Michigan health chief confirms 15 deaths due to COVID-19

State confirms more than 1,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19

A virus (WDIV)

Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun announced Monday the state has 15 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19.

UPDATE March 29: Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases total 5,486; Death toll rises to 132

Khaldun spoke during a news conference alongside Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as the governor announced a stay-at-home order. The health chief said the state now has 1,232 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus pandemic.

“The cases are spread out across dozens of counties across the state, including the Upper Peninsula,” Khaldun said.

The medical chief said there are dozens of people who are in intensive care at Michigan hospitals.

“We know that there is community spread in several areas of the state,” Khaldun said. “We knew this day would potentially come. If we do nothing, very rough models estimate that the number of cases in Michigan could increase five-fold in the next week. We are acting right now to decrease that number. If everyone stays at home, if they only leave their home for essential reasons and practice the appropriate social distancing, we will slow the spread of the disease.”

Executive Order 2020-21 prohibits all businesses and operations from requiring workers to leave their homes, unless those workers are necessary to sustain or protect life or to conduct minimum basic operations.

Businesses and operations are to designate the workers that meet those criteria, and must adopt social distancing practices and other mitigation measures to protect workers and patrons in the performance of that necessary in-person work.

Workers that are necessary to sustain or protect life include those in health care and public health, law enforcement and public safety, grocery store workers, and more. Restaurants can continue with carry out and delivery services.

Read more: Michigan issues stay-at-home order amid coronavirus: Here’s what it means