Morning Briefing April 15, 2021: Beaumont hospitals reach critical capacity as virus infections soar, Detroit urges residents to get COVID shot as vaccine participation dwindles

Here are this morning’s top stories

FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2020, file photo, registered nurse Chrissie Burkhiser cleans an emergency room suite after treating a COVID-19 patient at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) (Jeff Roberson, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Metro Detroit Beaumont hospitals hit critical capacity amid COVID surge

Beaumont Health says its Metro Detroit hospitals and staff have reached critical capacity levels amid the virus surge.

Officials announced Thursday morning that the number of COVID-19 patients at Beaumont hospitals has reached more than 800, exceeding the volume of patients seen during the state’s last virus surge in the fall. The health care system was reportedly only caring for 128 COVID-19 patients on Feb. 28.

Beaumont officials and health care workers are pleading for Michigan residents to “personally take immediate steps to help stop the spread of the virus.”

Read more here.

Michigan still isn’t issuing new COVID-19 restrictions -- here’s why

Despite COVID-19 cases that are rising at an alarming rate, Michigan officials still aren’t planning to mandate new restrictions. But why is there a reluctance to do so now, considering there have been two shutdowns in the past?

That question was posed to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday (April 14) during a COVID-19 briefing. Her answer hasn’t changed since last week.

Learn why here.

Whitmer asked about her aides going out of state despite administration discouraging travel

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was asked about two of her top aides, including the Michigan health director, going out of state for vacation despite the governor’s administration discouraging anyone from traveling.

“There have never been travel restrictions in Michigan,” Whitmer said. “There just haven’t been.”

Read more here.

Detroit renews calls for vaccinations as participation dwindles, virus surges

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations soaring throughout Detroit, city officials are renewing their calls for residents to get vaccinated while making it more convenient than ever to do so.

Detroit’s chief public health officer Denise Fair spoke with Local 4 Thursday morning to explain why the city’s vaccination numbers aren’t growing as fast as they hoped, and what they’re doing to ensure more residents get vaccinated.

Watch the interview here.

Daunte Wright, slain by police, known as jokester, young dad

Daunte Wright, who was recently shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer during a minor traffic stop, is remembered by loved ones as a good, loving kid who “everybody looked up to.”

“His smile — oh, Lord — the most beautiful smile,’' said his aunt, Naisha Wright, calling him “a lovable young man.”

Read the full story here.

Live at 10:15 a.m. today: Day 14 coverage of Derek Chauvin’s trial in George Floyd’s death

Weather: April snow showers

Here is the weather forecast for Metro Detroit.

Coronavirus in Michigan 💉

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 764,519 as of Wednesday, including 16,621 deaths, state officials report.

Wednesday’s update includes a total of 7,955 new cases and 35 additional deaths. On Tuesday, the state reported 756,564 total cases and 16,586 deaths.

Testing has been steady around 35,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate above 15% as of Tuesday, near the highest we’ve ever recorded. Hospitalizations have increased over the last several weeks, now near the highest point of the pandemic.

More: 13 takeaways from Whitmer’s COVID update: Michigan restrictions, why numbers are so high, vaccines

Michigan continues to lead the nation in new COVID-19 cases. The state’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 7,006 on Wednesday -- the highest since November. The 7-day death average was 41 on Wednesday, slightly higher than the last two weeks. The state’s fatality rate is 2.2%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 160,600 on Wednesday, nearing highs not seen since November.

More than 587,000 have recovered from the virus in Michigan.

Michigan has reported more than 5.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered as of Tuesday, with 42.5% of residents having received at least one dose, and 28.1% of residents fully vaccinated.

Here’s a look at more of the data:

Looking for COVID-19 vaccines in Metro Detroit: Track openings, clinics, appointments

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About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.