Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s where we stand today

Death toll rises to 60

A satellite image of Michigan (NASA)

Henry Ford Health addresses letter

DETROIT – A letter making the rounds on social media from Henry Ford Health System is real, but it’s not active -- right now. The letter lays out a plan for doctors to have to decide which patients to care for in the event of a ventilator shortage. The letter was spread on social media on Thursday. Henry Ford Health told Local 4: “This letter is part of a larger policy document developed for an absolute worst case scenario. It is not an active policy within Henry Ford, but, is part of our emergency response planning, as is standard with most reputable health systems.”

Here’s what happened Thursday:

Disaster declaration requested

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s letter asking President Donald Trump for a major disaster declaration includes a request for a number of forms of individual and public assistance.

MORE: Here’s the help Michigan could get during coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

If the declaration is granted in full, the state would receive money to set up field hospitals, as well as funds to provide mental health care to people impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and money to help families with housing and food.

Death toll rises to 60

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 2,856 as of Wednesday, including 60 deaths, state officials report.

Thursday’s total represents an increase of 562 cases, the biggest single-day jump so far in the states. Wednesday’s final total was 2,294 confirmed cases.

Beaumont Wayne emergency room closing

Beaumont Health said it is caring for 650 patients with coronavirus (COVID-19) at its eight hospitals, as of 4 p.m. Thursday.

It has already transferred some patients as part of its disaster plan, and it will be expanding that plan to care for more potential patients. Currently, the health system is sending patients to its Wayne location.

To make room for more patients, the Emergency Center at Beaumont Wayne and obstetrical services will be temporarily closed as soon as possible.

REAL ID deadline extended

The REAL ID deadline for Michigan and all other states requiring the new form of identification has been extended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The Department of Homeland Security announced that the deadline will now be Oct. 1, 2021, a year later than the original deadline.

Ford has plans to reopen plants

Ford Motor Co. announced it is aiming to bring “key plants” back online by April 6 and April 14.

Ford said it is planning to resume production at Hermosillo Assembly Plant on April 6 on one shift. On April 14, Ford is planning to start building vehicles at Dearborn Truck Plant, Kentucky Truck Plant, Kansas City Assembly Plant’s Transit line and Ohio Assembly Plant.

To support these assembly plants, Ford said it also is aiming to resume production April 14 at:

  • Dearborn Stamping Plant
  • Dearborn Diversified Manufacturing Plant
  • Integrated stamping plants within Kansas City and Kentucky Truck plants
  • Sharonville Transmission Plant
  • Portions of Van Dyke Transmission (Sterling Heights), Lima Engine and Rawsonville Components plants

Explore Michigan virtually

How about some good news?

While you are social distancing, you can explore Michigan virtually.

The #VirtualPureMichigan campaign will include live cameras showing places such as Traverse City, Holland and Frankenmuth, as well as virtual tours of museums, and other related educational experiences.

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention and Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

MORE: Beaumont Health launches coronavirus hotline for patients with symptoms

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.