GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Four weeks after Michigan confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus, the state’s sum total of those killed by the virus was 845.
The state recorded 118 more deaths Monday, again the largest one-day increase in deaths the state has recorded so far. The previous high for deaths in a single day was 110, a record set the previous day.
The dead range in age from 20 to 107, with an average age of about 72. While people over the age of 80 make up only 9% of overall cases, they account for more than a third of those who have died. About 58% of patients who died were men and 42% women.
The outbreak is still the worst in southeast Michigan. In Wayne County, including the city of Detroit, 9,045 cases have been confirmed and 402 people have died; Oakland County has 3,736 cases and 205 deaths; and Macomb County 2,414 cases and 121 deaths. In Genesee County, there are 638 cases and 33 deaths; Washtenaw County has 559 cases and 11 deaths.
Kent County recorded two additional deaths for a total of seven; one of those was announced by the county and is not yet included in state figures; it will be reflected in Wednesday’s report. The county has 187 cases, an increase of 10 over the previous day.
Kalamazoo County has had two more residents, both older with underlying health conditions, die for a total of five. One of those deaths was announced by the county and is not yet included in the state count. It will be reflected in Wednesday’s report. It has 64 confirmed cases.
Kalamazoo County is opening a sample collection site for testing at the health department building. It is by appointment only; you must be referred by your doctor before going there.
Berrien County added one more death for a total of two; it has 64 confirmed cases. Montcalm County recorded its first death; it has 16 cases. The death that Ionia County announced Monday was added to the state total. That county has nine cases.
Ottawa County says it has 53 confirmed cases and about a quarter of its patients have required hospitalization. No one in that county has died of COVID-19.
The Michigan Department of Corrections has confirmed 243 cases; one prisoner has died.
According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, Michigan has the third highest number of confirmed cases in the nation, behind New York and New Jersey. Those are also the only states that have recorded more deaths than Michigan.
On Tuesday, the Michigan Legislature extended a state of emergency through the end of April. That emergency is the basis for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders aimed at fighting coronavirus, including the stay-at-home order. The stay-at-home order is currently scheduled to run out early next week, but Whitmer said she anticipates extending it. It’s not yet known when she will do so or for how long.
The goal of all the social distancing measures is to keep the number of severe cases low enough that hospitals will be able to treat everyone properly. In places like Italy, Spain and New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, hospital systems have been stretched beyond capacity.
State officials say southeast Michigan hospitals are becoming overwhelmed and are in desperate need of personal protection equipment. Some COVID-19 patients are being transferred to Spectrum Health hospitals in metro Grand Rapids.
In addition to social distancing, people are advised to wear an improvised cloth mask in public. 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 older people 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.