Coronavirus in Michigan: First death, 45 new cases, automaker plants shut down

Ford, GM, FCA plants shut down due to coronavirus

A virus (WDIV)

DETROIT – Closures related to the coronavirus pandemic have continued Wednesday in Michigan, as new positive cases and exposure locations promise to pop up around the state.

There were 11 new cases confirmed Tuesday, including in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. The UAW began pushing the Big 3 automakers to shut down their plants. A second West Bloomfield nursing home resident tested positive, as did employees at the Detroit Detention Center and Michigan Department of Corrections.

Click here to read a summary of Tuesday’s coronavirus headlines.

Here’s a look at what’s going on Wednesday.

First confirmed coronavirus death in Michigan

A man being held at a Wayne County hospital who tested positive for COVID-19 has died, health officials said. He is the first confirmed coronavirus death in the state of Michigan.

Officials said the man was in his 50s and had other underlying medical conditions.

Number of Michigan cases rises to 110

State officials reported an additional 45 coronavirus cases Wednesday, bringing Michigan’s total to 80. There were initially 15 new cases confirmed before state health officials said they’re aware of an additional 30 cases.

The 15 initial cases included seven people in Oakland County, six people in Wayne County and two people in Macomb County, officials said. Five of the six Wayne County cases are in Detroit.

Health officials also announced the first presumptive case in Livingston County -- a woman who has no history of travel.

A Chesterfield Township learning center is closing for at least 14 days after a child tested positive for coronavirus.

Big 3 automakers all shut down plants

Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler have all agreed to close their plants due to the coronavirus, according to AP reports.

The final assembly building at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne was closed before the announcement because an employee tested positive for the coronavirus.

Even earlier Wednesday morning, FCA suspended production at its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant after it was announced Tuesday that an employee at the plant tested positive for coronavirus.

The companies were feeling pressure from the UAW, which wanted plants closed to protect workers from being together in close quarters.

US, Canada close border to ‘non-essential traffic’

The U.S. and Canada have agreed to temporarily close their shared border to nonessential travel, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday as the two nations work to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic,” Trump tweeted.

Officials announced the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel will soon close.

Michigan lawmakers approve $125 million in emergency relief

Late Tuesday night, Michigan lawmakers approved $125 million in emergency relief to fight the coronavirus outbreak, including $50 million to help expand the health care system’s capacity amid rising cases during the pandemic.

The bill cleared both the Senate and House unanimously and was sent to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for her signature.

Caesars Entertainment shutters North American properties

Caesars Entertainment has shut down all of its properties in North America, adding to the growing list of closures as the United States and Canada try to combat the spread of coronavirus.

“It has become clear that we must take this extreme action to help contain the virus and protect the safety and well-being of our team members and guests,” Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio said.

Fairlane Town Center closes for cleaning after positive test

Health officials shut down the Fairlane Town Center on Wednesday for a deep cleaning after a visitor tested positive for coronavirus.

On Tuesday, a person who attended a movie at Fairlane AMC Theaters was announced as a presumptive positive case of coronavirus, officials said. That person attended the movie March 10.

The center is closed for a precautionary deep cleaning and will reopen Thursday, according to officials.

Lawrence Tech postpones commencement

Lawrence Technological University postponed its commencement, originally set for May 9, until December.

The University of Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State are among the other colleges in the state to postpone graduation ceremonies.

“We sincerely regret the unprecedented need to postpone this ceremony that celebrates such an important life accomplishment,” President Virinder Moudgil said in the email. “However, for the safety and health of our graduates and guests, we are following the guidelines of health officials who warn against large gatherings in that time frame.”

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