95 more COVID-19 deaths; state says reports may be incomplete

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Ninety-five additional deaths linked to coronavirus have been reported to the state, but officials warn the actual number may be higher.

The state explained that because it’s both a weekend and a holiday, not every additional death may have been reported. It said it has seen daily figures drop by up to 25% on previous Sundays.

The total number of deaths recorded statewide is now 1,487.

The state also recorded 645 new confirmed cases Saturday, according to data released Sunday, bringing the sum to 24,638 — but also noted that figure may be under-reported.

“Reported case counts may reflect a reduction in the amount of laboratory testing performed over the weekend and holiday. Single day fluctuations in the number of confirmed cases may not be significant, as a number of external factors can affect data reporting,” the state said in a statement.

The worst of the outbreak is in and around Detroit. Wayne County has 11,164 confirmed cases and 704 people have died. Oakland County has 4,915 cases and 329 deaths and Macomb County 3,254 cases and 217 deaths. Genesee County, where Flint is, has 955 cases and 68 deaths.

Kent County has 287 confirmed cases and 13 deaths, including six people who were patients at the Metron of Cedar Springs nursing home. Thirty-one patients at the home and five staffers tested positive for the virus.

Within the Michigan Department of Corrections, 370 inmates have tested positive for the virus. Eight have died.

On Friday, the most recent day for which data is available, labs in Michigan ran about 3,960 samples for coronavirus; about 30% came back positive. The state ran between 3,000 and 5,000 tests each day last week.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has scheduled a briefing for 3 p.m. Monday to provide an update on Michigan’s response to the outbreak. She’ll be accompanied by the state’s chief medical officer Dr. Joneigh Khaldun and Jeff Donofrio, the director of the state Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity — that’s the agency that handles unemployment claims.

Michigan’s unemployment agency has been inundated with claims, saying it saw a more than 5,000 increase between March 15 and April 4 over the previous three weeks. It has upped staff manning the phones, upgraded its servers for its website and added new online features aimed at making it easier to reach technical support. Also Monday, self-employed people will be able to start filing for unemployment benefits.

A stay-at-home order is in effect across the state through April 30. Under it, you should only go out for essential errands, like grocery shopping, or if you are an essential service worker.

The goal of the social distancing measures is to keep the number of severe cases low enough that hospitals will be able to handle them. You should also 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.

  

**Correction: Based on a typo on the state website, a previous version of this article included an inaccurate figure for the total number of confirmed cases statewide. The number has been corrected both on the state website and in the text above.


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