Michigan's phase 5 ambitions are in jeopardy after three people testing positive for COVID-19 said they were at a crowded bar in Royal Oak earlier in June, prior to the start of symptoms. The individuals said they were at Fifth Avenue on June 19 - the date that Oakland County health officials are now warning could have resulted in coronavirus exposure for anyone else in attendance. It takes 2-14 days for symptoms to appear, which is a warning to anyone in attendance to monitor themselves for possible signs of contracting the virus.
If East Lansing's Harper's has taught Michigan anything, it's how quickly the virus can spread around the state with the right amount of dispersal. While it initially confirmed 25 cases of coronavirus linked to the bar, the Ingham County Health Department warned there was likely more people who were exposed, due to the nature of the transmission.
The total case count from the bar is now up to 107 after people who contracted the virus brought it to a house party in Grosse Pointe Woods, first reported by the Detroit Free Press. Families are now in quarantine, Michigan's COVID-19 count is starting to rise again, and now Gov. Gretchen Whitmer warned a hopeful date of reopening gyms, movie theaters and other businesses might not happen by July 4.
"We've seen a little uptick, that won't translate into hospitalizations for another week or two," she told FOX 2 on Monday. "It's incumbent on all of us to do our part."
The two-week timer health officials rely on to see how coronavirus cases respond to major events between when someone contracts the virus and when they show symptoms have already been set. That means the next few days will be key to understanding what kind of trajectory Michigan will be on after the recently confirmed cases.
However, Whitmer doesn't believe the state is on its way to another April outbreak when the state confirmed the third-highest number of cases in the country. As for what's currently happening in states like Texas and Florida, which are confirming daily highs in new cases and registering an increasing number of hospitalizations, that won't happen in Michigan.
"We're in a much better position to track. People understand how serious the disease is so people are being smarter as well. Not that they weren't smart before but we know a lot more about this virus," said Whitmer.
FOX 2's political insider laid out what directions the governor could take, which she plans to announce during a press conference today at 3 p.m. Between reopening the rest of the state and keeping part of it closed, he said to bet on the latter.
Governor, legislature reach 2020 budget agreement
Instead of a $2.2 billion dollar shortfall in this year's budget, it will only be $490 million that will be cut from current expenses. That's the consensus that a GOP-led legislature and Gov. Whitmer decided on as it weighed some extreme measures for balancing the budget for the state.
It's not entirely clear where the cuts will come from, but FOX 2's Tim Skubick says local governments, higher education, and public schools will manage to avoid the bulk of the damage. The state was prepared to strike down some expenses, but lawmakers ended up backfilling the budget gap faced by those sectors with a $900 million infusion from the federal government.
That's the good news. The bad news is the state now faces an even bigger budgetary hole to climb out of for next year - about $3 billion. State officials hope some of that can also be backfilled by the federal government. Michigan has been very efficient at using federal funds to grow its state budget, but the other side of that coin is when the federal government contracts and shrinks the amount of money it sends to states.
Now, the state hopes it will get more for next year.
Tax revenue will take a while to climb back to what the budget had been designed for as Michigan's economic re-emergence will take a few years to recover due to the COVID-19 shutdown on state businesses and consumer spending.
Bloomfield Township officials suing neighborhood app Nextdoor
The social media app that neighbors use as a local messaging board is being repurposed as a source of misinformation and bullying. The result was residents believing the township and all its services were completely shut down amid the peak of the COVID-19 crisis earlier this year.
"'Bloomfield Township was completely closed and don't expect to get any help from them,'" Leo Savoie, the Bloomfield Township supervisor, recalls from one of the posts. "That was completely untrue. ... We opened up our emergency Operation Center, we had people going seven days a week. We are here for people."
The post came from Val Murray, a resident also running for township trustee. He reportedly also posted information on how to deal with the virus from a medical viewpoint. Savoie called the postings unacceptable and along with Township Treasurer Brian Kepes, contacted Nextdoor. They received no response, which led to them suing the app, Murray, and another resident who works as a regional director for Nextdoor with the authority to remove people from the platform.
"It's a frivolous lawsuit," said Brian Wassom, the attorney representing the two residents. He said he believes the lawsuit is about keeping the opposition quiet. "It sure seems fishy that they picked her out as a political opponent to shut her up during this election season."
Savoie contends the only reason Murray was listed in the lawsuit was because of her posts.
Nextdoor has not responded yet to a request for comment about the lawsuit.
Another hot day on the way. Expect temperatures to climb to 90 by Thursday.
More than 200 Planet Fitness gym-goers asked to quarantine after 1 tests positive for COVID-19
More than 200 people who visited a Planet Fitness location in Morgantown, West Virginia are being asked to self-quarantine for at least 14 days after a guest tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the Lexington Herald Leader, Planet Fitness officials are asking guests who visited between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on June 24 to quarantine and monitor their symptoms. A statement from the fitness chain indicated that "we are not aware of any additional members or team members reporting symptoms at this time."
The Planet Fitness location also shared an update on Facebook regarding the closure, stating that they are undergoing a deep clearing by a third party and will reopen on June 30 at 6 a.m.