Here is the latest Michigan news from The Associated Press at 8:40 a.m. EDT
DETROIT (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is relaxing licensing rules so employers and schools can quickly create “disaster relief” child care centers during the coronavirus emergency. The facilities will prioritize slots for workers in certain essential fields like health care and law enforcement. Whitmer’s order Wednesday came after officials said a man in his 50s who had COVID-19 died at a Detroit-area hospital. It’s the first coronavirus death in Michigan. Meanwhile, Detroit’s three automakers agreed to close all U.S. factories due to virus fears. The U.S. and Canada have agreed to temporarily close their shared border to nonessential travel.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Closing schools to combat the spread of the coronavirus has prompted several states to cancel the standardized testing that is dreaded by students and teachers alike. Many states were scheduled to begin testing in April but now face school closures that could last weeks or longer. States are asking federal education officials to waive federal testing requirements. Many states use high-stakes testing to advance students to the next grade level and rate schools and teachers. Education groups also say bringing kids in for testing after weeks of online learning wouldn’t be fair to them.
DETROIT (AP) — Concerns about the spreading coronavirus has forced most of North America’s auto plants to close temporarily. Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Honda and Toyota said on Wednesday they would shut down all factories in the region, citing concerns for employees who work in close quarters building automobiles. Nissan is closing U.S. factories. In addition, Hyundai closed its Alabama plant after a worker tested positive for the virus. Detroit’s three automakers said their closures would begin this week, while Honda and Toyota will start next week. Nissan will close U.S. plants starting Friday. Closings will run from a few days to over two weeks, but most automakers said they’ll have to evaluate the spread of the virus before reopening.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Applications for jobless benefits are surging in some states as coronavirus concerns shake the U.S. economy. The sharp increase comes as governments have ordered millions of workers, students and shoppers to stay home as a precaution against spreading the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. In some states, the demand for help may outstrip the ability to pay claims. The U.S. Labor Department says 21 states began the year with unemployment insurance fund balances below the levels recommended to stay solvent in a recession. States are expected to get some help from the federal government.