GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday extended Michigan’s state of emergency as the state announced 584 more cases of coronavirus had been confirmed.
Labs in Michigan on Monday tested 20,458 samples for the virus and 823 came back positive. The number of positive tests and new cases is not the same because some people are tested more than once.
The percentage of positive tests was 4.02%. That’s the highest it has been since May 29, when it was above 6%. It’s also .15% higher than the highest rate of 3.87% within the last two weeks — including days when thousands more tests were run.
Just about anyone who wants a coronavirus test can now get one, and state health officials are encouraging widespread testing to help identify and isolate outbreaks. Testing sites can be found on the state’s website.
More than a quarter of the newly confirmed cases — 169 of them — were within Wayne County, which has been hit hardest by the virus. It has now had a total of 23,181 cases since the outbreak began. It also recorded one more death over the previous day for a total of 2,642.
Neighboring Oakland County has had 9,645 cases and 1,068 deaths. Macomb County has had 7,670 cases and 892 deaths.
Kent County confirmed 85 more cases, making its total 5,483 in the last four months. The number of deaths stood at 142.
Berrien and Kalamazoo counties each saw one more death for totals of 61 and 70, respectively. Berrien County has had 859 confirmed cases and Kalamazoo County 1,168.
While the number of hospitalizations continues to climb, with 70 more in about the last week, the number of inpatients is still quite low at 415. There are plenty of intensive care beds and ventilators in stock.
Noting an uptick in cases in the last three weeks, Whitmer extended the state of emergency through Aug. 11. The state of emergency allows the government to take special actions to deal with a crisis. The Michigan Court of Claims previously ruled Whitmer could lengthen it without the Legislature, though a lawsuit from Republican lawmakers over the matter is still in the appeals process.
Last week, the governor strengthened Michigan’s mask rules to tamp down on virus spread. You must now wear a mask anytime you are indoors in a public place and anytime you are outdoors in public and may not be able to maintain 6-foot distance. Businesses have been told to turn away those who aren’t wearing masks. Violators could face a misdemeanor charge and fine and businesses that don’t obey the order could lose their license.
“Throughout this crisis, the vast majority of Michiganders have done their part, but we must remain vigilant and continue to do everything we can to protect our loved ones,” Whitmer said in a Tuesday statement announcing the emergency extension. “That means wearing a mask over your mouth and nose and practicing safe physical distancing when going out in public. If we all do our part now, there is a greater chance that schools can resume in-person learning in the fall. Be smart, be safe, and mask up.”
Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, will hold a briefing on the state’s response to coronavirus Wednesday at 3 p.m. The press conference will air on WOOD TV8 and stream live on woodtv.com.