Coronavirus in Michigan: Here’s where we stand today

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Whitmer mulls short-term stay-home extension, but reopen plan in works

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer held a coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, updating residents on the state’s ongoing response to COVID-19.

Michigan reported 999 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the second straight day showing an increase after several days of slowing growth. The death toll is now at 2,813.

Despite the increase, Michigan’s chief health officer Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said the rate of growth is continuing to slow, the rate of critical illness is dropping, and testing is increasing.

Gov. Whitmer said the state is increasing testing capacity, with new sites opening across the area this week.

COVID-19 testing: Where Michigan ranks compared to other states

By all statistical indications, Michigan’s coronavirus (COVID-19) testing is lagging behind where it should be.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state health officials have been pushing for increased testing capacity in recent weeks, as it will be key to the reopening of any businesses in the coming weeks.

While Michigan’s overall tests continue to increase, the rate of testing compared to the population isn’t increasing rapidly. As of April 21, Michigan reported 121,298 total tests, which is the 11th most total tests in the U.S. But when compared to tests per 1 million (population), Michigan falls to 25th, with 12,182 tests at that rate. (Michigan has the 10th biggest population in the U.S.).

Founders laying off 163 workers in Michigan

Founders Brewing Company announced Wednesday that it will lay off 163 workers in Michigan due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Founders officials said the mass layoff is intended to last less than six months, but due to the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the layoff is considered “indefinite.”

The layoffs will affect workers at the Detroit Taproom on Charlotte Street and the Grand Rapids Taproom and Company Store on Grandville Avenue Southwest, the company announced.

Founders said the expected date for the mass layoff is May 3. A list of the affected job titles and positions at both locations was sent to workers.

Here’s what happened Tuesday:

Nurse fired from Sinai-Grace sues DMC

A nurse fired from Sinai-Grace Hospital in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for a video she posted to social media is suing the Detroit Medical Center.

Kenisa Barkai was terminated last month after she posted a 7-second video on her Facebook page showing the precautions taken to treat the first COVID-19 patient at the Detroit Medical Center’s Sinai-Grace.

Beaumont lays off thousands, cuts hundreds of positions

Beaumont Health announced Tuesday that it would be temporarily laying off thousands and cutting hundreds of other positions due to financial losses caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to Beaumont, 2,475 employees will be temporarily laid off and 450 positions will be permanently cut, while executive pay will be reduced.

Investigation into makeshift morgue at Beaumont Wayne reveals 50 bodies

It all started with a call to the Wayne County Health Department claiming bodies were being inappropriately stored at the now-shuttered Beaumont Wayne Hospital.

When health inspectors went to check it out on Tuesday they were turned away from the hospital and told they would need a warrant.

After a series of phone calls the hospital backed off the warrant request. Health Department inspectors, along with Wayne County sheriff’s deputies, were allowed on the property.

Spirit of Detroit’ special showcases Metro Detroiters’ courage and kindness

WDIV-Local 4/ClickOnDetroit highlighted the best of the human spirit during the darkest times of the pandemic in a primetime special called “Spirit of Detroit."

From making life-saving essentials to supporting first responders, you’ll meet the local heroes behind Detroit’s most inspirational acts of kindness.

Watch it here.

Death toll reaches 2,700

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 32,967 as of Tuesday, including 2,700 deaths, state officials report.

That number is up from 32,000 confirmed cases and 2,468 deaths Monday.

The official recovery total is 3,237.

60 workers at meat packing plant test positive for COVID-19

A meat packing plant in west Michigan had 60 employees test positive for COVID-19, according to reports.

JBS Meat Packaging in Gun Plain Township had to shut down over the weekend after the employees tested positive, according to WOOD TV.

However, the plant was back open on Monday with limited staffing, Allegan County health officials told WOOD.

More drive-thru COVID-19 testing in Metro Detroit

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday a partnership with CVS Health to provide drive-through rapid COVID-19 testing in Dearborn.

According to Whitmer’s office, COVID-19 testing will be conducted in the parking lot of the Henry Ford Centennial Library -- 16301 Michigan Ave. -- at no cost to eligible Michiganders. A doctor’s referral is not required.

The governor’s office says the site will test 500-750 residents daily who are experiencing certain COVID-19-related symptoms and risk factors as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wayne County projects COVID-19 to cause at least $152 million deficit

Wayne County officials project the county’s revenue will be down at least $152 million due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Executive Warren C. Evans announced Tuesday that the deficit could be more than 20 percent of the county’s projected revenues.

NAACP joins forces with Michigan’s Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities

The local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is joining forces with Michigan’s newly formed Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities.

The tasks force was created in response to the disproportionate number of black people who are being affected by COVID-19.

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.