Oakland Together: COVID Update ∎ A message from David Coulter



April 6, 2020

Oakland County Executive Biweekly Newsletter

Dear friends,

The next couple of weeks won’t be easy. I wish I could tell you it was getting better, but we must prepare ourselves for the worsening case and death numbers locally, in our state, and across the country. These are sobering numbers and reflect the impact on our families, our friends, colleagues and each of our communities. I can promise you in Oakland County – working with our health experts – we’ll share the facts, we will continue to push for strict protocols, fight for the resources required, and take care of anyone in need.

Now is the time for us to double down on adherence to the Governor’s Stay at Home Order. It continues to be vital that everyone stay home and limit the times you must go out.  The recent guidance from the CDC indicates that even those without symptoms could spread the virus.

When I called the State of the County address “Oakland Together” in February I never expected it to be as important as it is today.

Stay home. Stay Safe. Stay in touch.




David Coulter
Oakland County Executive

Overflow Capacity Coming to Suburban Showplace in Novi

FEMA has signed a contract with Suburban Collection Showplace, the convention center in Novi, to set up a field hospital. The Army Corps of Engineers, assisted by the Michigan National Guard, will contract with our local construction workers to construct the field hospital. We anticipate it will take 7-14 days for the initial build-out to be complete. We are now working with local hospitals and the Guard on staffing this site when it is ready.

COVID-19 Zip Code Map

To help you better understand the spread of the coronavirus, we launched a map of Oakland County that displays the number of cases by Zipcode. The map lists the location by Zipcode of the infected person. It is not an indication of where the disease may have been transmitted. Health experts tell us you can assume the disease is in the community and it is everywhere. Just because a community has more or fewer cases is not an indication of the relative safety of those communities.

The map is found at https://www.oakgov.com/covid/casesByZip.html

Health Order Compliance Toolkits

Our Oakland County Health Officer issued an order on March 25 requiring essential businesses that remain open to screen their employees for COVID-19 symptoms and ensure social distancing practices for customers at the businesses.  Because of concerns we have heard from residents, we are working with local partners to provide health order compliance toolkits to the big box stores and local stores as well. If you have a concern you would like us to follow-up on, please email hotline@oakgov.com

Unemployment Resources and Expanded Benefits for Workers Impacted by COVID-19

Oakland County Michigan Works! is ready to help you with the information you need quickly in the event of a layoff or closure resulting from COVID-19. You can find the service center nearest you and a complete list of services at www.oaklandcountyMiWorks.com. Our service center teams are available only via telephone or virtual/remote appointments.

For those seeking unemployment assistance, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order and the federal government’s CARES Act, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Compensation Program offers expanded benefits to those impacted by COVID-19.

  • Benefits for all unemployed workers are increased by $600 a week above amount typically awarded through state unemployment insurance for up to four months (ending Dec. 31, 2020)
  • Benefit payments extended from standard 20 weeks to 39 weeks
  • Application eligibility period increased from 14 to 28 days
  • In-person registration and work search requirements suspended
  • Benefits now available to workers who do not already qualify, including self-employed, 1099-independent contractors, gig and low-wage workers and those with a limited work history

In addition to those impacted by a layoff or loss of work, unemployment benefits have been extended to the following people:

  • Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have childcare 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 are impacted by a layoff
  • First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/UIA. We know that the state system has been overwhelmed by the number of individuals filing for unemployment insurance.  They are working to increase capacity on the website and the phone system.

Oakland County Helps Feed First Responders as Part of Larger Food Program

We are helping feed first responders in five south Oakland County communities being hardest hit by the coronavirus. The first responders have little time to shop or cook for themselves, so they are being provided with pre-cooked and flash-frozen meals through Jack Aaronson, founder of Garden Fresh and local restaurants.

The county is also working with various local agencies, the Lafayette Market in Pontiac and Beans & Cornbread in Southfield, to provide 700 meals twice a day to individuals in shelters and transitional living through Lighthouse and Hope Warming Center. Lighthouse and Oakland University are coordinating various food pantries in a single drive-up distribution point at OU.

Help Available for Small Businesses in Oakland County

Our economic development team has moved quickly to get impacted small businesses the immediate help they need. With a $1.15 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and a matching $1.15 million grant from the County Board of Commissioners, we have created the Oakland County Stabilization Fund for Small Businesses. This gives our small business owners an immediate infusion of capital at a time when they need it most. Small business loans are also available.

To be eligible, the business must have experienced significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak or related state executive orders.  Applications were due Monday, April 6th.  Local committees are scheduled to review the applications this week with award announcements next week. Our EDCA staff is also working to ensure that local businesses can access the federal programs now available to help small businesses.

Oakland County Residents and Businesses Step-Up to Help Front Line Heroes

On Friday, a team of volunteer pilots flew from Oakland County International Airport to Indiana to pick up a shipment of much-needed face shields for the health professionals. They did it on their own time and own dime, collecting this desperately needed equipment. They answered the call for help, and I can’t thank them enough for their generosity and can-do spirit.

I’ve been overwhelmed by the response of Oakland County residents and businesses who are committed to helping our health professionals and first responders by donating much needed personal protective equipment.

Since the call was issued for community assistance, residents and business have donated more than 11,000 N95 masks, 60,000 surgical masks, 64,000 pairs of gloves and 1,400 medical gowns to the Oakland County Emergency Operations Center.

This critical equipment is being distributed as quickly as possible to local hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and other health care facilities where medical professionals and first responders desperately need these items. There is a continuing need for face shields, masks, splash shields, and gowns.

If you can provide any of those items, the donation drop-off point is Oakland County Farmers Market, 2350 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. This is truly Oakland together.

Updated COVID-19 Information

Oakland County Executive David Coulter wants you and your family to have the most current information about COVID-19 and how to stay safe.

Please go to OakGov.com/COVID for current information about the disease, ways to protect you and your family, and to find a host of timely and useful resources.

  • If you have immediate health-related questions, please call Nurse on Call at 1-800-848-5533 or email noc@oakgov.com
  • For non-health questions or requests, contact the Oakland County Help Hotline at (248) 858-1000 or hotline@oakgov.com 
  • If you would like to receive text message alerts with current COVID-19 information, text "oakgov" to 28748.

Oakland County is committed to keeping you safe and informed.