This year has been one unlike any other, but as we continue to battle this pandemic, remember that my staff and I are here to help you through this difficult time in any way that we can. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the number of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase exponentially. At the beginning of November, our state recorded its 200,000th confirmed case and we have now surpassed 8,000 deaths to this terrible virus. In response, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a new epidemic order to save lives and protect frontline heroes during this fall surge in cases by enacting a three-week pause targeting social gatherings and other group activities beginning Wednesday, Nov. 18.
As we move into the winter months, it is more important than ever to step up and do our part by properly masking up, maintaining social distancing, and washing our hands. When working together, Michiganders have proven time and time again that we can overcome any obstacle placed in our path. By continuing to take these precautions in our neighborhoods, communities, and across our state now, we can turn the tide in the fight against COVID-19. The more aggressive our actions are today, the sooner we can get back to a more familiar tomorrow. The holiday season started for me and many of our neighbors with Diwali, but so did flu season. And we each have a responsibility to take this threat seriously and gather responsibly.
As quickly as things change, I know that this can be a confusing time for all of us. Be sure to. regularly check Michigan.gov/coronavirus and CDC.gov/coronavirus for the latest information. If you have additional questions about what the state is doing to mitigate the spread of the virus you can call Michigan’s COVID-19 Hotline at (888) 535-6136 seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or email COVID19@michigan.gov and your questions will be answered from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
Another tool that will prove vital to combating the further spread of COVID-19 is the recently announced free mobile phone app, MI COVID Alert.
This crisis has been a defining moment for our community, our state, and our country. These may be uncertain times for all of us, but I am confident that we will continue to respond with the same strength and resilience that Michiganders always have.
See below for more information on this important technology, the new epidemic order issued by MDHHS, upcoming virtual event details, and more.
House District 41
Upcoming Virtual Events
Beginning this Friday, I’ll be hosting a few Coffee & Chat virtual events through Facebook Live. Grab a cup of coffee, jump on my Facebook Page (@mireppadmakuppa) and come chat with me from the comfort and safety of your own home! The concerns, health, and safety of Troy and Clawson residents are my number one priority during this time. I understand that you may have questions and concerns, and I want to be able to assist in answering as many as I can during these virtual events. I hope to see you then!
When: Friday, Nov. 20, beginning at 6 p.m.
How: Visit my Facebook Page (@mireppadmakuppa)
When: Friday, Dec. 11, beginning at 6 p.m.
How: Visit my Facebook Page (@mireppadmakuppa)
We are also planning a virtual town hall in mid-December. Check kuppa.housedems.com for updates!
In recent weeks, the House Session schedule has been a bit of a question mark considering a few of our colleagues from across the aisle contracted COVID-19, with more exposed and needing to self-quarantine. Despite consistent calls from my House Democratic colleagues and I to seriously discuss and implement remote Session participation procedures, we have yet to see any movement even though we are now more than 8 months into this pandemic. As COVID-19 continues to surge in our state and across the country, we can’t afford to delay any longer putting in place a remote participation plan so that we are all able to continue to advance the important legislation the people of our community and state send us to Lansing to do. As it stands, the next House Session dates are scheduled for the first week in December.
During the past few months, we have been working with the National Vote At Home Institute and other stakeholders to improve and optimize our policy for both absentee and in-person voting methods. My colleagues and I hope to introduce these bills and other policies we’ve been working on this session. My team and I have also joined a workgroup of legislators from across the nation, including state Rep. Ben Diamond from Florida and state Rep. César Blanco from Texas to work on legislation around improving access to clean air, water, and energy.
MDHHS New Epidemic Order
The new epidemic order issued by MDHHS is aimed at limiting residential and non-residential gatherings where COVID-19 spreads rapidly. Bars and restaurants will be open for outdoor dining, carry-out, and delivery only. Gyms will remain open for individual exercise with strict safety measures in place. Casinos, movie theaters, and group exercise classes will be closed. Professional and college sports meeting extraordinary standards for risk mitigation may continue without spectators, but all other organized sports must be put on pause. Colleges and high schools may proceed with remote learning, but must pause in-person classes.
Having taken effect on Wednesday, Nov. 18, this order leaves open work that can’t be performed from home, including manufacturing, construction, and health occupations. Outdoor gatherings, outdoor dining, and parks remain open. Individualized activities with distancing and face masks that are still permitted include retail shopping, public transit, restaurant takeout, personal-care services such as haircuts by appointment, and individualized exercise at a gym with extra spacing between machines.
Michigan has seen fewer outbreaks associated with elementary and middle schools, and younger children are most in need of in-person instruction. In-person K-8 schooling may continue if it can be done with strong mitigation, including mask requirements, based on discussion between local health and school officials. Childcare also remains open to support working parents.
Teachers, childcare workers, and health care professionals continue to serve on the front lines ensuring support for Michiganders across our state. We must take this three-week pause seriously, not only for our own loved ones, but for every hero risking their life and the health of their family as we continue to battle this ongoing crisis.
MI COVID Alert App
MI COVID Alert is a free app for your mobile phone that will help Michiganders stay safe and protect each other. This app is easy-to-use and can:
- Alert you if you may have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
- Advise you on what to do to protect yourself and others
- Alert other app users that you were in close contact with, if you test positive for coronavirus
Contact tracing is a vital part of slowing the spread of the virus. The more people that download and use the app, the more it will help our state’s existing contact tracing operation. The app does this by alerting you that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The app will not disclose the name of the contact or the location of exposure, but it will let you know that you were close enough (within 6 feet) for long enough (15 minutes or more), for there to be a risk that you could have been exposed to the virus. The app will then alert you and advise you on what to do next. Likewise, if you test positive for coronavirus, you can use the app to alert anyone you have been in close contact with.
For more information on how to use the MI COVID Alert app, click here.
For more information regarding the app’s privacy and data policies, click here.
For more information on the importance of downloading and using MI COVID Alert, click here.
Oakland County COVID-19 Hotline
For Oakland County-specific COVID-19 information, please click here to visit their website. You can also contact the Oakland County COVID-19 hotline at (248) 858-1000 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To view the COVID-19 dashboard created by the County that summarizes the COVID-19 statistics, click here.
Going PRO Talent Fund
The Going PRO Talent Fund (Talent Fund) makes awards to employers to assist in training, developing, and retaining current and newly hired employees. Training funded by the Talent Fund must be short-term and fill a demonstrated talent need experienced by the employer. Training must lead to a credential for a skill that is transferable and recognized by industry leaders.
The Going PRO Talent Fund application period for Fiscal Year 2021 opened on Monday, Nov. 2, and closes Monday, Nov. 30 at 5 p.m. Awards are subject to available funding. For information and eligibility requirements, click here.
Reporting Power Outages
As we continue to see strong winds and winter weather is on our doorstep, it’s important to know where to report instances of power outages. If you lose power, click here to report an outage to DTE and you will have the option to decide how you’d like to receive updates from DTE on restoration and status.
Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment
At the beginning of the month, Open Enrollment started, allowing enrollment, re-enrollment, or a change to 2021 insurance plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The last day to enroll in or change plans for 2021 coverage is Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. After this date, you are only able to enroll or change plans if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. For more information, visit HealthCare.gov or call (800) 318-2596.