Senator Jim Stamas E-Newsletter


Dear friends,

COVID-19 is a newly identified type of coronavirus that is highly contagious and causes respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

As of March 15, there have been 53 positive COVID-19 cases in Michigan. In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, the governor has declared a state of emergency and closed all school buildings through at least April 5. On Monday, she also ordered all bars and restaurants in Michigan to close for dine-in guests by 3 p.m. Delivery and carryout will still be allowed. Several other states, including Ohio, have also taken this step.

The governor’s executive order will be in effect until March 31 and also applies to coffee houses, movie theaters, fitness and recreation centers, indoor sports and exercise facilities, and casinos.

The order does not apply to grocery stores, food pantries, pharmacies, drug stores, health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, juvenile justice facilities, office buildings, warehouse and distribution centers, industrial and manufacturing facilities, and providers of medical equipment and supplies.

This information is fluid and subject to change. Out of an abundance of caution and to assist preventive efforts, we will suspend all in-person, in-district constituent activities. My goal is to continue to provide the best service and representation possible for the people of the 36th District, but this step is necessary to best protect our constituents and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Residents can stay up to date on the latest news surrounding COVID-19 in Michigan at www.Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.

I will also be sharing the latest information on my Facebook page. If you have any questions or need to get in contact with me, feel free to call my office toll-free at 1-855-347-8036 or email [email protected].

Serving you,
Sen. Jim Stamas

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Coronavirus update
While the news that COVID-19 has come to Michigan is sad and unfortunate, it’s not reason to be scared or to panic. I encourage everyone to be calm but persistent. COVID-19 is highly contagious, but with smart, preventive practices — like washing your hands often, covering your cough and avoiding direct interaction with other people as much as possible — you can drastically reduce your chances of getting the virus or spreading it to others.

COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath and may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days after exposure to the virus. Residents who are experiencing any of these symptoms, or are not feeling well, should stay home and consult their doctor.

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It is recommended that residents avoid large crowds when possible, and especially avoid people who are sick. People should wash their hands regularly using warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds and do their best to avoid touching their face.

The state has launched a hotline about COVID-19. Residents with any questions about the virus can call 1-888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.

Regularly updated information about this outbreak in Michigan is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.
One of the helpful materials under the site’s “Resources” tab is a document of “Frequently Asked Questions About Coronavirus Disease 2019” that can help answer many questions that residents have.

There are also some helpful tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on everyday preventive actions with the growing concern around COVID-19. Make sure to check the CDC’s Facebook page and its coronavirus website often for more information.

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New funding to fight coronavirus, restore more cuts
The Senate has finalized my legislation to send the governor a $371 million budget supplemental that helps address the coronavirus outbreak and restore more of the cuts she made last fall.

This funding comes at a critical time as we work to meet new challenges facing Michigan. With the confirmation of cases of coronavirus in Michigan, we are directing up to $75 million in vital support to help state and local authorities combat and respond to the virus.

While we were successful late last year in restoring some of the governor’s nearly $1.6 billion in funding vetoes and transfers, many programs started the new year without funding. Senate Bill 151 restores more of the governor’s cuts, such as support for local hospitals, people with disabilities, job training, county fairs, agriculture and the Pure Michigan tourism promotion program. It also includes $5 million to address shoreline erosion due to historically high water levels.

COVID-19 testing FAQs
As you can expect, the state has received a lot of inquiries about testing for COVID-19. Here are some answers to the questions they’ve been receiving the most often:

Q) What is the process for a person to get tested for COVID-19?
A) Anyone who is interested in being tested for COVID-19 should first talk with their health care provider. Health care providers have been issued the following guidance for evaluating patients for COVID-19 testing: “Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Decisions on which patients receive testing should be based on the local epidemiology of COVID-19, as well as the clinical course of illness. Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing). Clinicians are strongly encouraged to test for other causes of respiratory illness, including infections such as influenza.”

Q) How long should it take for test results to come back?
A) Currently, most laboratory specimens received by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Bureau of Laboratories are processed on the same day. Specimens received in the evening or overnight are processed on the next day’s testing runs. Initial reports from commercial laboratories have indicated turnaround times of up to 72 hours.

Q) What should a person do if their doctor and local health department refuse to test them for COVID-19?
A) Local health departments are facilitating the approval and prioritization of specimens being submitted to the MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories. They are not conducting specimen collection for COVID-19 testing. Some physicians are also not collecting specimens. The best advice we can give is to call ahead to provider locations to determine the availability of testing. Please inform them of your current symptoms in case there are special instructions for individuals with respiratory symptoms who are presenting to their facility.

Q) There is wide discussion in the news of a shortage of test kits nationwide. What is the state’s capacity to test for COVID-19? Are we going to run out of tests?
A) The state has enough kits to meet current testing demand and capacity at the Bureau of Laboratories. The Bureau of Laboratories is also authorized to order additional kits as needed to maintain that capacity.

THE 36TH DISTRICT

Senate District 36 Map

The 36th Senate District is made up of 10 counties, which includes: Presque Isle, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda, Alcona, Iosco, Arenac, Gladwin and Midland counties.

Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the 36th Senate District of Michigan. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Please feel free to forward this on to others who may be interested in receiving the 36th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website or via Facebook.

Senator Jim Stamas
100 N. Capitol Ave., Room S-324.
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

Visit my website at: www.SenatorJimStamas.com

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