12-7-2020 Update from MAHA District 4 Chairman
USA Hockey is meeting tonight to discuss the National Tournament dates and locations. Currently there are several age classifications that are scheduled to play in states that are currently not allowing hockey to be played. As soon as I hear about any changes, I will let you know. The dates may be moved to a later date as several states besides Michigan have suspended youth hockey.
All non national bound exceptions are suspended for this season, no minimum game count for a team or player. If a team is national bound, please submit a team or player exception if needed, as national bound teams are not exempt.
The District 4 dates are still a go for now, if the National Tournament dates change, our district date may change as well.
District credentialing will not be in person this year. The district will be meeting tonight to determine the credential process for this year. We have discussed having the teams email the entire book to a designated council member for review or all the teams from the same association will drop off the book at their home rink and a designated council member will pick the books up to review and return to the rink The concern for the email is scanning the different size scoresheets and if they can be read. I will let you know this week how the district will credential. Scheduling of the games can be done via email, as that is the way LCAHL has team schedules the games. The house team draw for brackets can be completed via a zoom meeting.
Thank you for your patience this season, this will be a season we all remember.
MAHA D4 Chair
FURTHER CLARIFICATION 12-9-2020
I spoke with George this evening and associations and teams may purchase ice to conduct LIMITED on-ice activities. There should be no games, no scrimmages, no working on the power play, face offs or other drills that may have contact. Think about using a station based ice activities. Facial coverings are required.
The fifth paragraph in the MAHA letter emailed spells this out.
Thanks and get the players on the ice!!!
Michigan law imposes on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) a duty to continually and diligently endeavor to “prevent disease, prolong life, and promote public health,” and gives the Department “general supervision of the interests of health and life of people of this state.” MCL 333.2221. MDHHS may “[e]xercise authority and promulgate rules to safeguard properly the public health; to prevent the spread of diseases and the existence of sources of contamination; and to implement and carry out the powers and duties vested by law in the department.” MCL 333.2226(d).
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death. It is caused by a new strain of coronavirus not previously identified in humans and easily spread from person to person. There is currently no approved vaccine for this disease. COVID-19 spreads through close human contact, even from individuals who may be asymptomatic.
In recognition of the severe, widespread harm caused by epidemics, the Legislature has granted MDHHS specific authority, dating back a century, to address threats to the public health like those posed by COVID-19. MCL 333.2253(1) provides that “[i]f the director determines that control of an epidemic is necessary to protect the public health, the director by emergency order may prohibit the gathering of people for any purpose and may establish procedures to be followed during the epidemic to insure continuation of essential public health services and enforcement of health laws. Emergency procedures shall not be limited to this code.” See also In re Certified Questions, Docket No. 161492 (Viviano, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part, at 20) (“[T]he 1919 law passed in the wake of the influenza epidemic and Governor Sleeper’s actions is still the law, albeit in slightly modified form.”); id. (McCormack, C.J., dissenting, at 12). Enforcing Michigan’s health laws, including preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting public health, requires limitations on gatherings and the establishment of procedures to control the spread of COVID-19. This includes limiting the number, location, size, and type of gatherings, and requiring the use of mitigation measures at gatherings as a condition of hosting such gatherings.
On March 10, 2020, MDHHS identified the first two presumptive-positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan. As of December 6, 2020, Michigan had seen 395,036 confirmed cases and 6,004 confirmed deaths attributable to COVID-19. Michigan was one of the states most heavily impacted by COVID-19 early in the pandemic, with new cases peaking at nearly 2,000 per day in late March. Strict preventative measures and the cooperation of Michiganders drove daily case numbers dramatically down to less than 200 confirmed cases per day in mid-June, greatly reducing the loss of life. Beginning in October, Michigan again experienced an exponential growth in cases. Daily new cases are now over 5,000, which is roughly three times higher than what was seen in the spring.
On November 15, 2020, MDHHS issued an order to slow the high and rapidly increasing rate of spread of COVID-19. While the rate of spread has been reduced, there are still tremendously high numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, which threaten hospital and public health capacity. As changes in data lag behind changes in policy by several weeks, it is difficult to determine at this time whether the order has sufficiently reduced the rate of spread. This is particularly true where travel and gatherings for the Thanksgiving holiday are applying upward pressure on the rate of spread.
The State of Michigan presently has a seven-day average of 522.3 cases per million people, which is five times higher than the case rate on October 1. Test positivity has increased from 3.2% in early October to 14% on December 5. Rising cases create significant pressure on our emergency and hospital systems. Although complaints of coronavirus-like illness in emergency departments are now starting to decrease for the state, the current rate remains near the all-time high, and is four times higher than early October. An average of 500 daily hospital admissions were seen in Michigan in the last week, with individuals under 60 years old accounting for almost a third of all new admissions. With over 4,000 Michiganders hospitalized for COVID-19, 18% of all available inpatient beds are now occupied by patients who have COVID-19, the highest number since mid-April. The state death rate is 9.1 deaths per million people and continues to increase. The death rate is seven times higher than it was in early October, and there are more than 650 weekly deaths in Michigan. We must act to control the high rate of spread in order to save lives as we push through this difficult phase of the pandemic, and await widespread distribution of an effective COVID-19 vaccine.
