GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has recorded 50 more deaths linked to coronavirus, bringing the total to 4,393, the state says.
The situation remains the worst in southeast Michigan, where Wayne County, including the city of Detroit, has had a total of 17,824 confirmed cases (157 more than the day prior) and 2,028 deaths (16 more). Oakland County has had 7,664 cases and 805 deaths. Macomb County has had 5,963 cases and 682 deaths.
Genesee County, where Flint is, has recorded 1,739 cases and 214 deaths.
Within the Michigan Department of Corrections, 2,124 inmates have tested positive for the virus and 50 have died after contracting it.
Kent County added 59 new cases for a total of 2,135. The number of deaths stood at 41.
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 older people and those with preexisting health problems.
Everyone who has coronavirus symptoms and essential workers who are not showing symptoms can now get tested. You can find a testing location near you on the state’s website and get information on how to set up an appointment.
On Wednesday, the most recent day for which state data is available, labs in Michigan tested 13,530 samples for coronavirus and 8% came back positive. That’s the most tests run in a single day by 2,125. Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, has said the goal is to run 15,000 samples daily and that the federal government is providing resources to help make that happen.
The percentages of positive results are improving. One week prior to Wednesday, on April 29, about 10,900 samples were tested and about 12% of those were positive. Four weeks prior to Wednesday, on April 8, about 3,300 samples were tested and about 29% were positive.
Though the numbers are looking better, state officials say it’s too soon to abandon social distancing measures. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday extended Michigan’s stay-at-home order through May 28, though she said manufacturers could go back to work Monday. Detroit automakers say plants will reopen the following Monday, May 18, after suppliers get moving.
The governor also laid out the six phases of her MI Safe Start plan, saying Michigan is currently in stage 3, “Flattening,” when case growth is declining but social distancing measures are still prudent. The stages are fluid, she said, and will move forward and or perhaps even backward based on the status of the outbreak.
On Friday, an organization representing bars and restaurants sent Whitmer a plan asking to reopen May 29 and laying out safety guidelines. The industry is worried about bars and restaurants being forced to close without any reopening date in sight. It’s too soon to say whether she’ll allow it.
The governor’s executive orders limiting what kinds of businesses can operate and how have ravaged Michigan’s economy and led to unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression.
State employees are not unaffected. On Friday, the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office announced that temporary layoffs of about 900 employees would be extended for another week. Most are workers at branch offices that have been closed. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said the decision was a difficult one but that it was necessary because of the fiscal situation.
As Secretary of State’s offices remain closed, Whitmer on Friday extended her executive order that temporarily extends the expiration dates of driver’s licenses, state identification cards and vehicle registrations to July 31.