Morning Briefing Aug. 12, 2021: More than 840,000 Michigan residents without power after storms, tracking which Michigan school districts will require masks in fall

Here are this morning’s top stories

A downed power line catches fire Aug. 11, 2021 6 Mile Road just east of Levan Road in Livonia, Mich. (WDIV)

Massive power outages hit Michigan, nearing historic 2017 wind storm totals

More than 800,000 Michigan households were in the dark on Thursday morning after multiple rounds of severe storms blew through the Lower Peninsula over the last two days.

It’s the biggest power outage event since the record-breaking March 2017 wind storm, which resulted in nearly one million outages statewide. At the time, DTE called it “historic” in nature.

Read more here.

🔦 DTE Energy power outages in SE Michigan: More than 599K customers in the dark

🔦 Consumers Energy: 241K without power in Michigan after overnight storms

Why aren’t Michigan power lines underground?

Every time there’s a power outage in Metro Detroit, people ask the question: Why not bury the power lines?

DTE Energy says they have been burying lines when possible with new subdivisions -- but at the expense of developers and without impact to existing power infrastructure.

Here’s why DTE Energy says burying power lines might not be the best idea.

📷 StormPins: Photos of lightning, downed trees, downed power lines, flooding after storms hammer Metro Detroit

📷 Watch: Video of flooding on Metro Detroit roads, freeways on Aug. 12, 2021

Detroit Tigers lose third outfielder to injury in 24 hours, plan to call up prospect

The Detroit Tigers have now lost three outfielders to the injured list in less than 24 hours, and this time, they plan to call up a prospect as a replacement.

Niko Goodrum started in left field Wednesday night after both Akil Baddoo and Derek Hill were placed on the IL because of a collision in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game. The Tigers called up two infielders to replace Baddoo and Hill because Goodrum, Harold Castro and Eric Haase have the ability to play outfield, if needed.

Read more here.

US jobless claims near pandemic low as economy strengthens

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell for a third straight time last week, the latest sign that employers are laying off fewer people as they struggle to fill a record number of open jobs and meet a surge in consumer demand.

Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims fell to 375,000 from 387,000 the previous week. The number of applications has fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January as the economy has increasingly reopened in the aftermath of the pandemic recession.

Learn more here.

🎒 Tracking Michigan school districts, colleges requiring masks for 2021-2022 school year

Detroit’s QLINE to resume service in late September with free rides

Detroit’s streetcar rail service will resume in late September and will be free for the rest of the year.

The QLINE, which paused operations in March 2020 and hasn’t been in service since then, will resume service the week of September 27, according to M-1 RAIL.

QLINE will run every 15 minutes upon restart, with hours from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and Sunday. Rides will be free for the rest of 2021.

See the report here.

Weather forecast: Overnight storms cause flooding; more dangerous heat, storm chances today

Here is the weather forecast for Metro Detroit.

COVID in Michigan 💉

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 916,006 as of Wednesday, including 19,982 deaths, state officials report.

Wednesday’s update includes a total of 2,786 new cases and 24 additional deaths over a two-day period -- an average of 1,393 cases per day. Of the 24 deaths announced Wednesday, 12 were identified during a review of records.

On Monday, the state announced a total of 913,220 cases and 19,958 deaths.

Michigan is now reporting COVID-19 data on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Testing has dropped to around 10,000 diagnostic tests reported per day on average, with the 7-day positive rate at 6.93% as of Wednesday, slightly higher than the previous week. The positive test rate has been steadily climbing since the end of June, when it was at its lowest. Hospitalizations have been slowly increasing for the last two weeks.

Cases are rising again in Michigan. The state’s 7-day moving average for daily cases was 1,164 on Wednesday -- a significant jump since the beginning of July. The 7-day death average was 4 on Wednesday. The state’s fatality rate is 2.2%. The state also reports “active cases,” which were listed at 21,900 on Wednesday.

Michigan has reported more than 9.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered as of Tuesday, with 64.3% of 16+ residents having received at least one dose while 56.1% of 16+ residents are considered fully vaccinated.

Here’s a look at more of the data:

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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.