MAC COVID-19 Update
Treasury webinar details deadlines, guidance on COVID funding

Counties confront a July 17 deadline to apply for reimbursements for public safety and public health payroll and benefit expenses for the employees substantially dedicated to responding or mitigating COVID-19 for the months of April and May 2020, Treasury officials told attendees of a webinar today.

The Michigan Department of Treasury presented information on the application process for counties and other local governments to receive funds appropriated through Senate Bill 690 from the $3 billion Michigan received in federal CARES Act funds. For those that were unable to watch the hour-long webinar, you can view the recording here .

The department also covered the water utility assistance program, the first responder hazard pay program and the $200 million for reimbursement of public safety and public health payroll and benefit costs for April 2020 through July 31, 2020.

In response to a MAC question Treasury said facility staff that have been deployed for cleaning, sanitizing or modifying workspaces to protect against the spread of the virus would be considered eligible as part of protecting public health and safety. If not all of the $200 million dedicated for this reimbursement is utilized in the first round of applications due on July 31, then a second round will be announced in August. Round 2 will cover the April and May expenses not already reimbursed and any of the same expenses incurred during the months of June and July. These funds will be prorated based on the percentage of the total filed claims, so it may not reimburse 100 percent of the expenses submitted. Distribution of the funds for the first round is anticipated to go out by Sept. 18, 2020, and the second round by Nov. 7, 2020.

As for the $100 million allocated for a $1,000 per first responder hazard pay program, Treasury said the application period is now through Sept. 30, 2020, but is on a first come, first served basis.

Although MAC read the boilerplate language in SB 690 to indicate that the funds were either payments ahead of expenditure or reimbursement for those that had the funds to give, the department has not made that clear at this point. It was indicted during the webinar that the payments must be made to the first responders by Sept. 30, 2020 However, the checks from the State to the county would go out no later than Nov. 14, 2020. This would not indicate a pre-payment program. A commitment was made by the presenters to look more into this process. Please remember, these funds are first come, first served, so get your applications moving.

MAC will be hosting a webinar its own webinar at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 13to discuss these issues in more detail.  Click here to register. If you have questions you would like answered, please submit them to Deena Bosworth at by noon on Friday, July 10.

The state Treasury Department has developed a website with numbered letters, communications and resources regarding COVID-19 information for local governments and school districts. This website was created to ensure that Michigan communities have access to the most up-to-date guidance and will be updated frequently with information and resources as they become available.

For more information on this issue, contact Deena Bosworth at .
Whitmer warns of need for public to wear masks

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer urged Michigan residents today to wear masks in public in the wake of rising COVID case rates in recent weeks, referencing large groups celebrating during the Independence Day holiday. Whitmer also said her administration would be looking for ways to strengthen the order for wearing masks to boost compliance.

In other remarks during her Thursday press conference, Whitmer noted that it took less than two weeks for Florida to go from 100,000 cases to 200,000 cases – and their caseloads are still growing. Michigan had 610 new cases reported on Wednesday, the highest number since May.

“For the sake of our loved ones, for the sake of our economy, please mask up,” she said.

Whitmer also highlighted disproportionate impacts that COVID has on communities of color in Michigan: “The virus shined a light on the staggering health disparities black Michiganders have faced long before COVID-19 hit our state.”

Due to this disparity, the Governor signed Executive Directive 2020-7 which directs the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to begin developing rules that will require implicit bias training as part of the knowledge and skills necessary for licensure, registration and renewal of licenses and registrations of health professionals in Michigan.

“There is no question that our health care workers have risked their own lives and saved countless others during the COVID pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “But the fact is that implicit bias exists, and studies show that it can have an impact on health outcomes.