9 deaths linked to COVID-19 in MI, cases top 1,000


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With about 250 new cases confirmed Saturday, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Michigan has surpassed 1,000.

The figures from tests run Saturday, which were released Sunday afternoon, brought the total to 1,035 cases statewide. The largest concentration of cases remained in southeast Michigan: Wayne County (including the city of Detroit) has 477 cases, Oakland County has 277 and Macomb County 140. Washtenaw County had 35 cases.

Ottawa County’s number of recorded cases rose to six. Allegan and Calhoun counties recorded their first cases. Kent County recorded 22 cases.

Nine deaths in Michigan have been linked to coronavirus, with four reported Saturday alone. The newest death was reported Sunday out of Washtenaw County. This is the county’s first reported death.

Seven of the deaths have been in metro Detroit and one at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids. All nine of the patients have either been elderly or had underlying health conditions.

Earlier Sunday, the Calhoun County Public Health Department said had two patients. The second patient is being treated at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo. It did not release that person’s gender, age or whether that person has underlying conditions. Bronson said the patient was in isolation and that it was taking steps to keep anyone else at the hospital from being exposed. County health officials said they would be in touch with anyone the patient had contact with.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, said Friday that though the state has upped its capacity to run tests, moving about 1,000 daily across the state lab, hospitals and commercial labs, it still doesn’t have enough kits and can’t process results fast enough to provide a clear scope of the spread of coronavirus.

Sunday afternoon, the Kent County Health Department ordered that a daily screening program will be performed at day cares, effective immediately. Staff, children, parents entering the facility and other visitors will be screened upon arrival.

Respiratory infection symptoms will be screened and people’s temperatures will be taken upon arrival. Those with a fever cannot enter the facility until the person is fever-free for 72 hours without using fever-reducing medication. The person must also let seven days pass from the onset of symptoms and wait until symptoms improve. In addition, non-essential visitors will be restricted from entering day care facilities.

Adam London, director at the Kent County Health Department, explained the reality of the virus during a daily update on Sunday. He also explains the timeline and curve of COVID-19 cases.

Kalamazoo County officials said in an online update that they had still not recorded any cases, but stressed that doesn’t mean no one there has coronavirus. In fact, they said some people almost certainly have it or are carrying it without symptoms. The county was still waiting on a couple dozen tests to come back from the state laboratory.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Saturday told hair, nail and tanning salons, tattoo parlors and similar businesses they would have to shut down as part of widespread social distancing measures. She had already banned gatherings of more than 50 people and ordered the closure of bars, restaurant dining rooms and gyms.

Everyone should also wash their hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and warm water, cough into their arm or a tissue rather than their hands and avoid touching their face with unwashed hands. When in public, you shouldn’t shake hands or stand too close to others.

The goal is to keep the number of severe cases small enough that hospitals can handle them. The health care system in Bergamo, Italy, where the pandemic has struck especially hard, has been stretched to its limits. China, where the virus originated, had the same problem.

Whitmer has also asked President Donald Trump to create a special enrollment period for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Nine states ave opened up enrollment periods on their state-run insurance exchanges.

COVID-19 presents with a fever, cough and shortness of breath. For most who contract it, symptoms are mild. 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. Quarantine yourself and your household while you get advice from a doctor over the phone or a televisit. A doctor will direct you on how to get tested. Note that the supply of testing kits is very limited, so only those with the highest risk will get tested.


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