Michigan records 111 coronavirus deaths; total nears 1,400

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — On Saturday, the number of deaths linked to coronavirus outbreak rose by 111 deaths, bringing the total to 1,392 deaths.

An additional 1,210 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed across the state Friday, according to data released Saturday, bringing the total to 23,993. While the number of new cases is high, it is significantly lower than what we were seeing late last week.

On Thursday, Michigan recorded 205 deaths, the largest one-day increase so far.

The state has also started providing data on how many patients have recovered, defining that as someone who started experiencing symptoms 30 days earlier and was still alive. As of Friday, the state said, 433 people were considered recovered. Those numbers will be updated once a week on Saturday.

Across the state, patients who have died were older. While they range in age from 20 to 107, they have an average age of about 73. And while those older than 60 make up only 41% of total cases, they account for 82% of the dead.

African Americans are also being disproportionately affected. Though they make up only 14% of the state population, they account for a third of all COVID-19 cases and more than 40% of the dead. The governor has launched a task force to address the disparity.

Southeast Michigan is still seeing the worst of the outbreak. Wayne County, including the city of Detroit, has 10,951 confirmed cases and 652 deaths; Oakland County has 4,802 confirmed cases and 316 deaths; and Macomb County has 3,164 cases and 209 deaths. Genesee County has 919 cases and 62 deaths. Washtenaw County has 685 cases and 18 deaths.

There were three more deaths within the Michigan Department of Corrections for a total of eight and 364 inmates have tested positive for the virus.

Across the state, more than 3,600 patients were in the hospital as of Saturday; about 1,440 of those were on ventilators. The vast majority were in and around Detroit. There are 3,185 ventilators in Michigan.

Anticipating that cases won’t peak until around the end of the month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday extended Michigan’s stay-at-home order through April 30. Under that order, you should only go out for essential errands, like grocery shopping, or if you are an essential service worker. The extended order also includes additional regulations for stores, notably to limit capacity.

The goal of all the social distancing measures is to keep the number of severe cases low enough that hospitals will be able to treat everyone properly. Detroit-area hospitals are starting to feel the strain of the outbreak, so a field hospital at the TCF Center downtown started taking stable COVID-19 patients Friday. It started with 25, but has space for 970. An expo center in Novi will be the site for a second field hospital, but it’s not ready to go yet.

In addition to social distancing, you should follow common-sense health practices, like washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, coughing into your arm or a tissue rather than your hands and avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands.

COVID-19 presents with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. For most who contract it, symptoms are mild. Though anyone can get it and anyone can develop a serious case, the people most at risk to develop severe complications are the elderly and those with preexisting health problems. If you think you have coronavirus, call your health care provider. Unless you are in need of emergency help, do not go to the emergency room. Get advice from a doctor over the phone or a televisit and they will direct you on how to get tested.