ELi Is Answering Your Local Coronavirus-Related Questions

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Photo by Gary Caldwell (ELi “sun” added)

ELi is getting lots of “small” questions related to life here under the public health emergency. Send us your questions and we’ll try to get them answered.

How to get tested for COVID-19 if you think you might have caught it:

Reader question: “ELi has been reporting that it’s hard to get tested locally. If I have symptoms, what can I do to get tested?”

According to Dr. Aron Sousa, interim dean at MSU’s College of Human Medicine, your physician has to put an order in at Sparrow Hospital – they can call it in or use the electronic health system. After the order is in from the doctor to the hospital, you can drive to Sparrow Hospital St. Lawrence Campus (at 1210 W. Saginaw St. in Lansing) and use the drive-through testing facility.

If you are house-bound, Sparrow will send someone to your house. Make sure you tell your physician if you cannot drive or be driven to Sparrow Hospital St Lawrence Campus.

Reminder: Work on isolating yourself while you feel sick.

How to pay City bills while City Hall is closed:

Reader question: “Now that all East Lansing buildings are closed to the public, are citizens ok mailing water payments due during the closure since we can’t drop them off? If they are postmarked before due but arrive during the closure will we be penalized?”

Mayor Ruth Beier checked on this reader’s question and responded for us: “In this state of emergency, the City will hold all residents harmless from effects of closing City Hall. For example, people can mail in their water bills and the postmark will be used as the date for determining timeliness. City staff is meeting on Monday (with social distancing precautions) to discuss all issues related to getting city services during this emergency period.”

Read updated info from the City about services available during the emergency.

Can the Ingham County Health Department do more?

Reader question: “Your recent story noted concerns regarding lack of social distancing in crowded East Lansing bars. It quoted a county health official saying they could not do anything not mandated by the governor. Is this really true?”

Answer: For a while, this is what the Ingham County Health Department was saying, and Council members were telling ELi that the City Attorney was agreeing (and they expressed frustration). But then Ingham County followed Oakland County and instituted a required 50 percent reduction on occupancy caps for bars and restaurants.

Now, Governor Whitmer has ordered all restaurants closed to dine-in service. Take-out and delivery is still available from many establishments and it may save some from going under. It will also help keep their staff from suddenly having zero income.

About ELi reporting non-coronavirus news:

Question: “I think ELi is a wonderful publication. I say that even as a conservative in a left-wing town with the expected liberal bent in many articles. I would suggest, however, that no matter how important you feel the Coronavirus coverage needs to be, that you continue to publish ‘normal’ articles. Yes, I’m one of those who believe this is a wholly overblown crisis. I’m skipping over all articles in all publications that refer to the virus which means I have little to read these days. Just hoping that my only reliable publication (ELi) will continue to give us a bit of normal life articles until this ‘crisis’ blows over.”

Answer: As our Associate Publisher Natalie Rose recently wrote, we are definitely working on continuing to bring non-COVID-19 news, but keep in mind that with many events cancelled, businesses shut-down, and the City and schools in a state of emergency, there’s not a lot else to report, and we are prioritizing information that could help people keep from getting sick or dying. We would like this reader (and everybody) to read this article.

Send us your questions – but also send us your little joys, please.

We are working on answering questions, but to keep us all from feeling so overwhelmed, we are also looking to report your little local joys. Know of something happy and local? Know of an act of kindness? Or just want to ask us a question? Drop a note here.

REMINDER: The City of East Lansing is under a State of Emergency and you are encouraged to practice social distancing. Read more about what the state of emergency means.

ELi has a special section dedicated to our reporting on COVID-19 for East Lansing. See it here and sign up for ELi’s mailer to stay informed

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