There’s nothing more important than the health and safety of our communities. While the coronavirus is present in Michigan, there is no need to panic. We will get through this and things will return to normal.
In the meantime, I want you to know what is being done to protect people and our state from this virus. This letter serves as a legislative update about the action we have taken to address evolving challenges with the coronavirus.
I am staying in contact with state officials, hospitals, health experts, school groups, local governments and others who are working on this full-time. I will continue to monitor this situation closely and keep our community informed as developments arise.
State Rep. Triston Cole
Providing accurate information
As information about the virus is changing daily, it is important to seek information from reliable sources.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has created a new coronavirus hotline. Public health experts are available to answer questions about COVID-19 and direct residents to the right resources in their local communities and within state government.
The hotline will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1-888-535-6136.
Emergency budget action plan
I recently supported two emergency budget action plans to address evolving challenges with the coronavirus. Steps are being taken right now to help mitigate our risk and provide help to people who need it.
The most-recent measure brings the total state funding approved to $150 million, including the $25 million previously approved by the Legislature. The plan will provide $50 million for immediate needs such as virus monitoring and testing, $50 million for critical health care providers to expand capacity for coronavirus response, and $50 million to keep in reserve for when necessary. The financial support also comes with important accountability and legislative oversight provisions to ensure money will be spent in the best interests of the public and taxpayers.
I also supported legislation that will assist with any future General Fund appropriations that are deemed necessary by the Legislature to address coronavirus.
Protecting our students
We must ensure our students are not left behind in the aftermath of the coronavirus ramifications. While I agree that school closures were necessary, I also recognize that it will be challenging for our schools.
I want to assure you that I am working with the governor’s office, the school community and my colleagues in the Legislature on the school calendar issue. I understand the challenges that added school days can cause for families. I have always advocated for our students. At this time, we need to understand the full scope of the issue before we can tackle it. In these unprecedented times, taking a piece meal approach is not the answer. In the coming days and weeks ahead, when we know more, I’m confident that this issue will be addressed.
I continue to actively consider policy proposals to help people who are suffering during this time. I am also always open to hearing new ideas from you. Every person in Michigan has a different perspective on the issues brought about by this virus and I want to hear them. We’re all in this together, and I am confident we will make our way out of this difficult situation if we remain united.
Protect yourself and others
Please continue to practice smart and healthy habits to curtail the spread of COVID-19. The CDC recommends frequent handwashing, regular cleaning of commonly used surfaces and limited social interaction, especially when sick.
It is important to educate yourself about the virus frequently, and to ensure you read information from reliable sources. In the coming days and weeks, I encourage you to visit www.Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and/or www.CDC.gov/Cornavirus for the most timely and accurate information.
Monthly office hours
All office hours have been canceled for the immediate future. As soon as it is safe to gather and meet, I will be holding office hours. This is a decision to protect all the communities that I serve. Below is the contact information for my office, which remains available and open to constituent contact. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.
Serving the people of Antrim, Charlevoix, Montmorency, Oscoda, and Otsego Counties is very important to me. I encourage residents to contact my office