Monday, April 20, 2020

Whitmer defends stay-at-home order as coronavirus deaths continue to decline in Michigan

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 6:36 PM

click to enlarge Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a news conference Monday. - STATE OF MICHIGAN
  • State of Michigan
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at a news conference Monday.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Monday that her stay-at-home order is working as the number of new coronavirus deaths continues to decline.

Michigan reported 77 new deaths on Monday, the lowest one-day increase since April 5. The average number of casualties in April is 110. For three straight days, Michigan reported fewer than 85 new deaths.

Over the past 10 days, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped 6.7%, to 3,374. During the same period, the number of patients on a ventilator decreased from 1,441 to 1,102, a 24% decline, according to data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical officer, attributed the progress to the governor’s March 24 stay-at-home order.

“We continue to see positive signs that social distancing is working,” Khaldun said at a news conference. “These are great signs. Social distancing is working. There is hope.”

Whitmer is expected to extend her stay-at-home order, which expires at the end of the month, until there is a larger testing capacity and a significant decline in the number of new cases and deaths.

Although the numbers are declining, dozens of people are still dying a day.

“The last thing I want to have is a second wave, so we have to be very smart,” Whitmer said.

Nearly a third of the new coronavirus deaths — 24 — were reported in Detroit, which has more fatalities per capita than every big city except for New York City. Like the rest of Michigan, the number of new deaths in Detroit is declining. Over the past three days, Detroit averaged 19 new deaths a day. By contrast, the city averaged 28 new deaths in April.

Detroit has more than 7,700 positive cases.

Trump’s administration applauded the city’s handling of the pandemic.

“Detroit and this mayor of Detroit has really done an extraordinary job, and the people of Detroit have done an extraordinary job with their social distancing,” Dr. Deborah Birx, head of the U.S. Coronavirus Task Force, said Saturday.

In the rest of Wayne County, new deaths are down significantly, declining to six on Monday. In mid-April, the county was average 30 new deaths a day.

Oakland County reported eight new deaths, bringing its total to 479. The county also has nearly 6,200 confirmed infections.

In Macomb County, the number of deaths rose to 403, up 12 from the day before. The county has more than 4,400 positive cases.

Inside Michigan-operated jails, the coronavirus is spreading at a faster rate. In the past eight days, the number of positive cases among inmates rose from 335 to 561, a 67.5% increase. During the same period, the number of deaths nearly quadrupled, from five to 19.

"What happens next depends on every single one of us," Whitmer said, encouraging residents to continue adhering to the social-distancing measures.

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