With coronavirus cases still present in Michigan and the governor’s shelter in place order extended through mid-May, tensions are beginning to mount. Michigan’s vulnerable populations are at risk.
Many people have lost work. In some areas, it’s difficult to find access to basic necessities like toilet paper. The weather has kept many people indoors.
It is a trying time for everyone.
However, several populations may be more vulnerable than ever to violence, neglect, and infection.
Who are they, and how can the state of Michigan meet their needs during quarantine?
A standoff with police in Jackson, Michigan highlights this problem. A woman called 911 saying her boyfriend had assaulted her and that he was threatening her with a gun. He finally surrendered himself to police after a four-hour standoff.
Being trapped at home with a potential abuser – with the presence of guns – could be lethal for people who were already at risk for domestic abuse.
However, they aren’t the only ones at higher risk during Michigan’s stay-at-home order.
Michigan’s Most Vulnerable Populations
Cold weather and homelessness are never a good mix. This population is sicker and more at risk for contracting COVID-19.
Also, while some homeless shelters have remained open, many of them have closed as staff people are themselves older and more at risk.
In the shelters that remain open, the existing situation is crowded and stressful for everyone inside.
Domestic Violence Victims
Victims of domestic violence have little help from the outside world when they are forced to stay inside their homes with an abuser. Domestic violence shelters remain open in Michigan.
Sexual Assault Victims
Some medical professionals are worried that sexual assault victims will assume they can’t go to the doctor or hospital to report an assault during this crisis.
According to Bridge, physicians interviewed said “they understand why people might be reluctant to visit a hospital during the spread of the coronavirus. But they said for patients with illnesses or injuries unrelated to the virus, there is little to fear.“
Jails and prisons, like crowded homeless shelters, are the perfect environment for the spread of this virus. Many inmates are scared, and many prisons are rife with the disease. Some states are releasing some prisoners during the pandemic.
With schools closed, children who are in danger of abuse at home have many fewer opportunities for intervention. Schools remain the most significant single entity to report cases to CPS.
It is also more difficult for families who rely on school lunches for their children at this time. There is helpful information about where to find free lunch in Michigan during the COVID crisis.
It is top news that elderly patients are most vulnerable to the virus and that it is infecting nursing homes and killing residents at a higher rate than almost anywhere else. What you might not see is how isolated the rest of the elderly residents are.
Disabled kids and adults may not have regular access to therapies and interactions they rely on to live.
No matter who you are, the governor’s order does not mean you have to stay in a dangerous situation or keep you from getting the help or medical attention you need.
If you are facing criminal charges stemming from the coronavirus stay-at-home order in Michigan, we will do everything we can to bring that truth to light in your case. Reach out for help today.