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Kelley-Cawthorn Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

MAB’s lobbyist firm Kelly-Cawthorn is providing this update for MAB members:

We hope you and your families are managing well and doing your best to stay safe and healthy during this uncertain time.  The total number of cases in the state has risen to 56,014, including 5,372 deaths.  This includes 3,604 cases and 65 deaths within the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Michigan Legislature

The Senate adopted SCR 26 today.  The resolution demands that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer makes data available on COVID-19 hospitalizations, available hospital beds, other available resources (including ventilators and PPE), and other statistics on a county basis.

The Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic launched a website for Michiganders to submit their stories about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted them.

Michigan Executive and State Departments

Gov. Whitmer has requested that President Donald Trump approve an extension of Title 32 authority to use Michigan National Guard forces to combat the spread of COVID-19 through July 31.  Title 32 gives federal pay and benefits for national guardsmen.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced today that branch offices will open June 1 by appointment only for essential transactions not available online.  This includes driver licenses and state identification transactions that must occur in person, title transfers, certain testing, and seasonal commercial vehicle renewals.


Our colleagues at Cornerstone Government Affairs in Washington, D.C. have highlighted some updates on the federal level:

  • The FDA issued a guidance entitled “Reporting a Temporary Closure or Significantly Reduced Production by a Human Food Establishment and Requesting FDA Assistance During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.” The guidance provides a mechanism for FDA-regulated establishments (human food facilities and farms) to voluntarily notify the agency of temporary closures and significant reductions in operations and to request assistance from FDA on issues that might affect continuity of their operations during the pandemic.
  • The FDA issued a guidance document entitled “Effects of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency on Formal Meetings and User Fee Applications” to provide answers to frequently asked questions. The agency is providing answers concerning certain aspects of sponsor requests for formal meetings with industry, user fee applications goals and timelines, and prioritization of drug and biological application reviews.
  • The FDA issued a letter to health care providers to remind reprocessing staff in health care facilities to use the correct sterilization cycle associated with certain models of the Advanced Sterilization Products (ASP) STERRAD Sterilization Systems and to only decontaminate compatible N95 or N95-equivalent respirators for reuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. These sterilization systems help increase the availability of respirators by allowing decontaminated compatible respirators to be reused so health care workers on the front lines can be better protected when providing care to patients with COVID-19.
  • The FDA took a new step to support the agency’s evaluation of diagnostic tests for COVID-19, by providing a SARS-CoV-2 reference panel. Reference panels are an additional step to ensure the quality of the tests, validation of new assays, test calibration, and monitoring of assay performance. Nucleic acid tests identify infection by confirming the presence of a virus’ genetic material (RNA) and the FDA-supplied reference panel provides developers access to this material. The FDA’s reference panel is an independent performance validation step for diagnostic tests of SARS-CoV-2 infection that are being used for clinical, not research, purposes. The FDA panel is available to commercial and laboratory developers who are interacting with the FDA through the pre-EUA process.
  • The FDA is hosting a virtual Town Hall on June 3rd at 12:15 PM for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers that are developing or have developed diagnostic tests for COVID-19. The purpose of this Town Hall is to help answer technical questions about the development and validation of tests for COVID-19.
  • In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, state and local governments, hospitals, and others are developing alternate care sites to expand capacity and provide needed care to patients. CMS published a fact sheet that provides state and local governments developing alternate care sites (ACSs) with information on how to seek payments through Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for acute inpatient and outpatient care furnished at the site. The Federal Healthcare Resiliency Task Force issued a toolkit to help state and local governments develop an ACS.
  • The CDC published more new COVID-19 documents to its dashboard yesterday. Some highlights are: funeral guidance, updated considerations for restaurants and bars, a revised map of travel recommendations by country, and financial resources.
  • Education Sec. Betsy DeVos acknowledged Tuesday that tribal schools have not received their COVID-19 relief funds yet because the Bureau of Indian Education programs, the Education department, and the Interior department have not agreed on terms to distribute the money.
  • Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) wrote a letter to Education Sec. Betsy DeVos stating that the Department should provide more instructions to colleges handling financial aid appeals because of the pandemic, and that the Department should ask about loss of family income from the pandemic in the application for federal student aid.
  • Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn yesterday on the agency’s efforts to maintain food safety and address food supply disruptions in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A handful of COVID-19 hearings are slated to take place in the next few days:
  • No significant changes here. Republicans and Democrats still remain divided over a few key issues including liability protections (both for employers and colleges), unemployment insurance, and funding for state and local governments, which will need to be addressed before the Senate will consider further COVID-19 legislation.

Client News

  • DTE Energy has extended protections for vulnerable customers through June 12th.  The protections, which have been extended to match the governor’s “Safer at Home” order, include suspending disconnections for vulnerable populations, placing holds on disconnections under certain circumstances, waiving deposits and reconnection fees, and extending access to flexible payment plans.


As things develop involving the COVID-19 outbreak in Michigan, please continue to share with us your organization’s developments.  Let us know how we can assist with distributing both good news and important information to government stakeholders.

The state’s MI Safe Start Map dashboard is available here.  Subscribe to the State of Michigan’s COVID-19 website here.  The state is also operating a coronavirus hotline at (888) 535-6136.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control updates information and resources here.

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