Lansing workers return to new normal

Across the Lansing area, workers have faced different challenges since March because of COVID-19. But for recent Mason High School graduate Reagan Bercaw, she said going back to her job at Plato’s Closet made her feel just as at home as she did all quarantine. “For me, coming back (to work) was really nice to finally have something that I actually had to do,” Bercaw said. “I hated sitting at home.”

Bercaw, like many others, was laid off March 23 while Plato’s Closet in East Lansing was closed during Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. Some employees resumed work May 14, but Bercaw came back June 1.

Senior living homes implement measures to protect residents

Signs like this are posted all around Rose Senior Living in Novi. Photo: Sophia Lada

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials and senior center care workers in the Midwest are implementing new policies and activities to best protect older adults considered at-risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19. 

Approximately two and a half million older adults live in assisted living or nursing homes in the U.S., according to The National Center for Biotechnology Information. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 776,093 cases in the U.S., resulting in 41,758 deaths, among those cases up to 11% of senior citizens have lost their life to the virus. Hospitals are taking specific precautions on older adult patients, making sure they are as safe as possible. Sydney Phipps, a scribe at Sparrow Hospital, wrote in a text about the experiences of at-risk patients.

Local performance artists turn to livestreams

Deanna Acquaviva of Wyandotte, Michigan just celebrated her second year as a drag entertainer, but instead of having a commemorative show, she practiced social distancing. Because live shows are temporarily halted, she has taken to livestreaming as her performance platform. Acquaviva, an alternative drag performer aka “Baha! Blast” said via email, she mixes numerous types of drag, including queen, king, cosplays, body paint, horror and sideshow acts into one for the best possible show. A few examples of the many transformations crowds can anticipate seeing from Baha!

South Lyon implements proactive, COVID-19 measures

South Lyon officials and the Cambrian Senior Living Center in the city made changes to benefit the health of the community after last week’s surge of COVID-19 cases in Michigan. This map shows where South Lyon is located in Michigan. It is a 56-minute drive to Lansing and a 43-minute drive to Detroit. Graphic: Sophia Lada using Canva

Older adults, as well as those with pre-existing health conditions, are more at risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19. Within the past two weeks, COVID-19 cases in Michigan have gone from single digits to more than 5,000 with one confirmed case in the South Lyon area in Salem Township. 

South Lyon’s response

Over the phone, South Lyon Mayor Daniel Pelchat said when this all started, the city urged people to drop off their bills to limit interactions at city hall, even though many in South Lyon enjoy coming in to see the staff.

Community supports Lansing restaurants via fundraisers

Kelsea Ellis, Lansing resident and former employee of Good Slice Pizza Co. in the city, is one of the thousands of restaurant and bar workers in Michigan left without a job and income. As of March 22, over 108,710 residents have filed unemployment claims, according to a Michigan.gov press release. “I have personally not received any money from the community and do not expect to,” she said in an email. “I’ve filed for unemployment and filed my taxes, so I’m hoping for some additional funds.”

Community support through GoFundMe

Ellis though has noticed people pitching in on crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe (that also has a small relief fund to help businesses) to help employees at local restaurants that closed due to COVID-19.

Fate of senior season rests on day-to-day decisions

High school seniors around the state have most likely played their last games in their high school careers including Okemos seniors Mitchell Sambaer and Rio Tomlinson; Sambaer waits to close another noteworthy basketball season while Tomlinson’s final season had yet to start.