WVBI COVID-19 Update for June 18, 2020

A big cancellation for the island was announced yesterday. The Beaver Island Music Festival board pulled the plug on its 2020 events after a fairly small group of residents complained about health risks they might cause for the island. Festival organizer Carol Burton and other members of the festival board felt a scaled back festival could proceed in a manner that complied with safe practices, but they said they ultimately deiced to cancel because some remain opposed no matter what steps are taken. But, the festival we be back in 2021—bigger and better than ever.
But some good opening news. Word is that the Circle M will open for dining-in this evening. Bar opens at 4:30 and dinner at 5 we hear. Yum, yum.
Governor Whitmer says she’ll be extending her executive order declaring a state of emergency for COVID-19…no word yet on for how long. Her current order expires tomorrow. She also says her current plan is to re-open K through 12 schools for instruction in the fall, but that will depend on local data and could change. She says treatment of schools could be different regionally, which leaves open the possibility the schools here on the island could be closed with no cases and plenty of nearby hospital capacity.
State Republican lawmakers say the governor’s continued unilateral lawmaking exceeds her authority and is unconstitutional. A May 12th lawsuit based on those claims continues to make its way through the courts. So far, the governor has largely won battles in those cases in preliminary rounds with the notable exception involving efforts to shut down a barber. So far she has issued 124 executive orders this year.
It seems somewhat remarkable that more than six months into a “crisis” the law would be that the governor still gets to make unilateral decisions about basic operating questions for schools across the state. Time and the Michigan Supreme Court will tell.
COVID-19 numbers continue to look good both locally and across the state. State health officials reported 204 new cases and two deaths yesterday. That brings the state totals to 60,393 cases and 5,792 deaths. Almost 45-thousand have recovered in the state, leaving just over 15-thousand cases. Running averages continue to look good as well. Seven day moving averages stand at 159 cases and 11 deaths.
On the Island, 84 tests have been run. 83 of those are back as negative. None pending. Still only one back as positive.
In our region, total confirmed case count is stable at 224. Death toll steady at 21. No change in county by county data, but they are in today’s script online if you are interested. [Otsego confirmed case count is at 102 with 10 deaths. Emmet is at 21 with two deaths. Grand Traverse is at 35 cases with five deaths. Charlevoix has 17 cases including one from the island, and two deaths. Kalkaska has 19 confirmed cases two deaths. Antrim 12 cases, still no deaths, Leelanau at 12, no deaths. And Benzie is at five cases and no deaths.] Up in the U-P, they are stable at 127 confirmed cases. Death toll is stable, too, at 16.
While health data are looking good, Michigan’s economy remains on life support. Nearly one in five job-eligible residents of the state are unemployed according to May data. More than one million jobs have been lost, that despite the recovery of 245-thousand jobs in May. The state’s unemployment rate is the worst in the nation except for Neveda. U or M economist Gabriel Ehrlich says the hole is a deep one and that it is going to take a long time to get back to where we were. Nationwide, 21 million were out of work at the end of May, that after record employment in February.