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The world has completely changed since our last newsletter, and I continue to lift up in prayer our families, state and nation as we all find a way to deal with this unprecedented reality.

It is as important as ever to practice safe and healthy habits as the virus makes its inevitable way throughout our state. As of now, there is one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Marquette County. It is up to each of us to do what we can to help limit the virus’s spread to help keep us as healthy as possible.

This newsletter provides the latest information on the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and access to resources available to help during this difficult time.

God bless,

Sen. Ed McBroom

Serving you

Serving the Upper Peninsula in the state Senate is an honor, and while my Lansing office is physically closed during the emergency, my staff and I continue to serve you and we’re available to provide help where we can. Please call 866-305-2038 toll-free or 517-373-7840. People may also email my office at [email protected].

To stay up to date on other legislative and district communications, follow me on social media at or

COVID-19 update

As of Thursday, March 26, Michigan has 2,856 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 60 confirmed deaths. This information is rapidly changing and more is available at

“Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order

On March 23, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, directing all noncritical businesses to temporarily close and all Michiganders to stay home — with certain exemptions — to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The order is in effect until at least April 14.

Since the virus arrived in our state, Michiganders have been doing their part to combat it. For most, this new order won’t change much of what we had already been doing — staying home and practicing good hygiene and social distancing when we must leave the house.

The order prevents gatherings of any size and closes all nonessential businesses. It does not prohibit essential activities. Grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will remain open. Carryout and delivery from restaurants are still allowed. Residents can also still go outdoors for things like exercise or to take your pet for a walk.

Employees with questions about their status should call their employers. Here is a link to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s list of essential workforce: While the federal list can provide guidance, the governor’s order includes additional workers.

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State coronavirus hotline launched

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services launched a hotline about COVID-19. Residents with any questions about the virus may call 1-888-535-6136 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.

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. If you do not have a doctor, call your nearest hospital or local health department.

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Resources for workers/families affected by coronavirus or closures

211: This service connects you with thousands of nonprofit and governmental resources in your area, such as food pantries, bill pay assistance, family services, utility assistance and more. The 211 system is available by dialing 2-1-1 on your phone or by going to

MI Bridges: This consists of benefits and coverage through the Michigan Department of Health and Human services, such as food assistance, health care and state emergency relief. You may access MI Bridges at

Unemployment: Click here for a fact sheet for claiming unemployment benefits.

Guidelines for unemployment benefits were temporarily expanded to cover the following:

Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have child care responsibilities due to school closures, or those who are forced to care for loved ones who become ill.
Workers who are sick, quarantined or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or who are laid off.
First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.

You may file an unemployment claim at

COVID-19 impacting schools

With our schools being shut down during the emergency, many districts, educators and families have turned to online educational enrichment opportunities to help keep students engaged.

Unfortunately, last week the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) determined that work done outside of the classroom during school closures due to COVID-19 will not qualify toward the instructional time required by state law. This is the wrong message to be sending.

The tremendous work being done by teachers and students under these unprecedented circumstances is important and worthwhile, and I completely disagree with the MDE interpretation.

The Senate has already worked with the governor in a bipartisan manner to approve $150 million in funding to combat the coronavirus, and we are actively involved in discussions to address the many obstacles it has caused for Michigan students, parents and teachers. This includes questions about the school calendar, learning outside the classroom, and more. We are also including education groups in these deliberations.

These are critical decisions that will significantly impact the lives of students, parents and teachers across the U.P. and the rest of our state.

Cancellations and changes due to COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed normal operations for many businesses, institutions and community organizations across the Upper Peninsula. TV6 & FOXUP has compiled a comprehensive list of cancellations and changes. That information can be accessed here:

COVID-19 concerns lead to Mackinac Bridge Authority not accepting cash

Until further notice, the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) announced that it will not accept cash transactions, in accordance with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendations designed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

All Mackinac Bridge customers will need to pay with a credit or debit card or use a MacPass card or windshield sticker. The MBA previously announced suspension of its driver assistance program and snowmobile, passenger and bicyclist transportation programs as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If drivers wish to pay with credit or debit cards, the toll collector will hold the credit card device out to the driver so they can insert their card. Drivers will not need to hand their cards to the toll collector.

