Friday, April 24, 2020

Michigan surpasses 3,000 coronavirus deaths and 36,600 positive cases

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2020 at 4:49 PM

click to enlarge STEVE NEAVLING
  • Steve Neavling

The Michigan death toll from the coronavirus pandemic climbed past 3,000 on Thursday, with 108 new casualties reported Friday.

In the past two weeks, the state has averaged 131 new deaths a day.

Michigan also reported 1,350 new positive cases, bringing its total to more than 36,600.

Although the numbers are grim, the state is showing signs of progress, with the hospitalization rates declining and the number of new deaths flattening out. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended her stay-at-home order on Friday, but lifted restrictions to allow some nonessential businesses to open.

“We’ve saved lives,” Whitmer said of her order during a press conference Friday. "We know that it has worked, and we have pushed the curve down.”

Over the past 10 days, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 declined 24%, from 3,986 to 3,022. During the same period, the number of COVID-19 patients on a ventilator has fallen from 1,365 to 965, a 29% decrease.

Faced with a severe testing shortage since the outbreak began, the state is beginning to increase its capacity and expanding eligibility. The state is now testing asymptomatic employees who interact with the public.

“Testing remains critical to our efforts to slow the spread of the virus,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief deputy for health, said in a news release. “Increased testing helps us understand where this disease is so we can identify people at highest risk and make sure we are quickly implementing best practices for preventing further cases and deaths.”

The goal is to test 15,000 people a day in Michigan, Khaldun said. In April, the average number of daily tests is 4,750. On Wednesday, the latest day for which statistics are available, the state tested more than 7,300 people — the most yet.

With some of Michigan's economy reopening, testing has become critical to curb the spread of the virus.

About a quarter of COVID-19 patients show no symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It’s being spread by people who are perfectly healthy,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said at a news conference Friday.

Based on recent testing results, Duggan estimates that 10% of metro Detroit residents are infected with COVID-19.

After testing every nursing home resident in Detroit, city officials are shifting their focus to grocery stores.

“I have been very disappointed with the attitude of some of the grocery stores about getting their employees tested,” Duggan said. “Now, there is no excuse not to get tested.”

Detroit reported 30 new coronavirus deaths on Friday, bringing its total to 816. That’s more than all of Ohio. The city also has nearly 8,500 confirmed infections.

About 43% of the new deaths in Michigan were reported in Wayne County, which now has 1,443 casualties and more than 15,400 positive cases.

Oakland County’s death toll increased by 18, pushing its total to 585. The state’s second largest county now has more than 6,800 positive cases.

In Macomb County, the number of deaths rose from 493 to 504. The county now has more than 5,000 positive cases.

Only five counties — all in the Upper Peninsula — have not yet reported a positive case.

The coronavirus, which has hit southeast Michigan the hardest, continues to spread throughout the state, with 19 additional counties reporting more than 100 cases.

Genesee County has the most outside of metro Detroit, with 1,387 cases and 144 deaths.

Over the past 10 days, the number of inmates who tested positive in Michigan-run jails have more than doubled, from 429 to 973. During the same period, the number of deaths increased from nine to 28.

In Michigan, where 13.6% of the population is Black, 40% the coronavirus patients who died were African American. A third of the coronavirus patients are Black. White people account for 44% of the deaths and 32% of the positive cases.

The coronavirus has infected people of all ages: 2% are 0 to 19 years old, 9% are 20 to 29, 13% are 30 to 39, 16% are 40 to 49, 19% are 50 to 59, 18% are 60 to 69, 12% are 70 to 79, and 11% are 80 and older.

The youngest person to die was 5 years old, and the oldest was 107, with an average age of death at 74.2 years old. Of those who died, 1% were 5 to 29, 1% were 30 to 39, 4% were 40 to 49, 9% were 50 to 59, 19% were 60 to 69, 28% were 70 to 79, and 39% were 80 and older.

The death rate is higher for men, who make up 55% of the fatalities but 45% of the positive cases.

Globally, there are 2.8 million coronavirus cases in 185 countries, and more than 195,000 deaths as of Friday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. The U.S. has more positive cases than any other country in the world, with more than 886,000 confirmed infections and 50,780 deaths.

You can read why the coronavirus hit Michigan harder than its neighboring states in this week's issue.

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