Wednesday News Hit: Nursing Home scrutiny, COVID-19 kills Chaldean parents, and Detroit Catholic mass returns

One particular executive order signed by the Michigan Governor isn't sitting well with Rep. Leslie Love, a Democrat out of the 10th District. An executive order that designated different nursing home facilities around the state as regional "hubs" that could take in elderly patients who tested positive for COVID-19 would admit them in the same places where residents who don't have the virus are already living.

"From the beginning, what were we thinking of handling senior population?" Love asked. The Detroit lawmaker said her 83-year-old mother is living in one of the 19 facilities and worries she is being placed in harm's way due to the high risk that elderly patients face when being exposed to the coronavirus. She's said she's seen reports that facilities are using a plastic covering on the entryway to separate the sick from the healthy. "It's not a good idea, not the best scenario for the seniors."

The state's chief medical executive has pushed back on those concerns, arguing the facilities are equipped to handle sick patients. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun says the key is making sure each nursing home has enough personal protective equipment and proper safety protocols have been put in place. 

Love will be joining seven other lawmakers on Wednesday to form a sub-committee to discuss other options. Ideas like using the TCF Center or Suburban Collection Showcase overflow hospitals have been floated. Currently, both sit empty as Michigan's surge in COVID-19 cases became stunted around the time they were finished. 

A majority of the nursing homes are based out of Oakland and Wayne County - the site of some of Michigan's worst local outbreaks of the pandemic. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan estimated the death rate for nursing home residents was an astronomically high 10%. The city finished testing all of its nursing home residents in April.

Outside of the nursing homes came another tragic story about Nameer and Nada Ayram, two former refugees from Iraq who moved to Michigan years ago. Fully embraced by the Chaldean community and residing in Sterling Heights, the Ayram's three kids found themselves more in need of support than ever before after their two parents were admitted to the ICU after coming down with COVID-19

Both were treated at separate hospitals and required help from ventilators as their children self-isolated from home. The parents died within weeks of each other, with Nada succumbing on April 21 and Nameer earlier this week.

"The parents were fine and healthy and then they just weren't feeling well," said Yaldo of Chaldean American Ladies of Charity. "And to think that is the last time you would see your parents is just devastating."

Without any relatives here, the family's oldest son Nash is left to care for the family. 

If closures in March felt chaotic, then reopenings in May are bringing about a different form of uncertainty. It's unclear how COVID-19's spread will respond to Michigan's reopening, but lawmakers and their constituents may soon find out. Building on top of manufacturing's reopening came announcements that public Mass at Catholic churches in Detroit will return.

Settling on May 19, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron said mass would be held at the discretion of the pastor. Additionally, all churches would resume Friday, May 29.

"The Mass you may attend in the weeks ahead will look and feel quite different from the Mass you remember from two months ago. It will be imperative for all of us – pastors, parish staff, volunteers, and all the faithful – to work together during these times," he said.

For all sessions of mass that are held, the archbishop has mandated several rules be followed, including wearing face coverings at all times, staff must sanitize the church before or after mass, and churches must not exceed 25% capacity.

Daily Forecast

Temperatures expected to climb to 50's and 60's Wednesday afternoon. Wet weather returns Thursday.

White House explores $5,000 coronavirus stimulus check in exchange for delayed Social Security benefits

The White House is reportedly considering a new proposal to help alleviate the economic pain inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic: Letting struggling Americans take an advance on their Social Security benefits.

Senior economic officials at the White House are exploring a stimulus measure backed by conservative scholars at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute and Hoover Institution, according to The Washington Post.