The Rapidian

COVID-19 in Grand Rapids: Tuesday, April 14 updates

Gov. Whitmer signs executive order offering financial relief for bars and restaurants, Kent County Health Department shares updates on local COVID-19 mitigation resources, and more statements from area organizations issued April 13-14, 2020.
27,001 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in Michigan, with 1,768 confirmed deaths, as of April 14, 2020.

27,001 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in Michigan, with 1,768 confirmed deaths, as of April 14, 2020. /Experience Grand Rapids

As of today, April 14, 325 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in Kent County, with 14 confirmed deaths. Statewide, 27,001 confirmed cases have been reported, with 1,768 confirmed deaths. Local and state responses continue accordingly.

Shared in this Tuesday, April 14, update are statements impacting local life from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and the Kent County Health Department.


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs executive order offering financial relief for bars and restaurants, executive order extending expiration of driver’s licenses, state ID cards, and vehicle registrations

Gov. Whitmer signed an executive order (EO 20-46) yesterday, April 13, allowing bars and restaurants to sell back unused liquor to the state in an effort to offer them financial relief during the continuing COVID-19 crisis.

The new executive order tasks the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) with using its revolving fund to buy spirits remaining in inventory from bars and restaurants – with on-premises liquor licenses – that purchased the spirits prior to March 16 for their full purchase price.

Liquor licensees approved for the program have until 90 days after the state’s emergency and disaster declarations are lifted to re-purchase the spirits from the MLCC.

Michigan’s 8,500 on-premises liquor licensees continue to make unprecedented sacrifices to help slow the spread of COVID-19 across our state,” Whitmer said. “This buy-back program will help our bars and restaurants critical to Michigan’s economy weather the storm through this challenging time in our history.”

Licensees must make their request no later than April 17, 2020, at 5pm, using the online form on the MLCC’s website.

Whitmer signed an additional executive order (EO 20-47) yesterday, March 13, temporarily extending expiration of driver’s licenses, state identification cards, and commercial vehicle registrations that would otherwise expire during the state’s COVID-19 emergency and disaster declarations.

The temporary extension doesn’t apply to motorists with suspended or revoked driver’s licenses.

In times of crisis and uncertainty, the last thing you want to think about is having to renew your driver’s license or state ID card,” said Whitmer. “It is my sincere hope this order gives all Michiganders with expiring identification some peace of mind as we continue our united front to slow the spread of COVID-19 across our state.”

The order, which became effective yesterday, April 13, at 11:59pm, temporarily extends driver’s licenses, learner’s permits, and commercial driver’s licenses set to expire between March 1 and May 31 to June 30. It also temporarily extends commercial vehicle registrations set to expire on or after March 1 to June 30.

More details about the latest executive orders are available on the Executive Orders page of the state’s website.


Michigan Economic Development Corporation offers new economic assistance for small businesses and other communities impacted by COVID-19

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced today, April 14, new economic assistance for small businesses, early stage tech companies, and communities around Michigan negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The new assistance was approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF). It includes the Northern Initiatives program, the MSF Awardee Relief Initiative, and Pre-Seed III funds to be administered by the Michigan State University Foundation (MSUF).

We are committed to leveraging every resource available to us as effectively as we can to support small businesses, entrepreneurs, communities, and workers across the state being negatively affected by this unprecedented outbreak,” said MEDC CEO Mark Burton. “The initiatives approved today by the Michigan Strategic Fund will provide much-needed resources for small businesses and early stage tech companies facing challenges with cash flow and communities working to support and protect their residents.”

The Northern Initiatives program will provide up to $2 million in loan funds to Northern Initiatives through MEDC’s Capital Access program. Northern Initiatives, a Community Development Finance Institution regulated by the U.S. Department of Treasury, provides business loans to existing and start-up businesses, primarily in underserved rural markets.

The MSF Awardee Relief Initiative program will provide emergency relief to businesses and community projects that have previously received grants, loans, or other forms of economic assistance from the MSF.

The Pre-Seed III funds, administered by the MSUF, will better support entrepreneurs and tech startups across Michigan over a one-year period.

More information about the MEDC’s new economic assistance is available on the MEDC’s website.


Kent County Health Department shares updates to keep residents informed about local COVID-19 mitigation resources

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) shared several updates today, April 14, to keep residents informed about local COVID-19 mitigation resources.

On the KCHD’s Facebook page, it highlighted the joint effort by Network180, Forest View Hospital, and Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services to help those struggling with mental health or substance use during the pandemic. All three agencies are encouraging individuals to contact them for help rather than visit a local emergency department.

Network180, Forest View, and Pine Rest are open 24/7 and ready to provide services via phone or tele-health to anyone in crisis,” the post noted. “Help begins by picking up the phone.”

Network180 can be contacted by phone at 616-336-3909, Forest View at 800-949-8439, and Pine Rest at 800-678-5500 or 616-455-9200. In the event of a life-threatening crisis, on-site assessments are still available.

The KCHD also shared on Facebook that the Guiding Light Isolation Center has seen nearly 25 patients, as of today, April 14.

The Guiding Light Isolation Center is a partnership between the KCHD and local nonprofit Guiding Light. Guiding Light voluntarily loaned its downtown Grand Rapids facility to the KCHD as an isolation center for those experiencing homelessness who may have contracted COVID-19. The facility began accepting referred patients on April 3.

Our goal is to provide a safe place for people who are experiencing homelessness to recover from the coronavirus and to minimize the transmission of the virus,” said Dr. Adam London, KCHD’s Director.

Additionally, the KCHD shared a YouTube video today, April 14, of KCHD’s Director of Environmental Health, Sara Simmonds, showing residents how to make their own cloth face coverings at home.

Simmonds’ instruction on making “DIY” cloth face coverings comes on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) April 3 recommendation that residents wear “cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain” – especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

More information about the use of cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19 is available on the CDC’s website.


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