For more information, visit the MBA website at

To open a MacPass account, visit

Support your local businesses

Small businesses forced to close their doors or significantly alter their operations need your help. WLUC-TV reports a “Great American Takeout” is being promoted to support local restaurants by the nonprofit InvestUP.

There are at least three ways you can participate. One, order delivery or takeout from your favorite restaurant; two, order food for others that can’t shelter at home and are still working; or three, buy a gift card to use later.

InvestUp has also created a webpage listing business support during COVID-19. Click here for more information.

U.P. businesses helping fill needs during COVID-19 response

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Throughout the country, companies have taken up the effort to fill the need of so many physicians and hospitals to produce surgical masks, gowns and other health care equipment, like ventilators.

Here in the U.P., Stormy Kromer and Calumet Electronics have answered the call to join the effort.

According to a local media report, Stormy Kromer said it received calls from local hospitals asking if it had the capacity to produce masks and/or hospital gowns. A team of sewing engineers and production and purchasing managers designed a mask and started production on 1,000. They are also making gowns.

Likewise, Calumet Electronics is receiving urgent orders to manufacture circuit boards for breathing devices, such as ventilators, which are in short supply. It is one of only a small group of such companies in the country that manufactures printed circuit boards.

Calumet has been recognized as an essential business and will remain open during the governor’s order to continue producing parts for these lifesaving devices.

In addition to these two businesses, many other establishments and groups are also going above and beyond to fight COVID-19.

MAPS Makerspace at Marquette Area Public Schools is producing medical face shields with a 3D printer.
906 Family Dentistry in Ishpeming has led a personal protective equipment (PPE) drive.
The Portage Health Foundation, Superior Health Foundation, and Community Foundation of Marquette County/United Way of Marquette County have created COVID-19 relief funds.
Masks for Marquette and Fraser & Tilney, LLC (Houghton) are producing and donating masks (with Marquette’s Beth Millner Jewelry donating 1,000 nose pieces for the masks).
Michigan Technological University is collaborating to research and develop open source ventilators, while Northern Michigan University students are designing and producing PPE for U.P. medical staff.

These are just a few highlights my office has been made aware of. We truly live in someplace special!

Financial relief available to businesses hurting from COVID-19 shutdown

Businesses throughout the U.P. are experiencing unprecedented hardship due to the coronavirus outbreak and the necessary measures that have been taken to help reduce the spread of the virus. Thankfully, there are some resources available to help minimize the losses that are being caused by this unprecedented situation.

Economic development organizations from across the Upper Peninsula have come together to share the most relevant resources to help with workforce and financial impacts. For more information on this uniquely U.P. effort, go to or call 906-563-1212.

The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved up to $20 million in support for small business owners, and the Michigan Small Business Relief Program has $410 million in grants to award and another $10 million in low-interest loans to offer. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation expects 1,100 businesses will be eligible for these two economic relief programs.

The grant funding will be up to $10,000 to each small business (50 employees or fewer) that has demonstrated financial hardship from the COVID-19 virus. Loans are available between $50,000 and $200,000 to qualified small businesses (fewer than 100 employees) that have been financially harmed by Executive Order 2020-9 and cannot access credit from other financial entities.

Additional information for businesses to consider:

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Michigan small businesses and nonprofits will have access to the $1 billion that Congress has provided to the Small Business Administration for economic injury disaster loans. Firms can look here for more information: and formally apply at this website:
Federal Income Tax Day has been delayed three months to July 15. Individuals and businesses are encouraged to file on time if they have refunds expected.

Michigan's 38th Senate District

The 38th State Senate District includes the counties of Alger, Baraga, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon, and Schoolcraft in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula.

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Thank you for subscribing to my electronic newsletter! I am honored to represent you in the state Senate. 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 38th District E-news. You may sign up for it also at my website.

Senator Ed McBroom
7200 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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