Michigan governor considers extension of ‘stay home’ order as coronavirus cases continue to rise

More than 15,000 COVID-19 cases, 600 deaths reported in Michigan

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during coronavirus media briefing on April 6, 2020 (WDIV)

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says the “stay-at-home” order, originally slated to end on April 14, will likely be extended as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Gov. Whitmer said she’s expecting an additional order this week for the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, but it’s unclear how long it would be extended for at this time.

Gov. Whitmer said the state “is not close to the apex yet,” and staying home is the best tool to keep people safe.

Monday marks three weeks since Gov. Whitmer’s order to close most public spaces, including restaurants, bars and gyms. Tuesday will mark two weeks since the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order went into effect, and four weeks since Michigan’s first confirmed cases.

“Hospitals are reporting that discharges are picking up, but that doesn’t mean the numbers are decreasing -- we’re just slowing the growth,” Gov. Whitmer said. “We’re not close to hitting the apex yet.”

“We are not out of the woods yet,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said, adding the 89 percent of hospitalizations for the virus are in Southeast Michigan.

Dr. Khaldun said the state is hoping to begin reporting recoveries “very soon.”

Related: University of Michigan Health starts reporting number of discharged COVID-19 patients

Last week, state officials suggested the state was likely a month or so away from an apex of cases, but over the weekend, the White House suggested cases in Metro Detroit could peak later this week.

Gov. Whitmer said the state’s models are looking at more Michigan specific data than federal models, repeating that they expect a peak in late April or early May.

Supplies to Michigan

Gov. Whitmer said the state is distributing 2.2 million masks purchased by the state.

FEMA is sending 300 ventilators, 1.1 million masks, 232,000 face shields and 2 million gloves in the next 24-48 hours, Gov. Whitmer said.

Gov. Whitmer also said the state issued a purchase of 1 million face shields from Ford over the next three weeks.

Gov. Whitmer suggested Michiganders wear a cloth, not medical, mask when out in public, but says residents should continue to stay at home.

“Do not go out of your home unless absolutely necessary," said Dr. Khaldun.

Unemployment site

Gov. Whitmer said the state is still in the process of upgrading the unemployment application site after unprecedented demand.

Gov. Whitmer said 1099-contract workers, self-employed and gig workers will be able to file for benefits, but the state is waiting on U.S. Department of Labor to issue rules and guidance.

Where cases stand

As of Sunday afternoon, Michigan has reported more than 15,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 600 deaths.

Michigan medical chief Dr. Joneigh Khaldun noted that the virus seems to be impacting minority communities harder than others, with 40 percent of deaths being African-American.

The state has not yet officially reported recoveries, but according to Johns Hopkins University, more than 17,000 have recovered in the U.S., with more than 330,000 cases reported across the country.

Worldwide, more than 1.2 million people have been confirmed infected and over 70,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. The true numbers are certainly much higher, because of limited testing, different ways nations count the dead and deliberate under-reporting by some governments.

The virus is spread by droplets from coughs or sneezes. For most people, the virus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. But for some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause pneumonia. Over 263,000 people have recovered worldwide.

Increase in cases doesn’t discredit social distancing

It is important to note that while the number of cases is going up, it does not mean social distancing is not working. People who are testing positive now could have been exposed to the virus several weeks ago, and many people don’t show symptoms for several days.

It will take weeks to see the results of the stay-at-home order and other social distancing measures that have been put in place. Additionally, the state is still reporting results from a backlog of tests.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Having trouble viewing the data below? Click here to view.

Here is a charted timeline of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Michigan:

Here’s the Michigan county case count mapped and the total number of cases in each US state:

Here are Michigan’s COVID-19 deaths mapped per county:

Here are Michigan COVID-19 cases broken down by age range (view here if you’re not seeing the table):

Here are Michigan COVID-19 cases broken down by gender (view here if you’re not seeing the table):

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?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

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 & 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.


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.