Coronavirus in Michigan: Day 60

Big John Steak & Onion continues to defy emergency order

The recovery rate in Michigan shows improvement but with 133 new deaths, including 1 in Ingham County


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SATURDAY, May 9 — Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon said yesterday she has issued a cease-and-desist order to the Big John Steak & Onion chain for failing to require employees to obey the governor’s emergency mask order.

Meanwhile, three employees at the Frandor location were seen Saturday not wearing masks or social distancing. One employee said, “We don’t have to wear masks.”

A City Pulse report yesterday prompted Siemon to issue the letter, she said. The report included a photo taken Friday of an employee at the Frandor location who was not masked. That was after a reporter saw three employees at the westside location elbow to elbow through the drive-thru window. A manager told City Pulse that the company provided masks but said wearing them was optional.

Siemon said the Lansing Police Department were to deliver the letter last night.

Big John Steak & Onion is a Michigan sub-sandwich chain with 15 restaurants around the state. Efforts to reach someone at its headquarters, in Mt. Morris Township in Genesee County, for comment were unsuccessful.

“Right now, we have it optional,” explained a manager at the Big John along South Cedar Street. “They’re supplied to everyone, but it’s up to the employees. Everyone has a different interpretation of these orders and the way they’re supposed to work. Here, it’s optional.”

No employees were seen wearing masks at the restaurant along Saginaw Highway on Thursday, where three employees crowded within inches of each other at the drive-thru window, handing out sandwiches and drinks with ungloved hands.

Whitmer’s executive order requires customers and employees inside restaurants, pharmacies, and grocery and convenience stores, to wear face coverings until May 29. Violations are subject to criminal penalties.

The extension also clearly requires checkout employees, like those tending drive-thru windows, to wear a form of covering over their nose and mouth as long as they can “medically tolerate” it. Businesses must also adopt social distancing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

A willful violation is a misdemeanor, though state Attorney General Dana Nessel has advised the Lansing Police Department — the sole arbiters of the mask orders in the city — to start out with warnings, use discretion before ticketing, and consider any failed efforts to secure masks.

Across Michigan…

 The Marshall Project, a nonprofit journalism organization that covers the criminal justice system, reports that Michigan state prisons leads the nation in coronavirus deaths. The Detroit Free Press fleshes the story out.

A Small Business Association of Michigan survey has “found that only 28% of business owners in Michigan are positive their business will survive the pandemic, while 14% said they’re either likely to go out of business or close to it,” reports MLive

MLive  also offers a comprehensive look at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s reopening plan that she unveiled Thursday and poses seven questions that still need answers about Michigan’s future.

In the numbers…

The state reported today a big jump in the percent of coronavirus victims who have recovered. Of 46,756 reported cases as of this morning, 22,756 have recovered, according to the Michigan Health & Human Services Department. That’s a 48.5% recovery rate. A week ago: 43,207 cases and 15,659 recoveries, for a recovery rate of 36.2%.

The death rate increased by 133 in the last 24 hours — a roller-coaster week. Last Sunday, deaths fell to 29, the lowest since March, the Detroit Free Press reports.

“The average age of coronavirus deaths is 75.1 years old. The state median age of those deceased as of Saturday is 76. The age range of those who have died due to the virus is 5 to 107, according to state data,” the Free Press reports.

Locally, Ingham County reported new numbers today, which are below. Eaton and Clinton counties had not reported new numbers today as of 6:30 p.m. Their numbers below are the same that were reported here on Friday. 

Ingham County                       

Cases — 578 (+12)   

Recoveries — 214        

Recovery Rate — 37%   

Deaths — 17 (+1)

Fatality Rate — 2.9%         

Zip code 48911 tracks 151-160 cases. Zip code 48910 tracks 61-70 cases. Zip code 48823 tracks 51-60 cases. Zip codes 48854 and 48864 each track 41-50 cases. Zip codes 48842, 48912 and 48906 each track 31-40 cases. Zip code 48915 tracks 21-30 cases. Zip code 48917 tracks between 11-20 cases. Zip codes 48840, 48895, 48285, 48819, 48827, 48892, 48909, 48933, 49251, 49264 and 49285 each track 1-10 cases. This data is updated on a daily basis.     

Eaton County                    

Cases — 153 (+6)

Recoveries — 108          

Recovery Rate — 70.6%        

Deaths — 6               

Fatality Rate — 3.9%           

Clinton County                                       

Cases — 126        

Deaths — 10

Fatality Rate — 7.9%                                    

The Mid-Michigan County Health Department does not report recovery statistics.                  


Cases — 46,756 (+430)

Recoveries — 22,686 (as of 5/8/20)               

Recovery Rate — 48.5%      

Deaths — 4,526 (+133)

Fatality Rate — 10.33%        

State reports show that about 68% of cases (and 80% of deaths) are reported from Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties, including the city of Detroit. Other hotspots include Kent County with 4.6% of cases, Genesee County with 3.8% of cases, Washtenaw County with 2.5% of cases, Saginaw County with 1.7% of cases, Ingham County with 1.2% of cases and Kalamazoo County with 1.2% of cases statewide. About 4.6% of cases, or 2,124 cases (and 50 deaths) have also been reported among state prisoners at the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Caucasians account for 35% of cases and 49% of deaths. Despite accounting for a smaller segment of the population, African Americans account for 32% of cases and 41% of deaths.      


Cases — 1,305,199

Deaths — 78,469

Fatality Rate — 6%   

Source: CNN               

As of this afternoon, Michigan still has reported the seventh most cases in the country, behind New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, Pennsylvania and Illinois. Michigan also ranks fourth in most virus-related deaths, behind New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts.



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