MI records 779 more virus cases; Whitmer promotes flu shot

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan has recorded 20 more deaths linked to coronavirus and confirmed 779 more cases, according to data released by the state.

Six of the 20 newly confirmed deaths were discovered while reviewing vital records.

The new data brings the total number of deaths to 6,417 and the total number of cases to 98,439 since the virus was first detected in Michigan in March.

In Wayne County, where the virus has hit hardest, two more deaths were recorded for the total of 2,727. Wayne County confirmed 115 more cases for a total of 28,645 since the outbreak’s beginning. Oakland County deaths added three more deaths for a total of 1,112. It has had 13,896 cases (70 more than the previous day). Macomb County confirmed three more deaths for a total of 923. It has had 11,823 cases (84 more).

During a Tuesday news conference, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said positive testing rates are holding steady around 3.3%. But the positivity rate for Monday was 3.97%, which is higher than it has been in recent days.

Kent County recorded two deaths for a total of 159. It discovered 49 cases on Monday. It has had 7,448 cases since March.

Calhoun County confirmed an additional death for a total of 43. It has had 788 cases.

Muskegon County also confirmed an additional death for a total of 64. It has had 1,239 cases.

Khaldun said outbreaks are happening in every region — 70 in total last week. Starting this week, information on each outbreak will be posted online.

State wants at least 1M more people to get flu shot

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is launching a media campaign to urge residents to get their flu shot amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The campaign is called Facing the Flu Together. It will include advertising through multiple mediums, including TV, social media, podcasts, radio and print.

State officials say an estimated 3.2 million people in Michigan received a flu vaccine last year. The state is hoping to have a 33% increase in flu vaccination this season, which would result in 1 million more people getting the shot.

Health officials say they are worried about having a surge in the flu while battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whitmer said she wants all Michiganders to get vaccinated to avoid what could be a crisis in our hospitals.

“So, when we all get our flu vaccines we can help keep thousands of flu patients out of the hospital and prevent overcrowding. Now, imagine if we had a major flu outbreak on top of the surge we experienced in March and April of this year. Thousands of more people who needed to hospitalized. That would mean more people would loose their battle and we can help prevent that when we all get our flu vaccinations,” she said.

To demonstrate how easy it’s to get vaccinated, Whitmer got a flu shot during her Tuesday briefing.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gets an influenza vaccine during a news conference on Aug. 25, 2020.

Whitmer said as many people should be vaccinated as possible. She noted it is especially important for students and educators to get that protection from the flu.

“Until there is a coronavirus vaccine, we must do everything we can to protect each other,” Whitmer said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 to 26 million medical visits were due to the flu and there were nearly half a million flu hospitalizations during the last flu season across the country.

Last season, six children in Michigan died from the flu. 

Whitmer is also asking people to continue maintaining social distance from those not in their household and wear masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

People can find a location to get a flu shot online.

Also Tuesday, furniture chain IKEA announced it was donating $1.2 million to Michigan’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Initiative, which helps leverage federal resources that require a match to provide services and needs to respond to the pandemic.

“We are appreciative of the ongoing support from the state of Michigan, including the unemployment funds paid to our co-workers who were furloughed in the early weeks of the pandemic,” said Javier Quiñones, IKEA Retail U.S. president in a statement. “People are the heart of our business, and the state unemployment benefits helped IKEA US co-workers during a difficult time. We now have a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on our business, and we’ve decided to “pay it forward” to support the ongoing COVID-19 Response and Recovery Initiative in our local communities.”

  

On Friday, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld Whitmer’s extension of a state of emergency linked to the pandemic, ruling a state law gives her the power to do so and that the law itself is not unconstitutional. Republicans in the state Legislature, sued Whitmer after they refused to extend the emergency in April and she did it without them, promised they would appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. The emergency declarationcurrently runs through Sept. 4; Whitmer may choose to extend it again.

Outbreak trends in Michigan are still much better than many other states are seeing. Statewide,hospitals remain well within capacity. Cases seem to have plateaued, state data shows, and the numbers of deaths each day remain low.

Still, some businesses remain closed as part of mitigation efforts — though Whitmer has indicated there may be changes on that front soon. Meanwhile, the governor’s office announced Friday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had approved her request to send an extra $300 weekly payment to about 910,000 Michigan residents getting unemployment benefits.


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