To protect vulnerable individuals, ensure the health care system can provide care for all health issues, and prevent spread in schools during the influenza season, we must reduce the spread of COVID-19. This necessitates use of more forceful mitigation techniques to reduce the spread of the virus. As such, it is necessary to issue orders under the Public Health Code addressing these topics.
Considering the above, and upon the advice of scientific and medical experts, I have concluded pursuant to MCL 333.2253 that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to constitute an epidemic in Michigan. I have also, subject to the grant of authority in 2020 PA 238 (signed into law on October 22, 2020), herein defined the symptoms of COVID-19 based on the latest epidemiological evidence. I further conclude that control of the epidemic is necessary to protect the public health and that it is necessary to restrict gatherings and establish procedures to be followed during the epidemic to ensure the continuation of essential public health services and enforcement of health laws. As provided in MCL 333.2253, these emergency procedures are not limited to the Public Health Code.
I therefore order that:
This order takes effect on December 9, 2020 at 12:01 AM, at which time the November 18, 2020, order entitled Gatherings and Face Mask Order is rescinded. This order remains in effect through December 20, 2020 at 11:59 PM. Persons with suggestions and concerns are invited to submit their comments via email to COVID19@michigan.gov.
Date: December 7, 2020
Robert Gordon, Director
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
December 8, 2020
To the Members of our Michigan Hockey Community:
On the afternoon of Monday, December 7, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the official extension of the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) Epidemic Order, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The extended pause will take place from Wednesday, December 9th through Sunday, December 20th .
While most of the updated order maintains the status quo, there are some notable revisions that directly impact our hockey activity. Although the updated order continues to prohibit organized sports gatherings(i.e. practices and games), ice rinks in Michigan are allowed to re-open for limited activities starting, Wednesday, December 9th. In addition, Section 4(e) of the December 7, 2020 Epidemic Order states that:
“Gatherings at indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks are prohibited, except for individual exercise or one-on-one instruction, and occupancy is limited to 20 persons per 1,000 square feet, including within the exercise space. Gatherings for the purpose of open skating are permitted only at outdoor rinks.”
Given the parameters summarized in this order, the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) gives the following guidance to our local program members:
1) Ice may be purchased to conduct limited on-ice activitiesfor the duration of the extended MDHHS Epidemic Order (Wednesday, December 9th – Sunday, December 20th). The on-ice focus should be limited to individual, one-on-one instruction to provide exercise, individual skills and non-contact activities for local program participants, within the Epidemic Order’s occupancy limitations(no spectators). Facial coverings are required at all times in the rink, both on-ice and off-ice. (NOTE: Local governments may impose more stringent restrictions, based on local conditions)
2) Games, scrimmages and tournaments will not be sanctioned in Michigan during this time period. Please note that any local associations or teams, that are discovered to be engaging in unsanctioned activity during the pause, will be in violation of its organization’s Affiliate Agreement and subject to disciplinary action.
3) The MAHA does not encourage, or recommend, out-of-state travel during this period. As a “sports organizer,” as defined under the Epidemic Order, the MAHA is not able to participate in any such gatherings in any matter. During the extended pause in activity, as required under the December 7th, 2020 Epidemic Order, our Interstate Travel Notification Form will be suspended for use.
a. The MAHA continues to caution local associations and teams that they may be defined as a “sports organizer,” and subject to penalties under this Emergency Order, should they organize gatherings of any kind during this period. Association Boards, Coaches & Managers are also potentially increasing their liability, if they continue to organize participation during this time.
b. Those organizations or teams that insist on fulfilling out-of-state travel plans are implored to proceed with heightened awareness and caution. Specifically:
i. Teams are expected to maintain heightened awareness of the evolving circumstances, pertaining to local and state government guidelines and restrictions, in any market they intend to travel to. Based on evolving risk mitigation strategies across the country, out-of-state activities are subject to change.
ii. Teams are required to adhere to all local and state government guidelines, imposed upon their travel destination. It is the responsibility of the team to identify those guidelines and proceeding accordingly. Furthermore, please continue to be mindful of group gatherings outside of the rink, and practice risk mitigation strategies out-ofstate, as well as in-state.
iii. As previously noted, the State of Michigan’s ongoing navigation of the COVID-19 pandemic may cause varying degrees of discomfort for families in your organization. We expect that all teams and associations respect the wishes of any families who choose not to follow through with scheduled team activities, and/or travel accommodations. Given the evolving circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, participants and families should not be subject to undue influence.
The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association will continue to provide updates, as new information becomes available. We are optimistic that the steps being taken will eventually lead us back to full capacity in our hockey activities. As always, we appreciate your patience and support!
George Atkinson, President
Jason Reynolds, Director of Operations & Marketing
Michigan Amateur Hockey Association