Michigan Gov. Whitmer: Coronavirus curve starting to flatten in parts of state

More than 1,600 COVID-19 deaths reported in state

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during briefing on April 13, 2020. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a coronavirus media briefing on Monday, reporting that the state’s case trajectory may be starting to flatten.

Gov. Whitmer said the data shows that the state is starting to flatten the curve, specifically in Southeast Michigan, but residents must continue to follow social distancing guidelines to prevent another rise. Whitmer said the slower growth is the result of residents following distancing measures.

Latest: Michigan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases up to 25,635; Death toll now at 1,602

Michigan chief medical officer Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said despite the reductions in the growth of cases, there are still many cases and deaths every day, noting that some areas of the state are seeing increases.

“Different areas of the state may be different in how many cases they’re seeing, and how fast that growth is,” Dr. Khaldun said.

Dr. Khaldun said the state’s ramped up testing will help public health officials make decisions moving forward.

“Easing up on social distancing measures too early would be devastating. More people will die and our hospitals will be overwhelmed,” Dr. Khaldun said. “Health and economy are related, and we must put the health of the public first.”

Stay-at-home order

Whitmer also addressed some of the frustrations residents and members of the Michigan Legislature have voiced about the extension of the state’s stay-at-home order.

“I want you to have your freedom. I want mine, too,” Whitmer said. “We will get through this. This won’t be permanent. Those days, where we can resume some normalcy, they are on the horizon.”

Whitmer also “debunked” some rumors on the stay-at-home order, confirming that residents are still able to buy car seats, and that home schooling is not illegal.

Whitmer asked those who are protesting her order to do so in a safe manner. “I support your First Amendment right,” Whitmer said. “But please don’t disseminate false information.”

Whitmer also said the stay-at-home order prohibits traveling to different homes, for instance, a home Up North, is prohibited because other parts of the state don’t have the hospital capacity to handle an outbreak.

Michigan extended its “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order through at least April 30.

Unemployment issues

The state opened applications for self-employed, contractors and gig workers on Monday, but the MILogin site continued to have major technical issues.

Officials said more than one million have filed for unemployment in Michigan, the third most for any state in the U.S.

“Every state, including Michigan, has struggled to cope with these surges,” said Jeff Donofrio, Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director.

Donofrio said filing online and following the filing schedule is the best way to file, along with off-peak hours.

More case data

Michigan started reporting recoveries last week, with 433 total reported in the last 30 days. The state also released new hospital data on COVID-19 patients and medical supplies.

According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 32,000 have recovered in the U.S., with more than 558,000 cases reported across the country.

Worldwide, more than 1.8 million people have been confirmed infected and over 116,000 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.

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.