GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has recorded another 160 deaths linked to coronavirus, bringing the total to 3,567.
The state noted 40 of the deaths were discovered in a routine check of death certificates to find any not previously reported.
Kent County added 205 confirmed cases, by far its largest increase yet and 20% of the new cases statewide. The total number of cases is now 1,305.
The Kent County Health Department attributed the jump to both increased testing and targeted testing of everyone in certain high-risk places like homeless shelters, long-term care facilities and large workplaces worried about outbreaks. Administrative Health Officer Adam London said that has led to a higher rate of positive cases.
“But one thing to keep in mind that even though lately, we’ve been between 15% and 20% of the daily new cases across the state of Michigan, our percentage of the overall deaths has been less than 2%. In fact, most days, it’s been 1% or less,” London told News 8. “So while we’re identifying a lot of cases here in Kent County, we think we’re doing that proactively and we’re able to provide care for those people as quickly as possible so their outcomes are better on average than people across the state.”
On Tuesday, the number of deaths in Kent County was revised down by one for a total of 33. The state has said that it is always double-checking and refining the death toll.
London said the number of new cases in West Michigan could remain at about the same level for some time.
“Unlike some communities that were overwhelmed quickly and had a curve that looked like a mountain top, we’re not going to have that experience here unless there’s a resurgence in cases,” he explained. “Based on what we’re seeing so far, we’re going to see this more gentle plateau of cases over the next few weeks to maybe a couple months at the most.”
He added that until there is a vaccine for COVID-19 and good therapeutic drugs, the virus is going to be something we’re dealing with and we must fight a resurgence by following best health practices like frequent hand washing and wearing masks in public.
Donkey Taqueria in Grand Rapids said Tuesday that one of its employees has tested positive for the virus. That person had not been in an restaurant for 10 days, but Donkey closed Tuesday, anyway, and will remain shut down until May 4. No other workers have displayed symptoms.
Knoll Inc. in Kentwood, which makes furniture and textiles, said some of its employees have the virus, as well. It will shut down for a deep clean and then go back to work Monday. All workers are wearing masks.
In Wayne County, where the outbreak has been the worst, 1,682 people have died after getting the virus (60 more than the day prior) and 16,173 cases have been confirmed (301 more than the day prior). Oakland County has 7,012 confirmed cases and 654 people have died. Macomb County has 5,339 cases and 572 deaths.
In Genesee County, where Flint is, there are 1,533 confirmed cases and 174 deaths.
Within the Michigan Department of Corrections, 1,074 cases have been confirmed and 38 inmates have died.
Muskegon County added two more deaths for a total of 15. It has 242 confirmed cases. The county said Tuesday evening that one of its COVID-19 patients is a youth at the Muskegon County Juvenile Transition Center. That youth has been isolated from other inmates.
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 Sunday, the most recent day for which state data is available, labs in Michigan ran 5,330 samples for coronavirus. Of those, 10.5% came back positive. The percentages of positive results is improving. One week prior, on April 19, about 3,100 samples were run and about 19% came back positive. One week before that, on April 12, about 3,200 samples were run and nearly 30% were positive.
Michigan is under a stay-at-home order until May 15. However, with cases plateauing and hospitalizations in and around Detroit declining, thoughts are turning toward getting the economy moving again. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday announced the MI Safe Start plan for reengagement, which will reopen businesses in waves starting with those that have the lowest risk for spreading the virus. Landscapers and plant nurseries were allowed to reopen late last week. Construction companies may be next, but it’s not yet clear when that will happen.
As businesses get back to work, many will need to get their hands on gloves and masks. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has created a list of Michigan businesses that provide those items to get companies started in the purchasing process.
The state Legislature could vote as early as Wednesday on extending until May 28 the state of emergency for Michigan, which is not the same as Whitmer’s stay-at-home and other executive orders.