Coronavirus in Michigan: Day 11 

Michigan tracks more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases, 13 identified in Ingham County 

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(This story was updated at 2:35 p.m.) 

SUNDAY, March 22 — At least eight are dead in Michigan as the number of patients testing positive for the coronavirus statewide surged past 1,000 earlier this afternoon.  

A 52-year-old man died from COVID-19 last night at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, following other deaths yesterday of another man in his 70s at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids and two southeast Michigan women in their 90s, one of whom who died at Henry Ford’s hospital in Bloomfield, reports Crain’s Detroit Business.  

The total number of cases identified statewide climbed today by 249 to a total of 1,035, according to the latest state data, including at least 17 cases identified in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties. Health officials have cautioned that the actual number of cases among residents, opposed to just those reported, may be higher.  

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed a total of 15,219 cases of COVID-19 and 201 deaths on Sunday afternoon. The New York Times database, as of Sunday afternoon, listed a total of at least 29,666 cases and at least 377 deaths across every state. Reports are generated as frequently as possible based on new tests.  

Officials reported a 1-month-old infant tested positive yesterday for COVID-19, along with a 100-year-old resident in Macomb County, reports MLive. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also signed another executive order and extended a lockdown on certain businesses in an effort to further limit the spread of the pandemic in Michigan.  

Until at least April 13, all facilities that provide “non-essential personal care services” must temporarily close. Those include hair, nail, tanning, massage, spa, tattoo, body art and piercing services — and “similar services that require individuals to be within six feet of each other.” It does not apply to necessary medical treatment.  

That order also extended a statewide shutdown on restaurant dining rooms, movie theaters, libraries, casinos, gyms — among other facilities that typically attract larger crowds and confine them indoors — until April 13. The initial executive order only lasted until March 30. Carryout and delivery services are still able to operate.  

Grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail operations are also exempt from the order, though some have closed

While Whitmer cautiously mulls the possibility of further restrictions in Michigan, top business leaders are pushing back against a shelter-in-place concept. Michigan Chamber President and CEO Rich Studley has cautioned her to move gently, as not to “risk a disruption in the supply chain” or close too many businesses.  

“While there are important public health measures states need to take to help limit the spread of the virus, we ask you to consider the lay-offs and mandatory business closures any similar order would undoubtedly trigger,” Studley wrote in a recent letter to Whitmer. “Quite frankly, we are concerned that an untimely or overly broad order would create unnecessary and long-term damage to Michigan’s economic health.”  

Whitmer firmly pushed back against the measure in Michigan late last week: “We are not there,” she said. She also clarified that churches — even if they exceed crowds of 50 people — will not face criminal sanctions. The clarification frees up today’s services, though it’s unclear how many religious services will continue as usual.  

Until further notice, Indian Trails has suspended its daily scheduled bus services, joining CATA and other transportation providers that have ceased or plan to cease their daily operations. Indian Trails’ shutdown includes routes statewide, into Chicago, Milwaukee and Duluth. That shutdown includes Michigan Flyer service to and from Detroit Metro Airport until April 16. 

U.S. border access for both Mexico and Canada also remains limited. The Detroit Free Press reports that commercial and work-related travel into Canada will continue unimpeded, but tourism and recreation is not permitted. Medical and compassionate reasons may be allowed, but with some added restrictions in place. 

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul announced that he tested positive for coronavirus today, reports the Courier Journal, in Louisville. 

Nurses working at several, major hospital systems in Michigan — including some McLaren Health Care facilities — said they’re working without proper protective gear like masks, gowns and face shields to keep themselves from getting sick, according to detailed accounts published yesterday in the Detroit Free Press.  

And Sparrow Hospital in Lansing is turning to community donations for financial support. In a press release this morning, Sparrow solicited donations from the public in order to purchase additional protective equipment — like ventilators and testing supplies — as its costs rise “above and beyond our ‘normal’ spend.” 

Those looking to donate to the Sparrow Foundation’s response fund to help provide care can do so online. Hospital officials did not immediately respond to questions about its rising costs or possible supply shortages. 

The city of Lansing has also opened drop-off locations for homemade masks, unopened packages of gloves, cleaning supplies, N95 respirators and other protective gear to help alleviate an ongoing equipment shortage for first responders, health care workers, homeless shelters and others that work with vulnerable populations. 

Those items can be dropped off anytime at either the Fire Department Station #8 at 815 Marshall St., the Lansing Police Department’s downtown headquarters or its local operations Center at 5815 S. Wise Road. 

With death tolls rising in southeastern Michigan, Oakland County officials yesterday ordered all enclosed shopping malls in the county to close and restricted access to playground equipment, the Free Press reports.  

Michigan State University is a ghost town as students leave town, reports the Lansing State Journal.  

Newspapers across Southeast Michigan are laying off workers amid the coronavirus spread, with Warren-based C&J Newspapers announcing yesterday evening that it would halt publication of 19 publications next week, joining others to layoff staff like the Troy-Somerset Gazette and Metro Times, reports Crain’s Detroit Business.  

Beginning tomorrow, all Michigan Secretary of State branch offices will return to regularly scheduled branch hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday. In-person transactions, however, will continue to be available only for critical services and by appointment.  

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at michigan.gov/coronavirus and cdc.gov/coronavirus.  

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