Facebook they’re not issuing citations to non-mask wearers. The Menominee County Sheriff issued a similar statement. Oakland County is referring cases to the Attorney General.

Sheriff Kenny Marks said if a person who doesn’t wear a mask refused to leave a business after being asked, that person can be charged with trespassing or disorderly conduct.

“The way the executive orders are written causes confusion and frustration among the public and law enforcement professionals that serve you,” he wrote. “I don’t want you to mistrust us. It is important to me that you understand the challenges we face together.”

In Wayne County, the Sheriff’s Office has said it will not be taking the lead, but will assist when needed, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Berrien County, Kent County, Kalamazoo County and Washtenaw County are taking the eye toward voluntary compliance. Issuing a ticket appears to be the last resort.

The Bay County Sheriff’s Office said they will respond to calls for service, but will not be out looking for people not complying.

Chatfield, Shirkey Urge Residents To Mask Up

To say the least, Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have had some huge disagreements over her executive authority when it comes to dealing with COVID-19.

That said, the two do agree on one thing.

“I choose to wear a mask when I’m in a public space the vast majority of the time,” Chatfield told TV-6 in Lansing. “I don’t want to offend people who are around me and I do believe it could actually reduce the rate that the virus could be transferred.”

Chatfield conceded that there is no unanimity on the effectiveness of the masks per se.

So, he and she wear masks.

As it turns out, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-ClarkLake) is urging people to wear masks, too. In a statement released July 14, the Senate leader said wearing a mask in public protects the health of the individual and the public.

Shirkey added, however, that some people have legitimate health issues that prevent them from wearing a mask that could put them at a greater risk.

Chatfield does not support the governor’s latest E.O. that fines folks $500 for not wearing masks in places of public accommodations.

On this point, Chatfield said the decision should rest with businesses and not in the executive office.

“I support letting small businesses make these decisions for themselves. They have to protect their employees and make decisions they feel are best . . . I support small businesses making these decisions on their own,” he concluded.

What about the governor’s order to mask up?

“I think we should support our small businesses and give them the opportunity to protect their employees and make these decisions at the local level,” he reaffirmed.

Meanwhile, Shirkey said he’s seen the reports of citizens challenging others who are seen in public without masks and he’s urging people not to do so.

“Some altercations have even turned violent which is unnecessary and unacceptable,” Shirkey said. “There is no reason to risk your health or your life over the debate of wearing masks in public.

“Instead, we encourage people to wear their masks and treat others with respect. And, observe six feet of space if you encounter an individual without a mask.”

Lansing Lines is presented in cooperation with MIRS, a Lansing-based news and information service.