Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s where we stand today

Death toll nearly 850

A satellite image of Michigan (NASA)

Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 20,346; Death toll now at 959

DETROIT – The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 20,346 as of Wednesday, including 959 deaths, state officials report.

Wednesday’s numbers represents an increase of 1,376 cases and 114 deaths. Tuesday’s total was 18,970 confirmed cases and 845 deaths.

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

Governor issues order aimed at helping flow of supplies, key medical workers into state

A new executive order from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is aimed at making it easier for emergency medical supplies, sanitary supplies and key personnel to flow into the state during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Whitmer has signed Executive Order 2020-40, which waives International Fuel Tax Association (IFTA) credentialing requirements. Whitmer’s office said the pandemic created a steep and immediate demand for certain essential supplies, equipment and personnel, and has made it harder for state agencies and departments to conduct business as usual — including credentialing motor carriers.

Michigan expands unemployment call center hours, adds staff to handle demand

Michigan is expanding hours and staff to better handle demand for unemployment during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) is adding staff and hours to better serve an unprecedented increase in customers filing unemployment claims as a result of COVID-19.

The UIA has extended call center hours by an hour every day 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and it remains open from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday. Customers in the call center and online chat queues before closing time will have their calls or chats resolved that day.

Henry Ford Health: 853 coronavirus (COVID-19) patients discharged, number in hospital drops

Officials at Henry Ford Health System report more than 850 coronavirus (COVID-19) patients have been discharged since over the last month, and there are fewer people in the hospital with the virus than a day ago.

As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, 853 people have been treated for the coronavirus and discharged -- an additional 75 patients since Tuesday morning.

The number of coronavirus patients still in the hospital dropped from 752 on Tuesday to 743 on Wednesday morning.

GM awarded government contract to build 30,000 ventilators

General Motors has been awarded a contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to build 30,000 ventilators by August.

The government said this is the first contract for ventilator production rated under the Defense Production Act. The total contract price is $489.4 million, calling for 30,000 ventilators to be delivered to the Strategic National Stockpile by the end of August 2020 with a production schedule allowing for the delivery of 6,132 ventilators by June 1, 2020.

Detroit works to slow spread as city reaches 5,501 cases

Detroit is working to flatten the coronavirus (COVID-19) curve as cases continue to rise in the city and around the state.

The city has 5,501 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

April 7 update -- Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 18,970; Death toll now at 845

Officials are deploying new tools in an attempt to slow that spread.

For instance, beginning Wednesday, riders on Department of Transportation buses will receive surgical masks.

Here’s what happened Tuesday:

Michigan Legislature extends emergency declaration

The Michigan Legislature has voted to expand the state’s emergency declaration for the coronavirus pandemic by 23 days.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said last week she wanted the Legislature to extend the Emergency Declaration and Disaster order for 70 more days. The Legislature agreed to extend until April 30.

734 Henry Ford Health workers test positive

Officials said 734 Henry Ford Health employees have tested positive for COVID-19. The health system has more than 31,000 employees working across five hospitals.

Related: Friends, family mourn death of Henry Ford Health nurse who died from COVID-19

Michigan suspends EMS licensing, regulation requirements

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Order that temporarily suspends licensing and regulation of emergency medical services during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Department of Health and Human Services will not be required to conduct annual random inspections of life support vehicles or annual inspections of life support agencies.

These will only be inspected if the department has reason to believe they are out of compliance.

Livingston Co. preparing to take patients from overwhelmed hospitals

Livingston County care facilities are preparing to take patients from overwhelmed hospitals.

The facilities will take recovering COVID-19 patients, so other hospitals can provide advanced care to the people who need it.

Detroit to give surgical masks to DDOT bus riders

TDetroit announced that it will start giving surgical masks to riders on Department of Transportation buses beginning Wednesday.

RELATED: ‘I’m terrified of getting it’: Bus drivers push Detroit to halt service during COVID-19 pandemic

The city expects to distribute 20,000 masks during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. They will be provided to riders as they board buses via a dispenser by the door.

Death toll reaches 845

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 18,970 as of Tuesday, including 845 deaths, state officials report.

That number is up from 17,221 confirmed cases and 727 deaths Monday.

Henry Ford Health: 778 COVID-19 patients discharged

The Henry Ford health System began reporting COVID-19 patient discharges on Tuesday.

The health system said 778 COVID-19 patients have been discharged home in last 30 days

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.

About the Authors:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.